Insurance May Not Have You Covered
Every year, car accidents cause more than 2 million serious injuries in the United States, according to the CDC. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, you can expect a call from the insurance companies shortly afterward. You may even get a settlement offer to help you pay for your medical bills after a crash.
But what if your injuries get worse after you have talked to the insurance company? Or what if new injuries or medical conditions start to present themselves? The initial settlement offer you receive might fall woefully short of covering your actual financial needs.
Common Car Accident Injuries and Conditions That Take Time to Show Up
After a crash, some injuries are obvious: lacerations, broken bones, and blunt trauma usually lead to outward signs and immediate pain. While everyone reacts differently to being in a car crash, these types of injuries are often straightforward to identify and treat.
Other injuries and medical conditions are more insidious. Pain may increase over time, or symptoms might not appear until days, weeks, or even months after a crash has occurred. Sometimes, what many people might consider a minor fender bender can lead to serious injuries.
Below are a few of the most common examples of these types of delayed car accident injuries.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Car accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries, which are a very complex category of injury. Every person’s brain injury symptoms are unique, and in some cases, it takes time for individuals or their loved ones to notice the symptoms of brain trauma.
Brain injury symptoms include:
- Trouble focusing, concentrating, paying attention, and remembering
- Increased difficulty communicating or speaking
- Problems with balance, vision, hearing, or other senses
- Changes to sleeping patterns, such as sleeping more or less
- Mood swings, increased irritability or aggression, or increased sadness or depression
- Headaches, fatigue, or nonspecific pain
If you or a loved one has been in a collision, even if it seemed like a minor one, brain injuries can result. When they do, sometimes even medical imaging tests like MRIs can’t detect these complex injuries.
Neck, Spine, and Back Injuries
Because of the force involved in vehicle collisions, fragile and complex parts of the body, like the neck and spine, can suffer internal damage without any external signs of injury.
Some signs and symptoms of a neck, spine, or back injury include:
- Increased muscle stiffness, tightness, or spasms
- Reduced range of motion in the neck, back, shoulder, etc.
- Tingling (like part of your body is “asleep”), numbness, or even paralysis
- Weakness in the arms and/or legs, or more general fatigue
- Emotional symptoms like anxiety or depression
- Trouble sleeping
- Headache, dizziness, vertigo, or even nausea
Some types of neck, spine, and back injuries are commonly called “whiplash” injuries, and they can be very serious, even if a crash did not seem particularly violent when it happened.
Injuries to soft tissues like ligaments, muscles, tendons, and other organs share many of the symptoms listed above. These injuries cannot be detected using x-rays, so even experienced medical professionals may initially miss them when more obvious injuries, like bone fractures, are already present.
Psychological and Emotional Conditions
After a car crash, it’s easy to focus on tangible, physical problems that arise, but psychological issues are also common after car wrecks. Researchers have found that approximately 9% of people who survive motor vehicle collisions develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other mental health problems can develop as well, such as major depression, anxiety disorders, or a phobia of driving.
Some psychological and emotional symptoms to watch out for after a crash include:
- Having intrusive thoughts or distressing dreams about the collision
- Not wanting to discuss the accident
- Being reluctant to drive or ride in a vehicle, or even refusing to travel by car entirely
- Feeling unsocial, detached, or apathetic
- Experiencing reactions such as being more easily startled (or overreacting to being startled)
- Feeling confused, helpless, irritable, overwhelmed, or upset
- Experiencing sleep disturbances
After a car accident, victims are at an increased risk for a wide variety of mental health issues. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to understand that mental pain and suffering are no less real and no less important than the physical symptoms that victims experience. And while some mental or emotional symptoms arise immediately after a crash, it’s common for these issues to develop over time and then to require additional time before doctors can accurately diagnose and treat them.
Injured in a Car Wreck? Call Crosley Law Firm Right Away.
Between vehicle damage, getting treatment for injuries, and getting calls from insurance adjusters, car accident victims can easily become overwhelmed. On top of all this, the insurance company will try to offer you the least amount of money possible for your claim — if they even make an offer at all.
And the insurance company may even try to use your own words against you. If you get a call in the days after your crash, you might not know the full extent of your injuries, especially if some of the late-appearing car accident injuries above take time to develop. You might say you feel okay on that phone call, but then start experiencing pain or other symptoms later. If this happens, the insurance company may take your words out of context and try to make it seem like you’re contradicting yourself.
RELATED VIDEO: Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
For these reasons and many more, the best thing you can do after a car accident is call a qualified, experienced attorney like the ones at Crosley Law Firm.
During a free consultation, we can listen to the details of your story and give you honest advice about what you should do. If we think we can help, we work on a contingent fee basis, which means you don’t pay us a cent unless we get you a settlement or win your case in court.
Buckley, T. (2016, February 23). Traumatic stress and motor vehicle accidents. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/trauma/other/traumatic-stress-vehicle-accidents.asp
Motor vehicle crash deaths. (2016, July 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html
Sauber-Schatz, E. K., Ederer, D. J., Dellinger, A. M., & Baldwin, G. T. (2016, July 6). Vital signs: Motor vehicle injury prevention — United States and 19 comparison countries. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6526e1.htm?s_cid=mm6526e1_w
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.