What If My Accident Injuries Don’t Show up Right Away?

When the body is exposed to high stress levels – as in the case of an auto accident – two very important hormones are released: adrenaline and endorphins. Adrenaline is part of our innate ‘fight or flight’ response that kicks in when we feel the threat of danger. Oxygen levels increase, and blood flow is re-directed to our hearts and lungs. You suddenly feel super-charged, and studies show that performance levels increase. However, adrenaline also masks sensations of pain, which explains why animals are able to run or fight even when severely hurt. After stress levels have waned, adrenaline’s numbing effect can last for several hours. Endorphins have a similar effect and are also triggered by periods of intense stress or rigorous exercise. In the body, endorphins block pain signals and function much like opioid medications.

Why accident injuries don’t appear right away

Given these two chemical responses during traumatic events, it should come as no surprise that accident injuries may go unnoticed in the immediate aftermath of a collision. While you may have suffered soft tissue injuries, whiplash, or even a concussion, you’re unable to feel the physiological side effects right away.

This is often the case with minor car crashes, like rear-end collisions. You feel fortunate that you escaped with nothing more than a minor delay, but the next day you wake up with a stiff neck or a pain in your side that won’t go away. If you find yourself with accident injuries that don’t show up immediately, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights.  

Delayed onset pain after a car crash

If you’ve been in a collision, it’s wise to seek medical attention as quickly as possible – even if you feel fine and aren’t in pain. As explained earlier, stress-induced hormones can mask the pain, and some car accident injuries, especially those involving soft tissues and muscle, are slow to present symptoms.

Sometimes a stiff neck is just a stiff neck. But if you were recently rear-ended by a distracted driver, or involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, neck pain and soreness could indicate something more serious is going on.

Time and time again, our Lafayette personal injury lawyers hear the same story.  A client is hit by a negligent driver but, feeling fine, doesn’t go to the ER. Why spend money on a doctor’s visit when you have no outward symptoms? The reality is that a medical professional can run diagnostic tests to identify injuries and possible complications. They can also spell out symptoms to watch out for that could suggest a mild brain injury like a concussion.

Concussions are often called the invisible injury. Some people don’t experience symptoms for several days after the impact, which can range from intense headaches and nausea to blurry vision and clouded thinking.

Whiplash is a classic rear-end collision injury that rarely shows right away. Within a day or two, muscle stiffness sets in, and pain begins to radiate from the neck and shoulders. Symptoms like pain, reduced mobility and swelling can take days to manifest after an auto accident. And while soft tissue injuries cannot be detected with X-ray imaging, seeking prompt medical treatment can go a long way toward making a faster recovery, and securing compensation in a personal injury claim.

Importance of documenting your injuries

Waiting several weeks to see a doctor can be used against you in the event you pursue a claim for damages. Insurance adjusters will invariably point out that you could not have been seriously injured if you didn’t go to the ER or seek a medical evaluation within a reasonable time frame.

As a veteran Lafayette car accident lawyer, Bart Bernard knows how critical documenting car accident injuries can be to the success of a case. If you delayed seeing the doctor because your accident symptoms were slow to show up, the defendant may argue that you could have managed your injuries more efficiently with a prompt diagnosis. They may also attempt to dodge liability by arguing that your injuries were not caused by the auto accident, but another event after the fact.

How Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can help you

Hiring a qualified personal injury attorney may seem out of reach, but Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers is pleased to offer legal representation on a contingency-fee-basis. This arrangement means our fees hinge on securing money damages on your behalf.

Our legal team has more than 20 years of experience helping clients seek justice and fair compensation. If your accident injuries appear after an extended period of time, don’t despair. Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has the resources and skill to help you seek maximum compensation. You’re Smart. Get Bart.™