One of the biggest mistakes accident victims make is not seeing a doctor immediately following a car crash. Sometimes, slow-speed collisions do not immediately result in mind-bending pain. A motorist might feel perfectly fine or simply experience some nagging discomfort. Going to a doctor can seem like a waste of time, especially if you think you can treat the injury with a few ibuprofens and some bed rest.
Unfortunately, many car accident injuries are slow to develop. This is true of brain injuries, spinal cord damage, whiplash, and cuts or abrasions. A person might only realize that something is wrong days or possibly weeks later. At that point, they could be in so much pain that they are unable to walk on their own or to work.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still go to a car accident doctor as soon as possible, then reach out to one of our Las Vegas car accident lawyers. We have helped many clients with slow-developing injuries obtain the maximum compensation they are entitled to under Nevada law.
Why Some Injuries are Not Immediately Apparent
Car wrecks are traumatic events. The body responds by producing adrenaline and endorphins, both of which can mask or block the pain that a person would otherwise feel. The creation of adrenaline and endorphins is a sensible response from the body since both can help a person endure a difficult experience. But they have the counterproductive effect of making people feel “fine” following a collision when they could be seriously injured.
Once the adrenaline fades, however, an accident victim might soon realize that they feel pain in a certain part of the body. When the pain doesn’t subside after a few days, they definitely know that something is wrong. However, other injuries are simply slow to develop regardless of the adrenaline created. For example, an internal organ could be damaged. If the organ slowly dies, then a patient might only gradually become aware that they have been seriously injured.
Brain Injuries & Car Accidents
Many people wrongly believe that they have not suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI) unless they immediately pass out. Other misconceptions are that motorists must strike their heads on something to suffer a TBI. In reality, a person can suffer a concussion without losing consciousness. Also, the violent shaking of the head is often enough to disrupt how the brain is supposed to operate. The most common concussion symptoms include impaired speech, ringing in the ears, headache, loss of mobility or balance, mood disorder, and problems with memory. Brain injuries are serious. A person should go to the doctor as soon as possible. Emerging research shows that the sooner a person receives treatment, the quicker they can make a recovery.
Cuts & Abrasions
The main problem with these injuries is that they might become infected. The signs of an infection include pain, redness, and pus leaking from the wound. A cut must be cleaned thoroughly, but many people forget this step. If a cut, laceration, or abrasion becomes infected, then you need immediate antibiotics before the infection spreads. Delay could cause an even worse situation, especially if the infection gets into the bloodstream.
Whiplash & Other Soft Tissue Injuries
Any injury to the muscle, ligaments, or tendons is a soft-tissue injury that might be slow to develop. These are common injuries following a car accident. Whiplash, in particular, is a soft-tissue injury that affects the back of the neck and the upper back and shoulders. Any forceful twisting or stretching can lead to a soft tissue injury, and whiplash is prevalent in accidents even at low speeds.
Soft tissue injuries are also slow to develop in the back.
The human back is very complex, and a person might not know they have injured it until they bend down to lift something or turn around quickly in a wrenching motion. At that point, the pain is unbearable, signaling that they have suffered a serious injury. Other patients experience micro-tears in the muscles of their body. Although not disabling, these tears increase a person’s stiffness as they heal. If you notice significant stiffness a week or so after an accident, then muscle tears could be to blame.
Initial treatment for soft tissue injuries include icing and elevating the affected limb, both of which can reduce swelling and decrease pain. But more serious injuries can require immobilization or even surgery. For example, a ligament might have torn clean off the bone and should be reattached. Soft tissue injuries often keep people out of work for months at a time.
Visit the Right Doctor
If you have been involved in a collision, then you should go to a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel only mild pain or no pain at all. Going to a doctor helps build a paper record of what happened and your actions. For example, you might develop symptoms much later—say in a few weeks. You don’t want the driver who is responsible for the accident to claim that you made your injuries worse by not visiting a physician.
Which physician should you meet with? If your injuries were serious, you might be transported by ambulance to the emergency room. If your pain is less intense, you get to choose the doctor you meet with. In this situation, you might be better off going to a car accident doctor. A regular doctor might be great at diagnosing a bacterial infection or cancer, but he or she might not be an expert at identifying the types of injuries that people suffer in a car wreck. A doctor with a specialty in car accidents can often ask the right types of questions that uncover what is truly wrong with a patient. These types of doctors also specialize in treating injuries that are specific to car accidents, like whiplash.
If you need help identifying a car accident doctor to meet with, consult an experienced car wreck attorney. At our firm, we work closely with doctors to help understand the full severity and extent of our clients’ injuries, and we would be happy to recommend a doctor for you.
Starting Physical Therapy
The sooner a victim begins treating injuries, the sooner he or she can become well. Physical therapy is often the cornerstone of treating whiplash, soft-tissue injuries, and concussions or other TBIs. Although physical therapy is often considered “conservative” treatment, a patient should begin it as soon as possible to reap maximum benefits. When left untreated, many injuries can become disabling. A client with whiplash, for example, can experience headaches of increasing intensity. Over time, they might be unable to leave their home. The purpose of physical therapy is to increase a person’s range of motion and to decrease the stress on the body. Although physical therapy might be painful at first, it ultimately reduces pain in the long run.
Many clients need a referral before they can begin physical therapy, which is why meeting with a doctor is important. If you need help finding appropriate medical care following a car wreck, contact one of our Las Vegas car accident attorneys.
Writer: Farhan Naqvi
Photo credit : Colombo law