Seeing a doctor after an accident is essential. First and foremost, seeking medical treatment right away will give you the best chance of healing fully from your injuries. Getting a prompt and thorough medical examination will uncover injuries you might not yet know.
Even if you do not feel any pain, you might still have underlying injuries that can aggravate over time if left untreated. Many injuries are known to have a delayed onset of symptoms.
Not only is it important to see a doctor right away to ensure you heal as fully as possible from your injuries, but it is also essential in securing compensation. Going to a doctor will help you identify the full extent of your injuries and provide proof should you choose to file a car accident claim for damages.
If you need assistance finding appropriate medical care or would like to learn more about the process of seeking damages from the party responsible, we recommend speaking with an Ohio car accident attorney who can put you in touch with reputable medical professionals and help you secure compensation from the at-fault party.
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Car Accident Injury Statistics
According to the NHTSA, just under 7 million car accidents are reported in the U.S. annually. As a result, nearly 3 million people suffer injuries and 40,000 deaths. Based on this data, that means that five people are injured every minute, and one person dies every fifteen minutes.
Although car accidents can happen under an almost endless range of circumstances, it was found that 30% of accidents are caused by drunk driving, speeding accounts for 25% of auto accidents, and another 9% are caused by distracted driving.
Below are some of the most common injuries that might not be obvious immediately following an accident.
Injuries That Might Have Delayed Symptoms
Many auto accident injuries are easy to see. Lacerations and broken bones are simple to identify and can be immediately treated. There are, however, many car accident injuries that can “hide.” Injuries that are known to have a delayed onset of symptoms include the following:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Although serious brain injuries might present themselves right away, others may take time. A forceful jolt or blow to the head can cause the brain to swell or bleed, which can lead to temporary or permanent damage. Symptoms to look for include:
- Memory Loss
- Ringing in your ears (Tinnitus)
Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries
One of the most common car accident injuries is whiplash. The forceful back-and-forth movement that occurs upon impact can cause the head and neck to move violently, which can lead to damage to the upper vertebrae and the surrounding soft tissue.
Without prompt treatment, accident victims can be left to cope with persistent neck pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Herniated discs, compression of the vertebrae, and spinal fractures can also have delayed symptoms. When vertebrae are damaged, that damage can lead to swelling and bleeding in and around the spinal cord.
The swelling can, in turn, cause numbness or paralysis that can occur gradually, well after the actual accident.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injuries to soft tissue, such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, often take time to present themselves. This delay is largely due to the adrenaline the body releases as an immediate reaction to being involved in an accident. Inflammation and spasms can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to begin.
Ruptures or tears in the blood vessels, capillaries, veins, arteries, and organs can cause internal bleeding and blood clots. The symptoms associated with internal bleeding, such as bruising, dizziness, fainting, and pain, can take several days to develop.
Internal Organ Damage
In addition to internal bleeding, organs can sustain serious damage in an auto accident. The symptoms vary depending on the organ, and the length of delay in the onset of symptoms varies with the specific type and severity of the injury.
While compound fractures are often immediately obvious, other bone fractures might not be. Generally considered less serious than compound fractures, simple fractures can still be serious and require medical treatment and possibly even surgery.
There are several types of simple fractures, such as transverse, longitudinal, and avulsion fractures. Symptoms associated with simple bone fractures include the inability to put weight on the area, loss of function, swelling, bruising, and pain.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Many accident victims aren’t immediately aware of the emotional and psychological effects their accident will ultimately cause. Most people tend to their physical injuries but do not address the emotional toll that results from such a traumatic event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among accident victims and can take weeks or even months to begin to exhibit symptoms. Common signs of PTSD include:
- Persistent thoughts or flashbacks
- Loss of interest
Why It’s Important to Seek Medical Treatment After an Ohio Car Accident
Although most car accident injuries are obvious, some victims don’t realize they sustained injuries until days, weeks, or even months after the accident.
Sadly, many people don’t seek medical attention after a serious car accident, either believing they are uninjured or feeling that the discomfort they do feel will go away on its own.
Unfortunately, the decision not to go to a doctor can lead to serious, sometimes permanent, consequences.
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