Sometimes, after a car accident, you immediately know you are injured and need medical attention as soon as possible. In other instances, you may feel instant relief that the accident didn’t obviously injure you—and lucky you escaped unscathed! However, take great care in these situations, because many people may not even realize they have sustained injuries.
Car accidents are inherently stressful or even frightening. Any degree of impact can jar the body. It is only natural to feel shaken up and sore after any vehicle crash. Too often, however, you may think you are simply experiencing stress or soreness when you really have the signs of an actual injury. For this reason, too many people fail to seek the medical attention they need after an accident, only to discover weeks or months later that the accident actually injured them.
Even if you believe that you survived a car accident without injuries, get checked out by a medical professional. Many people worry about the cost of a visit to the emergency room or to their doctor, but we can often arrange for these medical evaluations at NO out of pocket cost to our clients. Even if you learn you have no injuries, we will still be able to submit the bill to the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover the cost. It is always better to be safe than sorry in this situation!
For 20 years, the team of lawyers and legal staff of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, have worked with hundreds of clients who believed they were not injured—at first. Whether you discover your injuries immediately, or days or weeks later, it is in your best interest to have a highly skilled car accident lawyer on your side. We handle a wide range of accident cases, so please call us today at 800-898-4877 or send an email by for a completely FREE consultation.
Symptoms Can Take Time to Develop
Many hidden injuries may not make themselves apparent for some time after a crash. You may think that you got away injury-free when in reality, your symptoms just haven’t settled into your body. The following injuries can often prove tricky for you to identify yourself after an accident, due to hidden or delayed symptoms:
1. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—This injury is commonly called the “silent” or “invisible” injury because it is so difficult to identify. Many people don’t realize that they hit their heads in a car accident, or they didn’t hit their heads at all, so they never consider the possibility of a TBI. Others may only bump their heads but never imagine it was hard enough to damage their brains. However, a TBI can happen with even the slightest bump of the head—or even without any direct trauma at all. In some cases, a sharp jolt of the head—like in a car crash—is enough to cause the brain to shift and collide with the inside of the skull, resulting in a TBI.
Severe TBIs are often immediately apparent, leaving a victim unconscious for some time. Mild TBIs—such as concussions—are often less obvious after a crash. The symptoms of a concussion can include feelings of disorientation, headaches, and fatigue. These are all natural feelings after a car crash, and many victims assume they are simply “out of it” because of the accident. In addition, concussion symptoms can gradually worsen during the next few days or weeks, making it difficult to connect those symptoms to a possible crash injury. For these reasons and more, TBIs often go unnoticed after a car accident—making immediate medical attention even more necessary.
2. Soft tissue injuries—A car accident can cause your body to twist or stretch in unusual ways—often so quickly that you may not even realize it happened. A twisting motion is particularly common since the seat belt is only pulled over one shoulder, often stopping that side of the body while the other side twists forward. This sudden, unnatural motion can damage the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the body.
Sometimes, a soft tissue injury will present obvious symptoms, especially in the case of a serious tear. Less apparent sprains and strains may—at first—result in only slight pain without any other symptoms. It is all too easy to mistake this pain as natural post-accident soreness and expect it to simply go away. Soft tissue injuries in the knees, shoulder, neck, back, and arms may go unnoticed—and thus undiagnosed—for some time. However, during the next few days or weeks, you may notice inflammation, bruising, and other signs that something is actually wrong.
3. Herniated disks—Most people know that neck or back strains commonly result from car accidents. Similar to soft tissue injuries, accident victims may write off pain as “normal” after a crash and expect it to relieve itself during the next few days. However, the force of a car accident can cause more damage than you think. Sometimes, a crash can rupture one of your disks—the soft cushions between your vertebrae—causing the interior jelly to push out and irritate the surrounding nerves. This is called a herniated disk, and it can often result in more serious symptoms than a sprain or strain, such as loss of muscle control, muscle weakness, lost sensation, and severe pain.
However, some herniated disks start with no symptoms at all, only to worsen substantially during subsequent weeks or even months. Without a timely diagnosis, the prognosis for an undiagnosed herniated disk can worsen, and more intensive treatments may need to relieve the problem.
