Delayed Car Crash Symptoms That Could Mean a Serious Injury
Delayed car crash symptoms are common, even following a minor accident. Some symptoms are more visible, while others may be unapparent for hours, days or weeks afterward. Many crash victims may think because they do not see a wound or feel much pain, they do not need to go the hospital. However, not getting examined by a medical professional can be a dangerous decision with life-altering or even deadly results.
How Long After a Crash Should I Wait to Seek Medical Care?We strongly recommend that you do not delay or wait to seek medical care after a crash. Even if you cannot see any visible damages, you could have internal injuries. When your body is still in shock, which is very common, any pain may initially be masked. You could have a life-altering injury, such as organ damage, which may not begin to display symptoms until later. However, the sooner you get treated, the better your chance for a full recovery. Unfortunately, some people wait until it is too late, and the damage cannot be reversed. Waiting to seek medical care also makes it harder to link any injuries you have to the accident that caused them. Time gaps give the insurance company an opportunity to argue that your injuries could have happened elsewhere.
What if I Go to the Hospital but Have No Immediate Symptoms?When you go to the hospital, be sure to tell the intake staff about the accident. However, you should also be very specific about what happened when talking to the treating physician. Details may not get passed from the registrar, or even the nurses, to the doctor who examines and diagnoses you. For this reason, it is important to give the emergency room physician details of any signs or symptoms you are experiencing. It can also be helpful to explain the type of crash. Being hit from behind, for example, can cause specific injuries, such as a whiplash. The details you provide at this point help to give the doctor a starting point to figure out where you might be injured and what diagnostic testing or medical care you may need.
What Delayed Car Crash Symptoms Require Immediate Medical Care?Delayed symptoms that initially seemed minor may be a sign of a serious injury. For this reason, you should tell your doctor about every symptom you have been having since the accident. Serious injuries often have delayed symptoms, which include:
- Headaches: Especially when combined with nausea, dizziness, sleeping problems and memory loss, persistent headaches could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion or other head injury. They may also be indicative of a hematoma (brain bleed). Without early medical care, a hematoma could lead to a stroke or even be fatal.
- Abdominal pain: If you sustained organ damage in the crash, you could experience swelling of the abdomen, pain, nausea, vision changes, dizziness and shortness of breath. Accident victims with these symptoms may be bleeding internally. It could, however, be another sign of intracranial bleeding from a head trauma.
- Back Pain: Unlike the minor achy back everyone may get occasionally, any severe back pain that travels down your buttocks and/or legs could mean a serious injury. A diagnosis may reveal a bulging or herniated disc, pinched nerves or a cracked vertebrae.
- Neck pain or stiffness: After a car crash, especially if you were rear-ended, victims can suffer a whiplash. Although often thought of as a minor injury, whiplash can be extremely painful and debilitating. In addition to whiplash, patients with these injuries may have a TBI or more severe spinal cord injury.
- Numbness, tingling or weakness: If you experience tingling or numbness anywhere, it could be an indication of a spinal cord injury, brain injury or internal bleeding.