Accidents and injuries are far more complex than we tend to think. Accidents can cause any number of injuries through various means. For example, car accidents alone account for a shocking variety of injuries, from lacerations to concussions and whiplash, each of which is caused in a different manner.
One of the biggest misconceptions about injuries is that you’ll know when you have suffered one. It seems obvious to think that you’d be able to tell if you were injured or not, but accidents don’t work like that. They get your adrenaline pumping, and that can shield your awareness from the pain your body is experiencing. Additionally, injuries may first present themselves as minor and only reveal their full scope in time.
Today we’re going to talk about what happens when your injuries don’t show up right away. First, we’ll look at why injuries may not show up right away and some signs that you may have suffered a worse injury than you thought. Then we’ll explore why every personal injury attorney instructs you to visit a doctor as soon as possible following an accident. Finally, we’ll look at why it isn’t a good idea to settle right away following any kind of accident.
Why Would Injuries Show Up Later?
Injuries come in all sorts of different forms. Some injuries will almost always be immediately apparent, such as lacerations or broken bones. While these injuries may be able to hide, such as a cut you didn’t realize you suffered, they are often evident due to both the pain they cause and their visual nature.
Other kinds of injuries are more challenging to spot. For example, soft tissue injuries, like whiplash, can take days or even weeks to start showing symptoms. But once they come, they can be quite debilitating due to either pain, reduced mobility, or both.
Another type of injury that can be hard to identify immediately is a brain injury like a concussion. Whenever your head hits something, you could potentially suffer a concussion. They’re what happens when your brain collides with your skull. Confusion and disorientation may be apparent symptoms, but headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, a lack of energy, and a hard time concentrating are easier signs to miss.
Injuries to the back, legs, and arms can be hard to identify. Sometimes the only sign you have that something is wrong is numbness or tingling. This can be hard to spot but could mean that you suffered severed nerves, disc herniation, nerve compression, or another nerve-related injury.
Why is Seeing a Doctor After an Accident So Important?
You might be surprised at how many kinds of injuries can only reveal themselves through subtle signs or after a period of time. However, it certainly wouldn’t surprise your doctor. Any doctor that has been practicing for any length of time has encountered hundreds of cases where injuries only revealed themselves after the fact.
However, a good doctor knows what to look for and can identify injuries or potential injuries before they start to become a problem. For example, if you visit a doctor after a car accident, they’ll ask about what happened and have a good sense of what sorts of injuries to watch out for. Same with if you suffered a slip and fall.
This advice is clearly good for your health since it allows you to get treatment for an injury before it sneaks up on you. But it is also vital legal advice. Any personal injury attorney will tell you that seeing a doctor is a must.
The reason is twofold. For one, it creates a record of your injury. When you see a doctor quickly following your accident, it also reinforces the fact that the injury comes from that accident. This may seem obvious, but it can become a point of great contention in any type of lawsuit. When you wait to see the doctor, it gives the defendant the chance to argue that your injury was for another accident or incident. Why give them any ammunition to use against you?
What’s Wrong With Settling Right Away Following an Accident?
It is never a good idea to settle right away following an accident. It is always better to speak to a personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement.
Insurance companies are the enemy of the injured. They want to convince you to sign quickly for the first sum they offer. The reason is simple; they’ll have to offer you less money if they can get you to settle quickly. The more time you have to speak to an attorney and have the full scope of your injuries illuminated, the more money they’re going to have to pay you.
They don’t want to pay you what is fair or what you deserve. When you settle quickly, there is very little that can be done to seek further compensation for your injuries should they prove to be worse than you assumed.
When Should I Speak to an Attorney?
The obvious answer is that you should speak to an attorney as close to your accident as possible. This would give them more time to investigate the circumstances of the accident, build a compelling argument based on the evidence they find, and ensure that your case is as strong as possible.
But if you don’t realize you suffered an injury, you might not think you need an attorney. But if injuries show themselves later, then you may worry that you don’t have enough time. The statute of limitations on personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury. The exception to this is in cases where the injury was not discovered right away. In those cases, you have one year from the date the injury was discovered.
Discovering an injury at a later date gives you a different window of opportunity to seek compensation. So this means that if an injury has just shown up, you certainly have enough time to reach out to a personal injury attorney and seek compensation.