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What if injuries from a car accident show up later?

Not every injury appears to be serious at first glance. You may walk away feeling sore but alright after a rear-end accident on a city street. Unfortunately, even accidents involving slow speeds and minor vehicle damage can leave lasting impacts.

After an accident, the full extent of an injury may not become apparent right away. Some injuries may take days - or even weeks - to present symptoms. If you've already reached a settlement with the insurance company by the time you detect these injuries, you could be out of luck.

What are these types of injuries?

Many serious injuries may not become noticeable until well after the accident. These include:

  • Nerve damage: Trauma that harms your nerves can get increasingly severe over time, although initially you may not notice it constantly. 
  • Brain injury: If your head hit the headrest or was jerked violently to the side, that jarring movement could cause a concussion or hematoma. These are not always immediately obvious and can have unusual symptoms like sleep problems, memory loss or changes in personality. 
  • Neck injury: After whiplash, you may notice you have a sore neck and chalk it up to a muscular issue that will heal in a week. It may be several weeks out when the full symptoms/severity becomes clear. If you didn't see a doctor right away or waited for weeks before contacting an insurance company about a claim, they may question your injury.
  • Internal injury: The force involved in an accident can mean that an airbag or seatbelt causes an injury. This can cause damage internal organs. Symptoms of internal bleeding - such as abdominal bruising, pain or bloody stool/vomit - may not show up for a few days and may be misdiagnosed.

Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic. You may experience crippling anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder (being stuck in traffic can be excruciating after a rear-end collision in similar traffic). You may not notice these symptoms right away - or it may take you a while to determine their cause. If you're experiencing emotional anguish following a car accident, you need resources to seek treatment.

Protecting your rights

You may feel fine - or only slightly injured - following a car accident. Nonetheless, settling a claim with the insurance company too quickly can prevent you from obtaining compensation for injuries that are not immediately apparent.

If you are involved in an accident, first report the accident to the police and seek medical attention. Then, before you sign anything from the insurance company, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can ensure you receive fair compensation once the full extent of your injury is known.

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Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
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