What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident
While car insurance and medical billing companies contact you about the future of your claim and financial situation, something more pressing may consume your attention: the physical pain and suffering you’re experiencing after your car accident. Surviving the gravitational forces exerted on the human body in a vehicle collision is no small feat. It can leave you with serious, long-lasting physical ramifications that will vary depending on your injuries so be sure to speak with a skilled West Virginia car accident lawyer to find out if you can recover compensation. Learn what to expect physically after a car accident, as well as what to do if you experience the unexpected.
Endorphins, Adrenaline, and Energy
Immediately after a collision, you may feel no pain at all. You may think you made it out unscathed, jumping from the wrecked vehicle and feeling a surge of energy and/or adrenaline. While this physical reaction is common and normal, it can mask pain and injuries you may otherwise feel. It can be difficult to sense throbs, aches, shortness of breath, or other symptoms that you would be noticing were it not for the emotions you’re feeling from the crash.
It’s important to see a doctor after a car accident, no matter how you feel in the minutes following your crash. Tell police officers and insurance companies you aren’t sure whether you have injuries and go to the hospital. It is possible that you have injuries you cannot yet feel. Some of the most serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, can have delayed or hidden symptoms that arise hours or even days after the accident. Going to the hospital can give you the necessary tests and scans to diagnose serious injuries despite the mask of adrenaline.
Neck or Back Pain
Once the endorphins from the accident begin to subside, you may notice aches, pains, and/or stiffness in some parts of your body. This could be signs of a soft-tissue injury in the place where it hurts. The swift back-and-forth motion of body parts in a vehicle collision can cause sprains and strains that lead to soreness, especially in the neck and back. If you notice pain anywhere, see a doctor. Neck pain could be a serious whiplash injury, in which the head whipping back and forth can tear or damage the tendons and tissues in the neck and upper back.
Back pain is also serious and requires medical attention. Feeling pain, pinches, or loss of range of motion in your back after a car accident could be signs of damaged nerves or a slipped disc in your spinal cord. If you feel numbness or tingling in your back or your limbs, it could be a sign of a more serious spinal cord injury. Visit an emergency room right away for a scan of your spine. Prompt treatment could minimize the lifelong damage a spine injury could impose on a crash victim.
Swelling or Bruising
You could have a broken bone or sprained joint if you notice swelling, redness, bruising, or pain anywhere on your body. Swelling stems from inflammation somewhere in your body because of an injury. Don’t ignore swollen limbs or digits after a crash. You may have a bone fracture or muscle injury that requires professional treatment. Reduced mobility can also be a sign of a bone break or sprain/strain injury.
A car accident can cause a variety of injuries to the head and brain. A closed traumatic brain injury may arise if the brain strikes the inside of your skull, causing bleeding, or swelling. An open brain injury could occur if something (i.e. a piece of shrapnel from the crash) pierces your skull and enters your brain. Both types are serious and require immediate medical attention. You may not notice a closed brain injury, however, until days after your wreck. If you experience confusion, dizziness, nausea, headache, or changes in behavior after a car accident, see a doctor.