Most people understand there’s a certain level of risk that comes with driving. While you can reduce that risk by following traffic laws and staying alert on the road, the reality is that car accidents are incredibly common.
In the United States, three million people are nonfatally injured in car accidents every year. While these injuries can vary depending on the accident circumstances, for some, their pain may not become apparent for days after the event. Delayed injuries can cause problems if you’ve already begun filing a claim with your insurance and can interfere with getting the compensation you deserve.
To ensure you receive coverage for all damages and injuries from your accident, seeking a comprehensive medical evaluation by your doctor is paramount.
Seeking medical care first
It’s no surprise that a car accident’s forceful impact at high speeds puts significant stress on the body. But did you know injuries such as soft tissue injuries can occur at speeds as low as five mph? You might think seeing your doctor after a car accident is unnecessary if the crash was minor, but this could cause problems later if you’ve already filed a claim when the pain kicks in.
A medical examination can identify any hidden internal injuries and ensure you have all of the necessary information when you file your claim. Common delayed injuries after car accidents can include:
- Shoulder and chest injuries: While seatbelts can be the difference between life and death in a crash, they can also cause damage to your shoulder. If your chest hits the steering wheel in a collision, it can result in many serious injuries, including broken ribs, collapsed lungs or internal bleeding.
- Head and neck injuries: The rapid movement in a collision often causes the neck to jerk forward rapidly, straining the muscles and ligaments. In some cases, a driver can suffer a traumatic brain injury, which can temporarily or permanently alter the brain’s functions or abilities and may take months to show symptoms.
- Leg and knee injuries: Minor leg injuries such as bruising or scrapes and cuts can happen when the legs hit the dashboard in a collision. In some cases, the crash force can strain the ligaments and tendons in the knees, limiting your mobility.
Even if you feel fine, you should always consult with a doctor after an accident. Identifying potential injuries right away will help ensure you get the coverage you need.