Car accidents happen, even to the cautious and overly safe among us. If you haven’t been in a car crash recently, you might be due for one soon. Insurance industries estimate that individuals file a claim for a car crash as often as every 17 years.
First on your to do list after a crash is contacting car accident attorneys, those who have experience litigating car accident cases. Often regulated to second place, but should be a priority, is seeing to one’s own physical well-being. This is particularly true if you suffer from no obvious signs of injury. Because some serious damage may not be immediately visible. Here are some common car accident injuries to watch out for following an accident.
- Abdominal swelling or pain
Abdominal swelling on a normal day may indicate lactose intolerance, food allergies, or just gas. But following a car crash, the diagnosis is more severe. Abdominal pain or swelling may be signs of internal bleeding. Internal bleeding due to car crash impact will cause swelling and pain, but may go undiscovered for hours or even days. If left undiagnosed, it can become a life-threatening condition. Other symptoms of internal bleeding include dizziness, fainting, and deep purple bruising. Always seek immediate medical attention after a car accident.
Whiplash refers to an injury or damage done to neck tissue, neck tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Your neck gets strained or sprained due to the sudden jolt of impact. Symptoms include stiffness, shoulder pain, headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. Other less common symptoms include irritability, poor sleep, and ringing in one’s ears. While it is common for whiplash sufferers to feel symptoms immediately, some take a day or two before signs show. Treatments for whiplash includes OTCs, such as aspirin or Tylenol. Physical therapy is also often considered an essential part of full recovery.
While headaches may be a sign of whiplash, they could also be a symptom of a more severe injury. Among those serious cases are blood clots in the brain, a concussion, or other injury to the head. Often, it will take a CT scan and / or a full body examination to correctly diagnose the source of the headache. Occasionally, a full week will pass before some post-crash headaches even appear. Frequently, headaches are a symptom of another injury caused by the accident. So always get yourself checked to prevent further complications.
- Back injury
The back is one of the most at-risk areas following a car crash. And without proper diagnosis and care, a light injury could turn into a highly complicated one. Injuries range from sprained ligaments to disc injury, which is one of the more severe car accident injuries to suffer. Discs act as shock absorbers to cushion the vertebrae in the spine. But when a car accident occurs, the force causes the discs to burst. This injury is frequently called a “ruptured disc.” Discs contain an outer covering, comparable to a “skin.” When this skin weakens due to impact, the material inside the disc pushes outward into the spinal canal. This places pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Immediate treatment is necessary as this injury is extremely painful.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder following a car accident
A less widely known but common affliction of car accident sufferers is PTSD. PTSD resulting from car accident trauma can have a persistent disabling effect. A research article in Current Psychiatry listed these symptoms associated with this affliction:
- difficulty falling asleep
- feeling detached or estranged from others
- dreams of the trauma
- feeling as if the trauma is reoccurring
- feeling distress upon confronting trauma cues
- impaired ability to recall aspects of the trauma
- avoidance of places associated with the trauma
- distress upon seeing cues associated with the trauma
The research team recommended using cognitive behavioral therapy to overcome residual PTSD symptoms.