According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 5 million auto accidents in the United States each year. More than 1.5 million of those crashes result in injuries. Statistics show that one in every four drivers will be in a car accident at least once during their driving lifetime.
It is not uncommon for people who have been injured in car crashes to not realize that they have been injured for hours, days, or even weeks after the actual event. One reason why this can occur is because of the adrenaline rush a person might be experiencing after a crash. An auto accident – even a seemingly minor one – is often a traumatic experience, leaving those involved emotionally disorientated.
There are also several types of car accident injuries which can have delayed symptoms. This is one reason why – even if you do not think you have been injured – you should still seek medical attention immediately following a crash. Even after you have been checked out by a physician, if you begin suffering from certain symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.
If a person begins suffering from headaches a few days after they have been in a car accident, this could be a sign that they are suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The accident may have caused blood clots to develop, brain bruising, a serious concussion, or there may be hemorrhaging.
Pain or Stiffness in the Neck or Shoulder Area
One of the most common delayed symptom from an auto accident is whiplash. Even a person involved in a rear-end collision as slow 15 m.p.h. can suffer whiplash injuries. Many people think whiplash is a minor injury, but it can actually be a very severe injury, and in some cases, whiplash can be fatal.
Any type of back pain following a crash can be a symptom of a serious back or spine injury. The pain may be signaling damage to muscles, nerves, discs, or vertebrae. Back injuries can often end up being long-term – sometimes permanent – disabilities.
Pain or Swelling of the Abdominal Area
If a car accident victim suffers from pain or swelling in the abdominal area, this could be a sign of internal bleeding, which can be a life-threatening condition. Other symptoms of internal bleeding include any kind of deep, purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting.
A loss of feeling in arms or legs is also another symptom of whiplash. Damage to the neck or spinal column can cause the loss of feeling. The numbness could also be a symptom of a head injury. Victims who experience numbness should seek medical attention right away.
Change in Personality or Behavior
Any drastic changes in a person’s behavior in the days following an accident is another symptom of a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion. Problems with hearing or vision, concentration difficulties, impaired memory, depression, or personality changes are all signs that there could be a serious TBI that needs to be treated immediately.
Anyone who has been injured in a car accident should contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out whether or not they should pursue a personal injury damage claim against the other party or parties involved in the accident.