Are You Experiencing Delayed Pain After A Car Accident?
It is a common misconception that if you are injured in a car accident you will know right away. While this may be true of some injuries, such as broken bones and fractures, other injuries take longer to become aware of. In fact, it is most common for us to get calls from individuals three days after a car accident saying that initially they thought they were fine, but that the pain has now become severe to the point where they are aware it is a problem.
Why is pain delayed after an accident?
An accident is a traumatic event that triggers the fight or flight response. In the aftermath of a car accident, your adrenaline is pumping and your pain signals are dulled. This means that even if you have suffered a serious non-visible injury, such as whiplash, a herniated disk, or a soft-tissue injury, you may not be able to feel it in the moment until the adrenaline subsides. This can often take over 24 hours. Additionally, people often write off lower-level pain and stiffness after an accident for the first couple of days, assuming it will pass, and simply take over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol to manage the discomfort. However, around day three they may realize that what they thought was just temporary and natural, is actually something more serious. Soft tissue injuries, contusions, whiplash, and other injuries often are not immediately apparent, and do take time to manifest completely. The same way you may hit your leg and not see a bruise for 2-3 days, you can be in a car accident and not witness the full effects of the physical trauma for days after the accident.
Delayed Pain to Look Out For
Although many people worry about making a scene, seeming overly dramatic, or making a big deal out of nothing, they often later come to regret not taking their initial discomfort more seriously. If you begin having any of the following pain or symptoms in the aftermath of a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
- Lower Back Pain. Lower back pain can be the result of herniated disks, damage to the lumbar spine, sciatica, soft tissue injuries, and more. A doctor will generally perform an MRI to assess the lumbar spine and determine what is causing the pain. Note that while we often look for pain, numbness and tingling can be just as important to pay attention to.
- Neck Pain. Pain in the neck can be caused by whiplash. This can be indicative of serious damage to the cervical spine. While initially this may just feel like stiffness, people often report that it gets to the point where they cannot turn their head, which can seriously impact their ability to live their daily life. For instance, they may find they are no longer able to drive, as they cannot turn their head to look at blindspots, or that it becomes too painful to sit at their desk looking at their computer. Note that whiplash injuries can also manifest as upper back and shoulder pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions are often missed in the aftermath of an accident, despite being extremely common due to whiplash caused by the impact of the collision and the restraint of the seatbelt. Headaches, migraines, visual impairment, sensitivity to light or sound, anxiety, depression, and extreme fatigue in the aftermath of an accident, can all point to a traumatic brain injury.
Talk to a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered an injury or are experiencing pain following a Florida car accident, the best thing you can do is to seek medical attention and contact a lawyer. With offices in Plantation, Delray Beach, Key West, Lyons & Snyder Trial Attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars for victims of Florida car accidents. Call today to schedule a free consultation with our Plantation personal injury attorneys and find out how they can help you get the compensation you deserve.