Injuries Are Not Always Obvious After Car Crashes
When you are in a car crash, your body usually reacts with techniques that help to keep you alive in an emergency. You may have heard it called the “flight or fight response;” your body pumps itself full of adrenaline, giving you extra power and awareness to either run from danger or fight it. But this adrenaline also helps to dull your sense of pain so you can walk away from injuries and flee to safety.
This makes sense if you are truly in a dire situation, but it can be more harm than good when a paramedic or a police officer is asking you if you are injured. When you are in a car crash, you may receive injuries that you are not aware of right away. Some injuries, just because of the way our body systems work, may have a delayed onset of a few days, or even a week.
What Should I Do Right After a Car Crash?
It goes without saying that the best way to avoid injury in a car crash is to avoid the car crash. Always make sure that every occupant in your car is wearing a seatbelt and that children are properly secured in car seats or child seats. Also be sure to follow all posted signs and adapt your driving to the road conditions. Unfortunately, though, even the most careful drivers may still be in car accidents.
After any crash, one of the first things you should do is use that flight or fight response to get yourself somewhere safe. If a crash happens on the highway or a busy road, staying in the middle of traffic can be dangerous. If your car can still drive, get your car and yourself to a safe, well-lit place on the side of the road where other motorists can see you.
Any car crash, especially if there are injuries, should be reported to the police immediately. Report any injuries that you know of right away. If you are not able to get yourself out of the car or otherwise unable to get yourself to safety, also report that to the police so they can respond more quickly and get you to safety.
Likely, a car crash will involve more people than just you. Check yourself and any of your passengers for obvious injuries. Things like bleeding and swelling may be easily observed, even if you do not feel any pain right away. When police or EMTs respond, check with them about whether these injuries need treatment. If you are feeling any pain, make sure to treat that area tenderly to prevent further injury.
If you feel any numbness or inability to move, or otherwise feel any injury to your back, neck, or head, do not strain yourself. Neck, back, and head injuries can be very serious, and, if you are able to stay in place, sit and wait for help.
Let medical responders know about any obvious injuries, but also let them examine you if you think you might have more injuries. Things like sprains and even broken bones might not be obvious to you until examined by someone else.
Signs of Delayed Onset Car Accident Injuries
If you only have minor cuts and scrapes and are sent home from the crash, you may still not be completely safe. Some injuries are not obvious, even days after the injury. Pay attention to your body and the signs it is giving you, and seek further medical attention if you notice anything unusual after a car crash.
Neck pain or stiffness after a car crash is a typical symptom of whiplash. Whiplash is common after a car crash, but that does not necessarily mean it is not severe. Back pain is similar – it may sound common, but that does not mean that there are not new, underlying problems.
Numbness or a “pins-and-needles” feeling may be an indicator that there is a more severe back or spinal injury. All the nerves in your body have to go through your spinal cord before they get to your arms and legs. If you are feeling numbness, this may indicate that you have a herniated disc or other spinal injury. You should definitely see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Head injuries can vary greatly in degree, and problems with your head and brain can sometimes present strange symptoms. Headaches are common after a car accident, and are not always serious. In rare circumstances though, headaches can be an indicator of internal injuries that may require x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to find. Additionally, some of the stranger symptoms of brain injury may include changes in mood or personality. So, if you or a loved one has been in a car accident and is complaining of headaches or suddenly acting strange, talk to a doctor.
Our Utah Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You With Your Case
If you have been in a car accident, but do not have injuries until days later, it may still be related to the car crash. After seeking medical care, if you find severe injuries, contact a Utah car accident attorney like Darwin Overson, who is currently taking cases involving car accident injuries. If you want to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Utah, call (801) 895-3143.