4. Psychological injuries—Many people discount the seriousness of psychological injuries that can develop after a car accident. In fact, you may not even consider the possibility that your crash can result in significant psychological damage. However, research shows that 9 percent or more of car accident survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can result in many adverse symptoms. PTSD can cause nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of cars, anger issues, and more. You may discount these symptoms as products of stress or other conditions in your life instead of considering a possible evaluation for PTSD. Untreated PTSD, however, can result in anxiety, depression, and intense fear. While all of these conditions are treatable with therapy, medication, and other approaches, sadly, many people fail to receive the remedies they need.
The above are only some examples of many injuries that may go undiagnosed after a car accident. Even if you believe you were in a non-injury car accident, see a trusted doctor to make sure you aren’t just missing the signs of your injuries. If you do receive a diagnosis, contact our firm for more information about your legal rights right away.
What Happens if You Do Not Get Diagnosed?
Many car accident victims underestimate the effects of a delayed diagnosis of their injuries—or of no diagnosis at all. In fact, different adverse effects can occur for both your health and any subsequent legal claims.
First, a delayed diagnosis means that your injury will go untreated, which often causes the condition to become more serious. Complications may arise when proper treatment would have prevented them. For example, a minor fracture may heal easily if you receive the proper medical equipment and follow treatment instructions. However, if you mistake your fracture for a strain that will heal on its own and fail to get a diagnosis or treatment, bone deformities or permanent damage to your muscles, ligaments, or nerves can result.
Next, not getting a timely diagnosis can affect a legal case in different ways. Once you realize you sustained an injury, you likely want to seek compensation from any negligent parties that caused your accident. However, any delay in diagnosing your injuries can cause that party’s insurance company to fight against liability by claiming the following:
Your injury was not the result of the crash in question – If significant time passes between your car accident and your diagnosis, the insurance company can claim plenty of time had elapsed for you to get into a subsequent accident of some sort. The insurer will likely assert that the alleged subsequent “accident” was the actual cause of your injury, so the driver in the initial car accident should not face liability for your medical expenses. This situation does not make recovering compensation impossible, but it can require that your attorney provide more technical and detailed evidence that the crash caused your injuries.
You exacerbated the injury as a result of the delay – An insurance company can also claim that your medical bills are much greater due to your neglect of your injury and the delay of diagnosis. The company may argue that you would have required far less extensive—and less costly—care had you gone to the doctor right away and received immediate treatment. Therefore, the insurer may try to deny payment for most of your medical costs because you possibly could have avoided them.
Again, while a delayed diagnosis may complicate your claim, it does not automatically bar you from financial recovery. Never let this stop you from contacting an attorney to discuss where to go from here.
Why Call an Attorney?
You may think that getting compensation after a car accident is as simple as filing an insurance claim and receiving a check, however it is rarely this easy. Many car accident victims come to us for help after they have already tried to handle the process themselves—only to find themselves disappointed. The sad reality is that insurance companies are NOT in business so they can pay out on every claim. Instead, these companies try to limit claims—deny them even—whenever they can to protect their profit margin.
The team of attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, take these insurance companies head-on, without hesitation. We see right through their tricks and tactics and know how to fight for the payment you deserve. We are not afraid to take your claim to court if needed, and we will always strive for the best possible outcome after your crash.
Contact Our Law Firm after Your Car Accident
While non-injury car accidents do happen, it is never safe to assume that you were not injured. It takes the analysis of a medical professional and diagnostic testing to reveal your injuries in the hours or days following your crash. Do not wait for your injuries or symptoms to manifest during the next weeks or months—instead, get checked out as soon as you can!
After you take the time to see a doctor, gather all of the relevant information possible about your accident and injuries, then reach out to the law office of Stewart J. Guss for help. For 20 years, our nationally recognized car accident attorneys have helped people with many types of injuries and damages from car crashes.
Call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or send an email by .
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“As a relatively new resident of Houston, I did not know of an attorney to contact for a personal injury suit. I randomly went through the yellow pages contacting two attorneys that had rejected my case prior to me contacting Stewart Guss. Stewart took my case on and settled for far more than I had anticipated. The silver lining of this is that I will now have enough money to go back to school for retraining, so I will be able to reenter the workforce in a new capacity. The paralegal, Angela, was kind and supportive throughout the process. If I did not understand the legal jargon, I did not hesitate to ask, and was never once made to feel that I was incompetent. Thank you Stewart and Angela for giving me a new lease on live.”
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