Personal Injury Lawyers, Gilbert, AZ

Delayed Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident in Arizona

You should be compensated for all of your injuries, even if they took time to appear

In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, you might not know just how injured you are. Your adrenaline levels are high, you’re in shock, and you’re more focused on getting to safety and taking care of your immediate needs. But in the days, weeks, or even months following the accident, you may start to feel that something is wrong.

Delayed pain and other delayed-onset symptoms can make recovering full compensation for a car accident more complicated. However, the right attorney can make all the difference. After a car accident, get medical attention, and contact Browne Law Group for a free consultation.

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Why do people experience delayed symptoms after car accidents?

Injury symptoms after a car accident are often delayed because of the body’s natural response to a traumatic event. When you are involved in a crash, your “fight or flight” response kicks in, causing adrenaline and noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine) to surge through your body. This causes your perception of pain to drop, which can mask symptoms of a serious injury.

The fight-or-flight response also gives you higher energy and faster blood clotting. These responses can help you survive the initial impact, but they can also hide symptoms of an underlying injury for hours or even days.

Moreover, some injuries take time to set in fully. Swelling and inflammation might take some time to become noticeable. Internal organ damage can fly under the radar as the rest of the injured organ works harder to pick up the slack. Some injuries may not become fully apparent until you return to your regular daily activities after the crash.

Types of injuries that can have delayed-onset symptoms

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): a concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on the parts of the brain that are affected and the severity of the damage. While physical symptoms like headaches or fatigue usually occur soon after a TBI, cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty remembering, concentrating, or reading, can take days, weeks, or even months to become apparent.
  • Whiplash: one of the most common injuries sustained in car wrecks (especially rear-end accidents), whiplash is caused by violent back-and-forth movement of the head and neck. Whiplash symptoms include pain and stiffness in the head, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, these symptoms can take days to set in.
  • Herniated discs: during a car accident, the rubbery discs in the spinal column can become ruptured, causing the soft interior to bulge outward. A herniated or bulging disc can lead to back pain that sets in several days after the crash.
  • Internal bleeding: symptoms of internal bleeding, such as abdominal pain, purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting, can go undiscovered for hours or even days after a crash. Internal bleeding is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention.
  • Nerve damage: numbness and tingling in the arms, legs, and other parts of the body may be indicative of a nerve injury, or another injury that causes pressure on a nerve. These symptoms may take some time to become apparent.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anyone who is involved in a traumatic event like a car crash can develop PTSD, but PTSD symptoms are often quite subtle at the beginning. However, the impact can get worse over time, affecting your quality of life.

How delayed symptoms can affect your legal rights after a car accident

In principle, the timing of your symptoms shouldn’t affect your compensation for a car accident. You should be compensated for all your losses as a result of the wreck, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other costs, no matter when they occurred.

However, in practice, delayed symptoms can make it harder to get properly compensated for your injuries. The more time that passes between the wreck and the onset of symptoms, the easier it is for an insurance company to argue that something may have happened in the intervening time to cause those symptoms – meaning they aren’t a result of the accident itself. The insurance company may even argue that you are faking or exaggerating your symptoms in hopes of getting a bigger settlement.

That’s not right. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced car accident attorney who can build a case for all the damages you deserve. It’s also why you need to take action to protect your rights in the aftermath of a car accident.

Getting medical attention after a car crash is critical, even if you feel fine

Because delayed symptoms are so common after a car crash, it’s vital that you get immediate medical attention, even if you feel okay. Go to your primary care doctor (if they have same-day appointments available), an urgent care clinic, or the emergency room. Tell your doctor about all your symptoms, no matter how minor. Even a minor symptom could be an early warning sign of a more serious underlying injury.

It's important to follow your doctor’s instructions, take your medications as prescribed, go to your follow-up doctor’s appointments, and so on. It’s just as important to pay attention to your body and note any new symptoms immediately as they emerge. If you start to experience pain, numbness, stiffness, or other symptoms, write down when they occur and what you were doing at the time. Then, see your doctor as soon as possible to diagnose the underlying injury and begin treatment.

Finally, listen to the people around you who know you well. Some delayed symptoms, such as cognitive and behavioral symptoms, may not be so obvious to the person experiencing them. If your friends and family tell you that something seems off, listen to their concerns, and follow up with your doctor. Again, the sooner you get the medical attention you need, the better.

Protect your legal rights after a car accident with the Anti-Lawyer Lawyer on your side

In addition to protecting your health, getting medical attention after a car accident creates documentation of your injuries and the effects they have had on your life. That’s a critical part of building a strong case for the compensation you deserve. However, you need an experienced car accident attorney to take that information and build a case that the insurance company can’t ignore. The sooner you get legal advice after a car accident, the better the position you will be in to win.

If you were involved in a car accident in Maricopa County or anywhere in Arizona, get a car accident attorney with a proven track record of results. Contact Browne Law Group today for a free consultation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “Delayed Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident in Arizona.”

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