Victims of car accidents in Tennessee might find that, even if the crash seems insignificant and there are no broken bones or open wounds, the consequences can be severe. Collisions typically cause whiplash, which often leaves damage that is initially disguised by adrenaline, only to become evident days or weeks later.
The force of the impact, the location of the impact, your position in the car, and whether you wear your seat belt will all affect the severity of your whiplash injuries. Even if you think you escaped the crash without injuries, it is always a good idea to have a medical evaluation, which could detect hidden damage. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you will heal.
Common delayed crash injuries
Any of the following symptoms can appear in the days and weeks after your car accident -- most of them caused by whiplash:
- Stiffness and pain in your neck and shoulders: Whiplash is the rapid forward and backward or side to side movement of your body upon impact in a crash, even at speed as low as 14 mph. Damage can range from mild to severe, and CT scans, X-rays or MRIs typically help in the diagnosis of shoulder and back injuries.
- Headaches: If you develop headaches several days after a crash, do not ignore them. They could indicate severe damage, such as traumatic brain injuries, head or neck trauma, or even a blood clot in your brain.
- Back pain: A significant number of side-impact and rear-end collisions leave victims with low back pain. It can be a sign of muscle, ligament or nerve damage, but vertebrae damage is also possible.
- Numbness: This is a whiplash-associated disorder that causes numbness and loss of feeling in your hands and arms. It could be a sign of spinal column or neck damage.
- Abdominal swelling and pain: A potentially life-threatening development that might mean internal bleeding is sometimes only discovered days or hours after the accident. Dizziness, fainting and large, dark purple areas of bruising are typically telltale signs of internal damage.
- Physical function or personality changes: The whiplash motion of the brain inside the skull can cause traumatic brain injuries, even if no penetration wound occurred. You might find it affected your memory, thinking, vision, hearing, and movement and could cause personality changes and bring about depression.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: Do you experience nightmares, and have constant disturbing, vivid recollections of the crash? Having flashbacks and reliving the accident over and over are typical signs of PTSD.
Although all of these hidden injuries are treatable, you might not link them to your car accident by the time they become evident. When that happens, it could complicate any attempts to recover damages in a civil lawsuit. A thorough medical examination after the crash can at least start the documented proof of potential injuries.
The financial consequences of all these delayed injuries can be significant. Fortunately, the Tennessee civil justice system makes it possible to pursue claims for damage recovery. This is a complicated field of the law, and an experienced personal injury attorney might be the best person to navigate your claim for economic and noneconomic damages.