It happens in an instant. You are running just a quick errand after work and—CRASH. You are rear-ended while turning left, crunching both the back of your car and the front as you plow into the car in front of you.
You’re thankful that despite the fact your vehicle looks like a crumpled pop can, you walk away with only minor scrapes. However, anyone in a car accident should know that often soft-tissue injuries as aren’t immediately evident after a car accident. Sometimes, the next day or even a few days later, you wake up in immense pain or have a headache that just won’t go away.
Here are some signs that you might have a more serious delayed injury that requires medical treatment:
- You have persistent headaches, dizziness or confusion. You have nausea or vomiting or problems speaking. All of these are signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- You have sharp muscle pain in your back, making it difficult to move. You may need to visit a chiropractor or physical therapist to get relief and you could even have a herniated disc if you lose control of the muscles in your arms or legs.
- Your neck pain worsens over time and you lose the range of motion in your neck. You have tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms, or even tingling and numbness in the arms. These are signs of whiplash, a common injury after a car accident when your neck is jolted quickly because of the force of impact.
- You have abdominal pain or swelling. If the crash was severe and your abdomen was pushed hard into your steering wheel or dashboard, you could have internal bleeding, which needs immediate treatment.
- You can’t sleep well after the accident because you’re having vivid memories of it, which are keeping you up. You feel as if you are having nightly flashbacks or reliving the accident. These are signs of PTSD, where you need to seek help from a mental health professional.
Even if you feel like you came out of a car accident unscathed, you shouldn’t refuse medical treatment at the scene or put off seeking it out if some of these symptoms surface later. You want to ensure that insurance will cover these injuries and seeking immediate treatment is the best way for that to happen.