How Long Should You Be Sore After a Car Accident?
The forces exerted on your body in a motor vehicle collision can cause many different injuries. Some you may feel right away, while others can take days or even weeks to surface. Delayed symptoms are why you should not tell a police officer or insurance company you do not have any injuries until you have seen a doctor. Monitor your injuries after a car accident to protect your legal rights.
Adrenaline Can Mask Pain
A cardinal mistake many crash victims make is to immediately assume they do not have injuries if they feel no pain after an accident. Do not answer this question while still at the scene of the accident. You may have suffered injuries such as a pulled muscle, slipped disk, head injury or contusion but cannot yet feel the pain or symptoms. The adrenaline and endorphins from the crash can work as painkillers, blocking pain you will feel later.
If you say you have no injuries while at the scene, this will go on record. It can then be difficult to change your answer, even if you discover injuries later. Instead, say you are not sure whether you have injuries and will need to see a doctor. Waiting to answer can protect your rights to compensation. The insurance company will not have a record of you saying you had no injuries to use against you during the claims process.
Go to a doctor right away after a car accident for a checkup. A physical examination or x-rays may diagnose an injury you did not realize you had, such as a minor fracture in one of your bones. Even a minor car accident could cause soft-tissue damage, such as whiplash. If a doctor diagnoses you with an accident-related injury, call your insurance company to update your case. If a doctor declares you sound, monitor yourself for symptoms that may arise later.
Injuries With Delayed Symptoms
Some types of personal injuries do not exhibit symptoms right away. Even after your adrenaline fades, you might not notice injuries until days later. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, often have delayed symptoms. You might not notice or recognize the effects of a brain injury, such as mood swings, nightmares, headaches and blurred vision, until days after the crash.
Another common injury with delayed symptoms is a slipped spinal cord disk. You might not notice a car accident damaged your spinal cord until you move the wrong way or try to lift something heavy later. The movement could complete the tear and cause a herniated disk you could ultimately trace back to the car accident. The possibility of delayed symptoms is why it is important not to accept an insurance settlement right away.
Lingering Symptoms and Chronic Pain
It is not enough to only request coverage for your existing medical bills if you have an injury that will cause future problems, pain or disabilities. Injuries that cause chronic pain or long-term disabilities deserve greater compensation for your future losses. A qualified Los Angeles car accident lawyer can gather medical documents and work with your physician to estimate your point of maximum medical improvement. Then, your lawyer can estimate the future costs associated with your injury.
- Future health care costs, including pain medications, procedures and therapies
- Lost capacity to earn wages due to a temporary or permanent disability
- Past and future physical pain and suffering, including chronic pain
- Emotional damages such as lost enjoyment of life from a long-term injury
Your lawyer will not let you accept an insurance settlement too soon. He or she will make sure you wait long enough to confirm the existence and extent of your injuries. Accepting a settlement early could make it impossible to receive fair compensation since you cannot hold a driver accountable for the same accident twice. Work with an attorney after a car accident to maximize your payout.