Recognize and Respond to Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident

Car accidents are violent events, and the injuries they cause are often traumatic: broken bones, crushed limbs, and severe lacerations. Yet many of the most serious car accident-related injuries are almost invisible at first, as their symptoms are not always immediately obvious. Traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue damage, and organ damage can be debilitating, even life-threatening if not addressed in time. And yet many accident victims go hours, days, or even longer before they realize the extent of their injuries.

What’s more, car accident injuries that can take time to show up may complicate a claim. Knowing how to address late-appearing accident injuries in your claim is essential in these circumstances.

Hidden Car Accident Injuries: Why Some Chicago Car Crash Victims Don’t Notice Injury Symptoms Right Away

There are various reasons why you might not notice post-accident injury signs right away. For instance, a motor vehicle wreck is very frightening. Such an experience may cause you to experience a surge in adrenaline.

Medical professionals state that adrenaline can impact pain perception. Someone experiencing a surge in adrenaline might not experience the pain an injury causes. That doesn’t mean they’re not injured.

Don’t assume you’re unhurt simply because you feel fine. Once the police have finished their investigation at the scene, immediately head to one of the following:

  • The nearest emergency room
  • The nearest urgent care center
  • Your primary care physician, if they can see you that day

A doctor needs to examine you to confirm you’re uninjured. If they find any injuries, early treatment can play a critical role in your recovery. Always follow a doctor’s medical advice after car accidents.

Taking this step may also play an important role in your claim. Seeing a doctor right away after a crash makes it difficult for an insurer to argue you suffered your injuries in a separate incident. Following their advice also shows you’re attempting to optimize your recovery. An insurer may be more willing to offer a fair settlement if you’re striving to minimize the severity of your injuries (and the expense of your treatment).

What Are Some Car Accident Injuries That Can Take Time to Show Up?

Delayed injury symptoms after a car accident may be more common among victims who sustain certain types of injuries. Examples include:

  • Concussion
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Back or neck injuries
  • Internal organ injuries

Diagnosing post-accident injuries is a task for only a qualified medical professional. See a doctor as soon as possible if you start noticing delayed injury symptoms.

Common Delayed Post-Accident Injury Signs

Monitor yourself for any signs of harm in the hours, days, and weeks after a collision. The specific symptoms you might experience can depend on the nature of your injuries. Common signs of an injury you might have overlooked include:

  • Headaches
  • Backaches, neck pain, and similar aches
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Any other changes that may be the result of an injury

The sooner you seek medical care, the better.

You should also consider starting a pain journal once you notice injury symptoms. Claimants can often seek compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering when filing claims. Keeping a pain journal is a good way to quantify this type of loss. It may also help you “tune into” your symptoms more, allowing you to notice subtle injury signs that you would otherwise overlook.

Legal Steps for Delayed Injury Claims

Always exchange contact and insurance information with another driver after a crash. You’ll need this information to file a claim with their insurance.

You may still have options for gathering this information if you did not do so yourself. If police responded to the crash, the report they took should name the other drivers involved in the wreck. You can request a copy of the report to track down them and their insurance information. Second, an experienced personal injury lawyer has the investigative resources to gather considerable information on your behalf.

When you file a claim with the insurance company, a claims adjuster will investigate. Their goal is to confirm the insured caused your injuries.

You may thus need to provide medical documentation of your injuries. If you waited to see a doctor because you experienced delayed injury symptoms, an adjuster might use this fact against you. They may argue you could have sustained injuries in another way. With no proof the insured caused your injuries, the insurance company may deny your claim.

Coordinating with medical professionals is essential in these circumstances. A doctor may testify that the nature of your injuries corresponds with the nature of the crash. If necessary, a crash reconstruction expert may also show how the collision would have caused your injuries.

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?

a close-up of a chicago car accident lawyer holding a piece of lawsuit paper

Acting fast after a motor vehicle crash in Illinois is important for several reasons. First, seeking medical care right away is key to receiving necessary treatment. Second, initiating the legal process can also help you avoid waiving your rights to compensation. In Illinois, you have two years from the date of a car crash to file an injury lawsuit. You likely won’t be able to recover compensation if you miss the deadline.

Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

Having seen a doctor immediately after a wreck establishes a link between the crash and your injuries. However, you might not have taken this step if you did not notice symptoms right away.

Don’t worry. This won’t necessarily prevent you from securing the compensation for which you’re eligible.

Review your case with our team of attorneys for more information. A Chicago car accident lawyer with JJ Legal can help you gather the medical documentation you need when filing a claim. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

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