Motor vehicle collisions can occur at a moment’s notice when one least expects it. Our clients become unexpected victims of motor vehicle collisions and oftentimes are startled and have no idea what to do next. Our personal injury attorney blog aims to provide you with detailed information on potential injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 7,500 people are injured every day in motor vehicle collisions. Injuries suffered from motor vehicle collisions can vary from minor to severe and sometimes deadly. Many collision victims don’t feel the full extent of their injuries until hours or days after an incident, which makes it difficult to identify and anticipate the extent of the injuries and damages.
Following an automobile crash, you might face devastating repercussions, including significant injuries, excruciating pain, and ongoing medical care. These damages and injuries may linger with you for what seems to be a lifetime. As post-accident soreness lingers, most people begin to worry. You may find yourself wondering whether you have suffered normal soreness or if you sustained more severe injuries than you initially thought, especially if that soreness does not seem to fade as more time passes.
No matter the severity of your injuries, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist you throughout the claims process and get you compensated for your injuries and damages. Victims of motor vehicle collisions deserve legal help and justice for the injuries and losses sustained. If this is the case for you, it’s recommended that you consult with a personal injury lawyer.
What Are Common Physical Symptoms After a Motor Vehicle Collision?
The extent of your injuries after a motor vehicle collision may not take full effect until well after the incident occurred. It is not uncommon for soreness to linger for up to six weeks following a motor vehicle collision. Below are some symptoms you need to be aware of:
Headaches (Very Common)
Many people experience headaches after a motor vehicle collision, but it may not happen right away. It is common to feel “okay” right after the collision, due to the adrenaline rush associated with the unexpected incident. However, victims of a motor vehicle collision oftentimes will wake up the next day, or even a couple of days later, with a splitting headache.
Headaches after motor vehicle collisions can be caused by:
- Neck or shoulder tension
- Traumatic brain injury
- Anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A headache can range from a minor annoyance to a symptom of something more serious. If you develop a headache at any time after your motor vehicle collision, see your doctor immediately.
Neck, Shoulder, or Back Pain
Pain in your neck, shoulders, or back is also very common after a motor vehicle collision. Some of these pains may seem to come out of nowhere after initially feeling “okay”. The pain may be in one location or feel like it’s shooting down the arms or legs. Either way, neck, shoulder, or back pain shouldn’t be ignored, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Causes of these pains may be associated with:
- Muscle tension
- Injury to the joints, tendons, or muscles
- Nerve or tissue damage
Serious shooting pain, tingling, and numbness can be a sign of a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries result from damage to the ligaments, discs, or vertebrae of the spinal column or the cord itself. These injuries often occur from a traumatic blow that dislocates, crushes, fractures, or compresses one or more vertebrae and can result in a permanent loss of sensation, function, and strength below the injury site. If these symptoms present themselves, it is of utmost importance that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Bruises are caused by damage to your capillaries, the tiny blood vessels beneath your skin. You may not see the full extent of your bruising right away because it can take time for blood from the vessels to reach the surface of your skin.
Most bruising heals on its own, but serious motor vehicle collisions can cause damage to internal organs that need immediate medical attention. You should especially see a doctor if you have bruising, tenderness, or discoloration that doesn’t improve after a day or so.
Numbness, Tingling, or Weakness in Your Extremities
Nerve or tissue damage can cause numbness or tingling, especially in your back, neck, shoulders, hands, or feet. This can sometimes be accompanied by pain. These symptoms will need treatment, so it’s important to mention them to your doctor as soon as you notice them.
If you experience weakness in your arms or legs, get to your doctor as soon as possible. Weakness in your extremities could indicate that you suffered a spinal cord injury or other serious injury in your collision. If you notice weakness getting worse with time, go to the emergency room immediately.
Following a motor vehicle collision, it is common to suffer a broken ankle, arm, rib, leg, and wrist. The main symptom of these injuries is often pain, but there may also be a loss of function depending on the affected bones.
Treatment of this injury usually involves immobilizing the broken bone in a cast or a splint, allowing the bone to heal, or surgery where physicians insert metal rods to reset the bone.
Changes in Mood
Physical injuries are the primary source of compensation in a motor vehicle collision insurance claim, but emotional damages are very common too. You may notice yourself experiencing extra anxiety, depression, or mood swings after the accident. Concussions can also cause changes in mood after a collision.
