The other driver blew through a stop sign and crashed into the side of your vehicle. Despite such a jarring experience, you — for the most part — maintain your bearings and exit your vehicle. Although you remain shaken emotionally, you seemed fine physically. No initial pain. No cuts or abrasions and no visible sign of trauma.
You exchange information with the other driver, walk back to your car and call a tow truck. You are doing most of the necessary steps post-motor vehicle accident, save for one. Without realizing it, you are overlooking the most important aspect: your health and well-being. A seemingly harmless car accident can lead to delayed symptoms of serious injuries.
Internal organ damage, traumatic brain injury
Anytime people are involved in a motor vehicle accident, they must realize that their body has experienced some type of trauma. Sometimes people can walk away from a car accident without realizing that they suffered a serious injury such as internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury.
Some of the injuries that may produce delayed symptoms include:
- Internal bleeding: Abdominal pain and swelling may be signs of damage to internal organs such as the liver and spleen. Bleeding also can happen in the heart and lungs.
- Traumatic brain injury: There have been incidents in which people suffered a traumatic brain injury, failed to seek medical treatment, returned home and later died in their sleep. Headaches are a potential sign of injuries such as a concussion, head or neck injury, and blood clots in the brain. Changes in behavior may also indicate a traumatic brain injury.
- Back pain: Vertebrae-related injuries can lead to lower back pain and spinal damage that may not surface for a few hours or days after an accident.
- Neck pain: The onset of whiplash can cause stiffness and soreness as well as severe headaches. If tingling and numbness surface after a whiplash injury, that could be a sign of nerve damage.
Bottom line: Some people may not realize how seriously injured they really are after a motor vehicle accident. Please, stay on the safe side and seek medical treatment if you suspect something is wrong.