Handling Delayed Injuries After An Auto Accident

It's not unusual for auto accident victims to feel completely fine in the immediate aftermath, only to feel significant amounts of pain days later. The onset of delayed pain and injury is perfectly normal, but it could complicate your ability to receive just compensation if you're not careful.

Why Don't Some Injuries Show Up Right Away?

The human body reacts to perceived dangers by sending a surge of adrenaline and endorphins throughout the body. Not only does this hardwired survival trait provide a burst of energy for a fight-or-flight response, but it also dulls the human body's reaction to pain by blocking key pain signals in the brain.

This explains why many people walk away from auto accidents without any immediate pain. However, the adrenaline and endorphins eventually wear off, which can cause pain from the accident to set in. Here are a few common injuries that can occur with little to no initial pain during an accident:

  • Soft tissue injuries - Soft tissue injuries can manifest themselves as swelling, pain, and stiffness days or even weeks after an accident. The most common of these injuries is whiplash, which occurs when the head is suddenly whipped forward and back during a collision.
  • Concussions - The symptoms of a concussion can also occur long after the accident takes place. These include persistent headaches, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, and an inability to concentrate or think clearly.
  • Bone fractures - Bone fractures can be small enough to not cause pain until days or weeks after the accident or until some activity is performed that aggravates the fracture.

Will It Affect Your Ability To Seek Compensation?

Even if you don't feel any pain after the initial moments of the accident, you should always have yourself checked out by a doctor immediately afterward. Not only can your doctor detect potentially serious injuries that would otherwise be ignored, but the checkup itself will also provide important documentation that can help your personal injury claim.

Waiting for injuries to manifest before filing your claim could make it harder to prove. For instance, soft tissue injuries can be especially difficult to prove since they don't show up on X-ray images, whereas a bone fracture can be indisputably verified with X-rays. The other driver's insurance company could also argue that the injuries you're suffering couldn't have been directly caused by the accident due to the time gap.

There's also the possibility that the other driver's insurance company may attempt to have you sign a claim release or even offer a settlement shortly after the accident. Signing the release or accepting the settlement may effectively waive your legal right to pursue further compensation for injuries that show up later. 

For more information or assistance, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.