Being involved in a car wreck is a massive jolt to your system. When everything comes to a stop, most people are just happy they can still get out of the vehicle under their own power. You may even be grateful that you have no obvious injuries, like broken bones or major lacerations.
Don’t breathe a sigh of relief too soon, however. It can take days for a serious injury to manifest following a motor vehicle accident.
How can someone not realize that they’re injured after a wreck?
There are actually two reasons that you may not immediately recognize an injury following a wreck. First, your body’s flight-or-fight response gets triggered in the crash, which causes the production of adrenaline to go into overdrive. This hormone both increases your mental focus and helps overcome muscle fatigue. With your mind distracted by the details of the immediate aftermath of the wreck, the pain you would ordinarily feel from an injury can be masked.
Second, the physical effects of your injury may take some time to develop. Pain and dysfunction may simply not set in until your damaged blood vessels begin to leak, the tissues in your body begin to swell and the injured nerves are fully inflamed.
What are some of the most common hidden injuries following a wreck?
Typically, the consequences that are most likely to manifest in the days following a car accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back and spine injuries
While other hidden injuries are certainly possible, these can be among the most severe and leave you with lifelong complications.
Don’t brush off the warning signs that you may have sustained more damage than you realize in a wreck. Headaches, confusion, nausea and dizziness, for example, could be the early symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Neck pain, shoulder pain or numbness in your hands or fingers could be the indication that you’ve suffered whiplash and damage to your spinal column. Low back pain and aching muscles could be the first symptom of a slipped disc or a fracture.
If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, take the right steps to protect your future. Get medical attention as soon as possible — particularly if you experience any symptoms that may indicate a hidden injury — and speak to an experienced Ohio attorney about your legal options.