Car accidents happen all too often in Southern California. If you were a driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you should report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible (and read these tips on what to do after you have been involved in a car accident).
After an accident, seek appropriate medical care immediately at, or even before, the first sign of pain or discomfort. Some injury symptoms appear later, especially with accidents that seem minor at the time.
Lack of Pain after an Accident
Because of the release of adrenaline and endorphins from the accident, your body may essentially block the feeling of pain. Even if you feel fine after the accident, this does not necessarily mean that you have not suffered an injury. You should be observant of injuries with delayed symptoms.
Soft Tissue Injuries
The most common delayed injuries are soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue includes muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even if an accident occurs at low speed, the accident inevitably places a great deal of stress on joints and vulnerable parts of the body when the vehicle suddenly comes to a halt or drivers and passengers are tossed around inside the vehicle.
Soft tissue injuries often result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. One example of such an injury is whiplash, which is an injury to the neck muscles from sudden and forceful movement. It can be days, or even weeks, before you feel the effects of the injury. You are able to recover financial damages for injuries that result from the accident, even if the pain does not start immediately.
Another common delayed injury is a concussion, resulting from your brain striking the inside of your skull. In a motor vehicle accident, this may happen if you hit your head against a steering wheel or door frame or if your body is violently jolted. Disorientation and loss of consciousness are more obvious symptoms, but symptoms such as headache, blurry vision, clouded thinking, difficulty reasoning or concentrating, difficulty remembering new information, nausea, dizziness, lack of energy, and abnormal sleep patterns may not show up right away.
Seek Appropriate Medical Care Immediately
Again, even if you think you have not been injured or that your injuries are not that serious, seek prompt medical attention. Do not wait too long after the accident to seek medical care, as the longer you wait, the more challenging it becomes to prove that your injuries are the result of the accident. If you do not tell a doctor or other medical professional about your injuries, the insurance company could potentially argue that you were not actually injured, making it difficult for an auto accident attorney in the San Fernando Valley to help you recover financial compensation.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney Before You Settle
Even if the other driver or the driver's insurance company tries to get you to sign a release of claims you might have, with or without enticing you with money, you should wait until you have been fully evaluated by a medical professional. If you sign a release, and an injury appears later, you may not be able to obtain compensation for those injuries. Do not speak to insurance adjusters or sign any releases without first talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer.