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Just Because You Walked Away Doesn't Mean You're Not Hurt

DBM Law Blog

3 Reasons Why You May Not Realize You’re Injured Until Later

You’ve been in a car accident but were able to walk away. Things could have been much worse, but “walking away” from a car accident doesn’t mean you haven’t sustained an injury. Often, symptoms of injuries don’t show up until days or even weeks later. Delayed reactions can affect your health and your recovery, so it’s very important that you receive the necessary financial compensation to cover the full course of your treatment. If you have been involved in a car accident, you might want to contact one of DBM’s Coquitlam personal injury lawyers.
Here’s why you may not know you have sustained an injury in a car accident:

  1. Adrenaline and Endorphins

When you’re in an accident, your body’s natural “fight or flight” response to danger kicks in. It floods your body with endorphins and adrenaline, both of which can block the pain associated with personal injuries. It’s like when athletes play through a game while badly injured and don’t feel it until much later. Once your body’s natural chemicals wear off, the pain from even “minor” accident injuries can start to set in, but it can take hours or days.

  1. Soft Tissue Injuries

These are the most common personal injuries in car accidents, especially in so-called “minor” ones. A soft tissue injury refers to damage done to parts of the body other than bone. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all considered “soft tissue.”
Car accidents, even low-speed ones, generate a lot of force. When a car comes to sudden stop in an accident, drivers and passengers keep moving until they are brought to that same sudden stop by restraints such as seatbelts, or parts of the car like airbags, dashboards or seatbacks. Any of these can put a lot of stress on joints and other vulnerable areas of the body.
Perhaps the most common type of soft-tissue injury is “whiplash.” This refers to an injury to the neck and/or shoulder and upper back muscles when the head is suddenly, and forcefully, thrown forward and then back.
Soft tissue personal injuries typically result in pain, swelling, and reduced mobility, but these symptoms may not show up immediately. It can be days or even weeks after an accident before you start feeling them. In addition, soft tissue injuries are not visible on an X-ray. This makes them more challenging to diagnose and document. Getting proper medical treatment is the number one priority.

  1. Concussions

Your brain is surrounded by fluid inside your skull. Together, they do an excellent job of protecting the brain. However, if you strike your head, or your head or neck is violently jolted, your brain may strike the inside of your skull with considerable impact. This often leads to a concussion.
There is increasing awareness of the serious and potential long-term effects of concussions–even single ones. One of the worst parts of a concussion is that many symptoms do not usually show up immediately. But they often do start appearing after the accident. They include:

  • persistent headache
  • blurry vision
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • Inability to think clearly
  • inability to focus or concentrate
  • difficulty remembering new information
  • lack of energy
  • disrupted sleep patterns

If you have any of these symptoms following a car accident, you may have a concussion.
But you shouldn’t wait for symptoms of any type of injury to appear before you seek medical attention. You should see a doctor immediately after being in any type of car accident, no matter how minor.
If you have suffered any personal injuries after a car accident, or you just want to make sure the claims process provides you with all the protections you are entitled to you may want to talk with an experienced DBM Coquitlam Personal Injury lawyer.
Contact DBM if you have any questions. We’re here to help.


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