Posted on: 23 May 2017Share
Not all car accidents result in immediately identifiable injuries. Sometimes issues can take awhile to show up, depending on which body part is affected, the severity of the accident, and other factors. Here are two injuries that may not appear right away and how to handle this issue when filing an accident claim.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
It's commonly believed the brain is attached to the skull, but this is not true. In actuality, the brain sits suspended in cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a cushion to prevent the brain from hitting the skull with normal head movement. When you're in an accident, though, the impact causes your head to whip around more forcefully than normal, which may cause the brain to slam against the hard bone that normally protects it.
This can result in mild to serious brain damage, ranging from a concussion to a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Unfortunately, evidence of this type of injury is not always readily apparent. Sometimes it can take weeks for symptoms to appear and, even then, they may be subtle at first or mistaken for other conditions. For instance, headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness are all signs of a concussion, but the person may mistake them for the flu or being worn out. If the victim is a child, parents may not realize how injured he or she is until the child begins exhibiting developmental delays.
If you were hit with enough force to jerk your head around or you lost consciousness at the scene, immediately have your doctor check you for a head injury. This will likely involve brain scans, which may detect damage. At minimum, your doctor should monitor you over the next few weeks for issues.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Damage to the soft tissues in the body can also take awhile to appear. Sprains, strains, and tears in muscles and ligaments in the back, shoulders, and neck may not produce symptoms for days or weeks. Even more problematic is that soft tissue injuries often don't appear on X-rays, which can make them difficult to diagnose and harder to prove, especially if the accident didn't seem that serious.
For instance, whiplash can occur even when cars are going as low as 14 miles per hour or less. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain and stiffness, and lower back aches can all result from a whiplash injury. However, these problems may not appear on an X-ray, and you may not experience the symptoms until days after the accident. This can make the other driver or insurance company feel you are making up or exaggerating your injuries for more money, and you may have to fight harder to get compensation.
With soft tissue injuries, you should still seek immediate medical care, but don't automatically assume everything is okay if the doctor says he or she can't see anything. Monitor your condition and return to your doctor as soon as you begin experiencing pain, limited mobility, or other symptoms that indicate you may have internal damage.
Claims for Late-Occurring Injuries
The insurance adjuster will pressure you to settle quickly, precisely because they are well aware of the fact that some injuries can take awhile to appear. The company wants to close your case before those injuries show up to avoid paying for them. This is why it's best to wait a few weeks to settle the claim. If you settle too soon, you may not receive adequate compensation for medical treatment you may require or damages and losses you may suffer as a result of your injuries.
For more information about this issue or help with an auto accident claim, contact a law firm like Velde Moore Limited.