As you check yourself for injuries after a car crash, you may feel a wave of relief as you realize you can still move your legs and that nothing seems obviously broken. When the police officer comes to take your report a bit later, you happily inform them that you avoided any major injuries.
After filing the report and arranging for a tow truck to come to pick up your vehicle, you head home or maybe even go to work for the remainder of the day. You think you had a near miss, but the truth is you may not know yet for several more days if you have a serious injury. Unless you see a doctor after a wreck, you may not notice warning signs of serious injuries with delayed onset symptoms.
If you hit your head on the window or the steering wheel during the crash, there could be bleeding inside your skull. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are notorious for taking many days to present symptoms. All that time, the bleeding and bruising have persisted, potentially causing irreversible damage to your brain.
Internal bleeding doesn’t just occur in the head. It can also occur in the chest and abdomen, possibly because of the restraints that helped keep you in the vehicle during the crash. Internal bleeding in the abdomen could be hard to notice until the blood loss reaches a dangerous level.
Stable traumatic injuries
Did you know that you could break a bone and have the fractured bone remain in place? It could be several days before you apply enough force to the bone to destabilize it and realize that you broke it in the crash. People can also pinch or partially tear their spinal cords and not notice an immediate loss of sensation or function. However, if they go without evaluation and treatment, they could eventually worsen the injury and cause permanent symptoms.
Especially when the crash was quite violent, taking the time to see a doctor to rule out traumatic injuries can be the smartest approach after a motor vehicle collision. Obtaining a medical diagnosis after a car crash will improve your prognosis and help you get insurance coverage for those injuries.