Catastrophic car crashes can result in immediate, easily recognizable injuries that can change the course of their victim’s life – such as broken limbs or bones. However, even minor accidents can result in painful, life-altering injuries. The dangerous aspect of some of these injuries is their delayed onset – meaning that the symptoms don’t begin to appear until days or even weeks after the initial accident.
Neck and shoulder injuries
Whiplash is likely the most common type of injury that accident victims experience a few days after the initial accident. Whiplash is the result of physical forces that slam your head and neck forward or to the side. It can result in torn or strained muscles in your neck and shoulders, pinched nerves and more.
The effects of whiplash can take many days to fully manifest. You can suffer whiplash even from accidents at low speeds, such as from being rear-ended in a parking lot or at a stoplight.
Since there are little outward signs of internal bleeding – other than bruising – it can be difficult for a car crash victim to notice for a couple of days. But, if left untreated, internal bleeding can be deadly. If blood clots form in critical areas, such as around the lungs or brain, they can cause long-term injury or death.
Look for signs such as abdominal pain around the area that your seatbelt covers, as well as severe bruising and inexplicable fatigue and nausea. These could be signs that your car accident caused an abdominal aneurysm or other form of internal bleeding. The sooner a doctor treats internal bleeding, the greater your chances will be of avoiding lasting damage.
Unless you cracked a vertebra or severed a nerve in your spine, a spinal injury may not be immediately obvious. However, with time, the pain can build and become more severe. Eventually, an untreated injury can sometimes result in paralysis, as the nerves and tendons in the spine lose circulation or are crushed by vertebrae that are out of place.
Even if you feel completely fine after your car accident, it’s always a good idea to get a full medical examination. That way you are more likely to catch the early stages of any delayed injuries that your crash may have caused, so that you can treat them before they become more severe – and so that you can seek compensation for the full extent of your injuries.