In the aftermath of a car accident, the first thing you should do is check yourself and others for injuries. But even if you don’t feel or see an injury doesn’t mean you don’t have one. In fact, some injuries can take weeks — even months — to appear. Delayed injuries can be disruptive and lead to major health problems for you. Here are some symptoms to look out for.
1. Neck and shoulder pain
Soft-tissue injuries are common in car accidents. They affect your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Whiplash is a common type of soft-tissue injury that may not become apparent until well after an accident. If you’re noticing discomfort, stiffness and swelling in the neck and shoulder region days after your accident has occurred, you may require medical attention.
2. Back pain
Back injuries can be painful and long-lasting. But because back injuries are so common, you might not even realize it’s associated with your accident. Be mindful of any soreness, tingling or numbness in your back. It could indicate damage to your spine, muscles or nerves.
A headache immediately after a car accident is often common, whether it’s from a minor head bump or the stress of the entire situation. But it’s important not to disregard a headache. It might suggest much more serious problems, such as:
- Blood clots in the brain
- Damage to the brain tissue
4. Stomach pain
Stomach aches and pains are common symptoms of the flu or other viruses. But pain that surfaces in the abdomen after a car accident might indicate something as serious as internal bleeding. Bruising to the area or dizziness and fainting are also signs of serious stomach injuries.
5. Change in behavior
It’s normal to be stressed, frustrated or forgetful after an accident. But significant changes in personality, memory or even vision or hearing can be signs of a traumatic brain injury. These changes might include verbal or physical outbursts, sudden lack of motivation or depression and anxiety.
Don’t simply assume you’re injury-free after a car crash. If you begin to experience delayed symptoms, seeking medical attention and documenting the signs of your injury can strengthen your personal injury claim and entitle you to the compensation you need to recover.