Delayed Pain After a Car Accident

Delayed pain refers to a symptom of injury experienced 24 to 48 hours (or longer) after a car accident takes place. When a victim experiences delayed pain, he or she may not recognize a severe injury right away. This can lead to a dangerous delay in receiving medical care, as well as difficulty obtaining fair financial compensation from a car insurance company.

What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident

A car accident is chaotic and confusing for the victims involved. Traumatic and frightening events can flood the body with adrenaline that masks pain and other injury symptoms. Some injuries, by nature, do not show symptoms right away. Either way, it is possible to experience delayed pain or the delayed discovery of an injury after a car accident. It is important to account for this possibility after your car accident in Washington by taking the correct steps:

  • Take it slow. Your initial inclination might be to immediately jump to your feet or exit your vehicle after an accident, but it is important to take it slow. If you have undiscovered injuries, such as a spinal cord injury, you could exacerbate it with sudden movements.
  • Don’t discuss your injuries with the other driver or their insurance company.
  • Seek medical care right away. Do not delay in seeking medical care after a car accident, whether or not you have noticeable symptoms. Explain to the doctor what happened and describe everything you feel in detail.

A car insurance company will check how long you waited to see a doctor after a car accident. A delay in medical care could give the insurer grounds to claim that your injuries may not have been that painful or severe. Go to a hospital immediately and document your injuries with photographs.

Common Injuries With Delayed Symptoms

Delayed pain is often associated with mild to moderate injuries, such as a pulled muscle or minor soft-tissue injury. However, many severe and life-threatening injuries can come with delayed pain or hidden symptoms. If you experience delayed pain after a car accident, you could have one or more of the following types of injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cranial swelling or bleeding
  • A concussion
  • Whiplash
  • A neck or back injury
  • A herniated or slipped spinal cord disk
  • Tendon or ligament damage
  • Nerve damage or a pinched nerve
  • Internal bleeding or hemorrhagic shock
  • Damage to one or more organs
  • A blood clot
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Any of these car accident injuries could result in pain, discomfort, swelling, bruising or other symptoms experienced hours or even days after the crash. This is why it is essential to get medical attention even if you do not have immediate signs of injury. A doctor can run tests, scans and x-rays to diagnose a hidden injury before you notice related symptoms.

How Long Should You Wait After a Car Accident to Settle Your Claim?

Many injuries – including expensive and life-changing injuries – don’t manifest right away. This is important to keep in mind when filing a car insurance claim, as a claims adjuster may try to get you to admit that you are fine. The adjuster will ask for a recorded statement shortly after the crash, possibly before you’ve seen a doctor.

Seek medical care and consult with a Vancouver car accident attorney before giving a statement to an insurance company. An attorney can help you speak to a claims adjuster and help you to settle a claim only after fully understanding your injuries and how they will affect your life.

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