There are over 400,000 car crashes per year in Florida, with over 166,000 injuries and more than 3000 fatalities.¹ But the statistics don’t tell the whole story. People who walk away from crashes are left not only with physical pain but emotional distress, anxiety, fear, and, of course, mounting medical bills. Taking care of your health and wellbeing is of paramount importance. What can you expect physically after a car accident?
After a Car Accident: Symptoms You Can’t Ignore
Some injuries are readily apparent after a crash: you may have cuts, lacerations, or fractures. But even if you walk away without a scratch, that does not necessarily mean that you are not injured. Some symptoms are delayed; that is, they do not present themselves for hours or days after an accident. These can be serious and even life-threatening.
After car accident symptoms such as those listed below should never be ignored:
- Headache. Sometimes, a headache is just a headache. But if you’ve been in an accident, it can be a sign of whiplash, concussion, blood clot, or traumatic brain injury. A medical evaluation is necessary to rule out serious injury and, if present, to properly treat it.
- Neck and Shoulder Pain. We expect a few aches and pains after a car accident, but when it presents in the neck or shoulder it could indicate that you’re suffering from whiplash or a possible spinal injury. Many people think that if they’re up and moving around, they don’t have a spinal injury; this is not always the case. Depending on where the injury is, it may show up as being unable to control hand movement or finger extension, for example. If left untreated, it can worsen.
- Abdominal Pain. If you have pain in your abdominal region, it could be a sign of internal bleeding. You may also feel lightheaded or dizzy or notice a deep purple discoloration. If you do not treat internal bleeding, it can lead to seizures, organ failure, coma, and death when enough blood is lost. This is one of the leading cause of trauma-related fatalities. Do not ignore pain in this region.
- Back Pain. Again, bumps and bruises are to be expected after an accident. In the back area, though, it can mean that you have whiplash, spinal injury, or ligament damage. Leaving them untreated can result in more serious injury.
- Numbness and Bruising. These symptoms can indicate a herniated disk or spinal injury. As we mentioned, without treatment, these injuries can worsen.
- Emotional Distress. It is normal to feel emotional distress after a car accident. You may be fearful of driving again. You may have images of the crash that you can’t get out of your head. You may have trouble sleeping or feel depressed. These can signal physical injury, such as concussion or brain injury. If persistent, it can also indicate that you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Get a Medical Evaluation ASAP
We cannot overemphasize the importance of going to a hospital after a car accident for evaluation (and treatment, if necessary). Even if you feel “ok,” there may be injuries that are not visible or which have delayed symptoms. It is best to go immediately.
Your doctor may give you a clean bill of health. But in the days following an accident, be on the lookout for the symptoms we’ve mentioned above. Remember, sometimes injuries do not become apparent for several hours or days.
Why Immediate Medical Care Is A Must
First and foremost, seeking medical care as soon as possible after an accident is critical for your health. Walking away from an accident doesn’t mean you haven’t suffered serious injuries. But there’s another reason to get a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, treatment: insurance.
Insurance companies may dispute claims that involve delayed symptoms and those that involve diagnoses made days or weeks after the car accident. While Florida is a “no fault” state and your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) should kick in to cover medical expenses, your injuries may be more severe than the limits of your policy. In this case, it is important to build a strong case for compensation.
If you need help pursuing the compensation to which you are entitled after a car accident, consult with the LaBovick Law Group. We have decades of experience in personal injury and car accidents, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf. We’ll handle the legal side of your case while you focus on what matters: recovering.
The statistics on car accidents in Florida are sobering; being involved in an accident is all too common. Always seek medical attention as soon as you can, even if you feel all right. Don’t take chances with your health and wellbeing. And don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.