Sometimes, you can get out of your car and walk away from an accident without any apparent injury. However, you might wake up a few days or even a few weeks later with terrible pain. During the aftermath of an accident, injuries can be masked by the relief that you aren't severely hurt and from the adrenaline that comes from your fight or flight response.
The development of injuries after an accident is why you should always get checked by a doctor, even if you think you are fine. Here are some common injuries that you might experience in a car accident.
1. Head Injuries
You might have hit your head on the window or steering wheel on impact, and you might only have a bump on your head -- nothing serious. However, these small bumps do occur at a high level of force and they can cause concussions or lasting cognitive difficulty. Signs of a minor head injury actually leading to something more serious include:
- blurry or changed vision. Swelling inside the brain can alter nerve signals that control sight.
- jaw pain. Hitting the side of your head might cause a hairline fracture.
- tooth pain. You may have chipped tooth as a result of the accident.
No matter the severity of a head injury (a concussion may only require a few weeks of rest), the injury itself is one you can get compensation for. Checking for head trauma and treating it can be costly.
2. Herniated disks.
This is another injury that you might not immediately notice. A herniated disk may cause radiating nerve pain by pinching the nerve or creating pain in the disc space. Common symptoms from a herniated disc, depending on where the disc is located along the spine or the neck, include:
- sciatica. This is a painful condition where the sciatic nerve (a large nerve that runs down the back of the leg from the spine) becomes irritated. Walking or even lying down becomes very painful. This condition often requires physical therapy.
- referred pain. You may feel tingling or pain in your feet, hands, toes, calf muscles, or shoulder. You may feel pain in each of these areas or all of them, but typically on one side of your body and not both.
- trouble walking or lifting the feet. Your body will have reduce motor control.
Diagnosing and treating pain from a herniated disc can take a lot of time, and often the pain is unbearable and requires medication to control. You should document the progress of the injury in order to seek compensation.
3. Leg injuries.
Because people are so worried about spine, head, and neck injuries directly after a crash and because the legs are often protected lower in the car under the dash, you might not notice leg injuries at first. However, it possible to injure your legs, especially your knees. Ligament tears, sprains, and fractures are common. Damage to the ligaments, especially if you are concerned with other injuries, may not be apparent at first. Also, because your hips have the pressure of the seat belt, you may also experience bruising or damage to the pelvis. Be sure you have you lower body examined just as thoroughly as the rest of your body after an accident, even if you feel like you are walking normally. Document any pain, even if it feels minor, before taking over the counter painkillers like Tylenol or Advil.
You don't want any injuries to go unnoticed until they become too serious to heal or treat. Contact a car accident lawyer, like one from Carter & Fulton, P.S., in your area for more guidance on getting compensation for car accident injuries.