In the aftermath of a car accident, when adrenaline and emotions run high, some injuries are not always immediately apparent. In fact, injuries sustained from a car accident have a sneaky way of going undetected, only to pop up a few days, weeks, or months later. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, follow the guide below and learn how to spot an underlying car crash injury.
First, Seek Immediate Medical Attention
No matter how well you feel, or how minor your injuries appear, always seek immediate medical attention after a car accident. Internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries are not always apparent on the surface, and you’ll want to have a medical professional exam you right away to see if you are in danger of suffering from such an injury.
Second, Continue to Monitor Your Physical and Mental Health
In the days and weeks after the car accident, be aware of the following common signs of an underlying car crash injury:
Headaches – While very common after car accidents, headaches/dizziness can also be indicative of serious problems, like a blood clot, concussion, spinal injury, or head injury.
Loss of Memory, Vision, Hearing – Any sort of noticeable difference in your cognitive and sensory abilities may indicate a serious underlying injury, like a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
Neck Stiffness – Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders are common symptoms of whiplash. Whiplash often occurs in slow-speed rear-end collisions, but can be very painful and dangerous.
Numbness in Arms and Hands – Numbness in the arms and hands is another symptom of whiplash, often caused by a neck or spinal cord injury.
Persistent Back Pain – Back pain is common after an auto accident, often it will go away on its own. But if the pain persists, it might be the result of a pinched nerve or torn ligament.
Abdominal Pain or Swelling – If dark purple bruises or swelling appear in the abdominal area, that may a sign of internal bleeding and should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Car accidents are traumatic experiences. As a result, many people experience nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, and unpredictable emotions. If these symptoms persist for longer than three months, cause great distress, and/or disrupt a person’s personal life, help should be sought from a professional who specializes in mental health.
Third, Document Your Injuries
If you pursue a personal injury claim, you will want to create a record of your injuries and treatment. This includes:
- Obtaining medical records from the ER, Urgent Care, medical exams, MRIs, surgeries, physical therapy sessions, etc.
- Taking photos of visible injuries and their progression
- Keeping a journal cataloging your pain and progress.
Remember, the most important goal is to make you healthy and whole again.