Upset Stomach or Abdominal Pain
If you were wearing a seatbelt during the crash, it was likely pulled tight on your body. This can cause bruising or other trauma to the stomach and abdominal area. Pain in the abdomen or chest could also indicate that you suffered internal bleeding or organ trauma. If you have abdominal pain or nausea, tell your doctor right away to rule out serious conditions like internal bleeding.
After trauma to your body from an accident, swelling is very common. You may experience swelling from tissue damage, pulled muscles, sprains (such as whiplash), and more. Swelling can be tricky because it may not reach its full effect until hours or days later.
When an area swells, it can cause a lot of stiffness or pain. You can often remedy swelling at home by elevating and icing the area. However, you should still tell your doctor in case you need additional medical attention or long-term treatment like physical therapy.
Ringing in Your Ears
Ringing in the ears is also known as tinnitus. It can result from loud noises, stress, or a concussion resulting from a motor vehicle collision. You must seek immediate medical attention to address tinnitus.
Trouble Concentrating or Remembering
Stress, shock, or head injuries from a motor vehicle collision can leave you feeling foggy or having trouble with your memory. While it might feel unnecessary to seek medical attention for a lack of concentration, it is best to make sure you do not have serious brain trauma or mental health issues from the collision that caused these injuries.
Blurry Vision, Dizziness, Confusion, and Disorientation
A variety of factors, such as whiplash, concussions, or PTSD, can cause blurred vision or dizziness after a motor vehicle collision. These symptoms can also take hours, days, or even weeks to fully develop. Thus, it is important to seek medical attention right away before the symptoms continue or even worsen.
The immediate adrenaline rush from an accident can leave you feeling confused and unsteady, but those symptoms should resolve relatively quickly. If you feel that confusion is getting worse, or if you notice confusion and disorientation that crop up after you have left the scene of the accident, it could serve as a sign of traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually results from a jolt or a violent blow to the head or the body or when an object penetrates the brain tissue. TBIs vary in severity and diagnosis, but any physical damage to your brain can lead to long-term complications and even death. If these symptoms present themselves, it is of utmost importance that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Why Do Some Motor Vehicle Collision Symptoms Not Show Up Until Later?
Many people feel shocked or even confused right after being in a motor vehicle collision. As a driver in the collision, your mind is instantly preoccupied with how to handle the situation. Victims in a motor vehicle collision are often more worried about the damage to the vehicles involved in the collision, whether or not the other parties involved are okay, how the collision should be reported, what is going to be the total cost of the collision, and many other aspects rather than their personal injuries.
Additionally, your body is being pumped with “fight or flight” hormones like adrenaline. These hormones help you stay alert to handle the accident while also suppressing pain. You might not feel the full pain from your injuries (or any pain at all) until after the stress hormones have balanced back out. This is why it is important to monitor yourself for worsening pain hours and days after the collision.
How Long Can I Expect Physical Recovery to Take?
This answer varies and is dependent on the severity of your collision and the physical injuries suffered. It can take anywhere from days to weeks, months, or years for a motor vehicle collision injury to fully heal. Factors like age, health status, and medical treatment received also play a large part.
What You Can Do to Help Improve Your Recovery Time
You can help improve your recovery time by:
- Seeking medical treatment immediately
- Carefully following your doctor’s advice
- Following all recommended long-term treatment, such as physical therapy, pain management and diagnostic imaging
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy
- Reducing stress
What to Do if Pain Worsens and Does Not Resolve
Soreness after the accident should generally resolve steadily. Some days may feel better than others, and you may notice more general energy and mobility on some days depending on your activity levels and how much attention you pay to the strategies that will help reduce your pain. If you notice your pain getting worse instead of better, it could be indicative of a more serious injury. Some people have a higher pain tolerance than others. Instead of ignoring your pain, seek medical attention immediately.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Your injuries sustained and the damages suffered after being a victim in a motor vehicle collision are hard to identify and quantify for a variety of reasons set forth in this blog. Hiring a personal injury attorney for representation will ensure that your injuries and damages are well documented in order for you to account for the responsible third party for proper and full compensation. Our Law Firm has expertise and skill in making sure our clients get the proper medical attention and documentation for all injuries they have suffered as a result of a motor vehicle collision. In turn, this allows us to negotiate and settle with the responsible third party for an amount that fully compensates our injured clients for the injuries they sustained. Maximum value and recovery are the goals we strive for with every client we represent, and our Law Firm is by your side throughout the whole process to ensure you are well taken care of.