More than 100,000 car accidents a year happen in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Now imagine you have been in one of these accidents. After the collision, you immediately assess the damage—and thankfully, it appears that nothing is physically wrong with you. Your doctor says you’re fine and that you can go home. However, three days later, you start to have horrible head and neck problems. You take pain relievers and shrug it off as nothing, but what if that pain is actually a severe injury that was hidden at the time of your recent car accident?
When you’re injured in a car accident, your doctor generally treats the most apparent injuries first, such as cuts and broken bones. Once these injuries are patched up, he may do an overall physical exam to detect any other issues. If he is unable to find any more injuries, you’re released and sent on your way. However, some injuries can take several days, weeks, or even months to show their symptoms, even though the initial injury began during the accident. The two most identifiable of these hidden injuries are whiplash and concussions.
Whiplash occurs when your head is violently jerked from side to side, either from the collision itself or from the pummeling of an airbag. This causes strain, tearing, or spasms of your neck muscles.
In most cases, whiplash isn’t severe and can be treated with medication and an ice pack. However, in some cases it can be very painful, requiring physical therapy, motion exercises, and massage. Because a doctor can’t physically see the symptoms of whiplash, the patient must describe the pain in order to determine the severity of the injury.
It may take up to four days after a trauma for signs of the injury to appear. Classic symptoms of whiplash are:
- Neck spasms
- Stiffness or pain while moving the neck
Concussions, or mild brain injuries, also vary in severity and may only show symptoms some time after the accident. They are caused when the head violently jerks or strikes something, causing the brain to jostle in the skull or become bruised. This type of injury can result in anything from headaches and confusion, to loss of consciousness, to extremely severe and permanent brain damage.
Much like whiplash, the severity of a concussion may take time to fully present itself. In the less severe cases, headaches and confusion may clear up as quickly as a few minutes, while the more severe cases may take weeks or months to show personality changes, memory loss, or mental instability. Symptoms of concussions include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Irritability, mood changes, or temper control issues
- Anxiety and depression
All of these symptoms can be a result of a serious concussion and should not be taken lightly, if you have been in a car accident within the last six months
Get Relief for a Delayed Car Accident Injury
Both of these injuries—whiplash and concussions—can be very dangerous. Therefore, if you were in an accident and have any of the symptoms described above, even if your doctor cleared you of any injuries, do not hesitate to get immediate medical attention.
The Virginia car accident lawyers at Shevlin Smith want to make sure you are 100 percent safe and healthy after your collision. Furthermore, we would like to answer any questions or concerns that you may have about your accident. Please feel free to contact us at 703.591.0067 for a free consultation.