Most people picture traumatic injuries such as broken bones and lacerations when they think of car accident injuries. It may be hard to imagine suffering an injury that you do not notice right away. The average person’s adrenaline after a car accident, however, can be powerful enough to mask injury symptoms. You may not notice pain, soreness, swelling or numbness until hours or days after your crash. Delayed diagnoses are more common with certain types of car accident injuries than others.
The neck absorbs much of the trauma associated with a car accident. The gravitational forces exerted in a wreck can whip the head and neck rapidly backward and forward. This can cause injuries such as whiplash or neck strain. Some crash victims notice neck pain or stiffness immediately after an accident. Others do not complain of pain or symptoms until several days after. Do not ignore symptoms such as pain, soreness or stiffness in the neck or shoulders after a car accident. Go to the doctor for an x-ray to determine the cause of your pain.
Back and Spine Injuries
The spinal cord is a delicate part of the body that is prone to serious injuries in a crash. While some spinal cord injury symptoms may be immediately noticeable, such as serious pain or loss of feeling and function below the point of injury, others may be less apparent. You may not realize you have pain or stiffness in your back until much later. If you tore one of the ligaments holding your spinal disks in place, for instance, you may not fully rupture or herniate the disk until days later, when you try to lift something heavy.
Numbness and tingling are two symptoms not to ignore after a car accident. If you notice numbness or tingling in the days following a crash, you could have nerve damage or a spinal cord injury. A serious back injury may have pinched or damaged the nerves in your spine. Whiplash could also cause nerve damage in the arms and hands. Go to a doctor as soon as you notice numbness, tingling, or a difference in how you feel hot and cold sensations. These could be signs of a spine injury.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury is one of the most serious injuries that arise from car accidents in Kansas City. It is also one of the most common injuries with delayed symptoms. You may not recognize dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, nausea or confusion as symptoms of a brain injury from a car accident – especially if you do not notice them until hours or days after you hit your head. It is critical, however, to see a doctor immediately after noticing any of these signs.
A brain injury in a crash that causes bleeding or swelling of the soft tissues of the brain could be life-threatening, even if you walk away from the crash showing no symptoms. Failing to see a doctor right away could be fatal. While it is easy to blame symptoms such as fatigue or moodiness on the stress of the car accident, be aware that these could be delayed symptoms of a head or brain injury. See your doctor right away for a full evaluation even if you do not notice symptoms until after your accident.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Not all car accident injuries are physical. In Kansas City, the civil courts also permit accident victims to seek damages for emotional, mental and psychological injuries. Wait until a few days after your car accident to confirm that you do not have any psychological damage from the crash. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder may not show themselves immediately. Instead, you may notice flashbacks, nightmares, withdrawal, trouble sleeping, listlessness, mood swings, personality changes, relationship problems and panic attacks days after your accident.
It is possible not to notice an injury right away after a car accident in Kansas City. Visit your doctor as soon as you can for a comprehensive evaluation. Diagnosing injuries with delayed symptoms can help you seek full compensation for your auto accident.