A car accident can be an incredibly distressing and upsetting event, not just mentally or emotionally but also physically. The body takes quite a beating in some collisions and the damage done isn't often most readily seen.
In fact, quite frequently, people involved in an accident don't immediately notice resulting physical trauma at all. Many notice very few (if any) symptoms and often choose not to see a physician after the accident. It's extremely important, whether or not one is immediately aware of physical pain or trauma after a car accident, that you take certain precautionary measures to protect yourself from damaging outcomes that often result in these cases.
One reason we don't often readily notice symptoms after a car accident is that they are “exciting” events—exciting in the sense that they radically stimulate our physiology. As with an athlete during an intense competition or a victim of a robbery or sudden attack, a car accident often stimulates the production of adrenaline and other endorphins in our bodies. These chemicals work to super-charge our bodies and physiological systems, which often produces the net result of blocking pain.
The heightened level of excitement generated by a car accident can produce this effect, masking underlying injuries that result. During these times, an individual actually may feel a burst of energy, often leading them to believe that they feel fine. But that is often a deceptive condition because after the release of those endorphins and adrenaline, the pain and other symptoms resulting for your injuries can set in.
Soft tissue injuries (like whiplash) quite often fall into the category of injuries that produce little to no immediate pain or discomfort at the outset. (Read our post on Soft Tissue Injuries and their symptoms.) Sometimes these injuries don't reveal themselves for weeks (or even months) after the accident. Concussions or other brain injuries also often mask their presence after an accident.
Needless to say, these kinds of injuries are extremely serious and can cause significant pain and damage down the line. It's, therefore, necessary to take certain steps after an accident to ensure that these kinds of injuries don't rear their ugly heads months down the line without the ability to recover damages for medical treatment, pain and suffering and other losses associated with the accident.
See a Physician Right Away: It's never advisable after a significant collision to refuse medical treatment because you “feel fine.” Remember, feeling fine is often the function of the adrenaline and endorphins released during a traumatic event. If you fail to get treatment, you may lose your right to fight for damages of those injuries. It is the responsibility of the claimant to get immediate treatment to mitigate the damages and insure that injuries do not worsen for want of medical attention.
See a physician and learn of any possible injuries that may not right away manifest themselves. Your doctor can also alert you to any symptoms to look for in the coming weeks or months after your initial examination.
Do Not Settle With An Insurer Right Away: Quite often after a car accident, the at fault driver's insurer will contact you to attempt to settle any claims right away. If you do settle without really understanding what medical damages are at play, you sign away any claims for future damages. So if complications from that concussion that you didn't know you had surface after you settle, you have no legal ground to stand on to demand damages to treat your medical condition, even if it is apparent that that condition resulted from the accident.
Your physician can help determine just how long you should wait before considering yourself out of the woods for any resulting injuries after an accident.
Likewise, an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Panio Law Offices can assist in negotiating or evaluating any settlement offers. We have a wealth of experience fighting for damages in these cases. We take into account all of the possible damages that go beyond medical treatment and pain and suffering in car accident cases, and we understand how to navigate possible future damages when soft tissue injuries or brain injuries are possible results of a car accident.
Call us at (312) 313-0305 to speak to an attorney if you have questions about a car accident you have been involved in or any other personal injury case. We can help.