After a Las Vegas car accident, it may not be apparent you have sustained serious injuries. However, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Traumatic brain injury and whiplash are two types of injuries that may not show symptoms immediately after the accident – and could even take a few days to show up. The force of the injury could cause unseen damage, and the longer that damage is allowed to go untreated, the longer your recovery could take.
This is why it is important to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident, even if the accident was at low speed. It is a common misconception that you need to be involved in a high-speed accident to sustain injury. Even if you do not have scratches or bruises, the low speeds and force of whipping your body around could lead to serious injuries.
Seeking medical attention could save your life, but it will also help establish a case in the event you need to seek compensation for treatments and damages later on.
Common Injuries After Being Involved in a Car Accident
Nearly every person involved in a car accident will sustain some sort of injury, even if the accident is minor. The most common resulting injury is bruising, but more serious accidents can result in major injuries. The neck, back, ankles, wrists, hands, and feet are the most commonly injured areas of the body. More serious car accident injuries will typically involve pain, lack of feeling, swelling, or reduced mobility in these areas.
Any number of injuries can occur after a car accident, including:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Cuts or lacerations
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bruising (including bruised bones)
- Herniated discs (a spinal injury)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Dislocated shoulders and other joints
Symptoms of Serious Injury After a Car Accident
There are many ways a car accident injury can manifest itself. Depending on the severity and type of injury, the symptoms can vary. Some common signs of a serious car accident injury are:
- Pain that does not go away or gets worse
- Swelling or soreness to the touch
- Discomfort or sharp pains in the back, chest, or waist
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Persistent headaches or migraines
- Stiffness or difficulty walking, twisting, or moving in general
- Losing consciousness
- Having trouble remembering things
- Major bruising or bleeding
- Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too long
Symptoms of Serious Injury Can be Delayed in Some Cases
Sometimes injuries are obvious: things like broken bones, bruises, and cuts are usually immediately apparent because they can be seen or felt. However, some injuries can be hard to notice and can grow more urgent as time passes. Therefore, it is important to be examined right away whether or not you feel you have not been seriously injured, or whether you think you’ve been injured at all. Only a doctor can determine your health status for certain.
Sometimes injuries are difficult to notice initially because your body will experience a rush of adrenaline following the accident. This can prevent you from feeling pain or discomfort. Other times, injuries are not felt until they have become so severe that they manifest noticeable symptoms. Whiplash and traumatic brain injury often go unnoticed for days or weeks without a medical examination.
Understanding Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue is what muscles, ligaments, and tendons are made of. When these tissues are damaged, bruising, swelling, and other conditions can develop. Sometimes these injuries are noticeable right away, but oftentimes they can be felt more over time. Some examples of soft tissue injuries include:
- Inflammation of the joints
- Stress fractures or tears
- Strains and sprains
- “Tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow”
Acute soft tissue injuries are very often seen in car accidents because they are caused by trauma. Going without treatment for these types of injuries can seriously hinder daily activity due to pain and reduced mobility. Often, what may seem like a minor injury can be a prelude to a more serious problem.
Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury is any injury that affects how the brain works. This can result in a variety of symptoms depending on what part of the brain is injured or affected and can affect anything from motor function to mood or related nerve issues.
You do not have to strike your head to suffer from a traumatic brain injury, which is why it is important to seek medical attention after an accident. Any sudden jolt can cause a TBI, as can shattered glass or other materials that can pass through or damage brain tissue. All it takes is enough force for your brain to collide with your skull to cause injury – including bruising or bleeding inside the brain.
The more time that passes, the worse the condition may get. Ignoring the signs of TBI or having it go untreated can mean permanent or long-term damage. Recovery for TBI can take weeks or years depending on whether the injury is mild, moderate, or severe. It becomes more difficult to treat brain injuries the older a person is, but catching the injury early increases recovery likelihood and can speed recovery time.
After an accident, be on the lookout for the common symptoms of brain injuries, including:
- Loss of consciousness
- Light sensitivities
- Difficulties with memory or concentration
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or vertigo spells
- Numbness in other extremities (when paired with other symptoms above)
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately. Your doctor will need to conduct an MRI scan of the brain to see if there is any underlying damage.
Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
Because the adolescent brain is still developing, TBI can have different symptoms. It can be hard for younger children to communicate that something is wrong, so it is important to look out for these signs:
- Changes in nursing habits
- Sudden, unusual, or easy irritability
- Changes in attention span, or difficulty concentrating
- Severe sadness or depression
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Persistent and inconsolable crying
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
A sudden, rapid movement of the head and neck can cause what is known as whiplash. This movement stretches the tendons in the neck further than they are normally capable of and typically causes stiffness, soreness, and other long-term conditions.
While whiplash may go away on its own, it can also evolve into more serious conditions that can cause chronic neck pain and other issues. Never assume that whiplash will go away on its own because it can be difficult to tell how serious it is without a thorough examination.
Whiplash injuries are often not apparent until a few hours to a few days after the accident. The pain, however, can be debilitating for some and even leave you unable to work or function. It is important that you keep an eye out for the common symptoms of whiplash and if you notice them, seek medical attention right away. Some common symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
- Chronic headaches
- Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- Pain or numbness in the arm, hands, or neck
- Pain in the shoulders
- Lower back pain
- Difficulty with memory or concentration
What to Do When You See a Doctor
If you do see a doctor, make sure you inform them that your injuries occurred in an auto accident so that they can be noted in your medical records. This will also help your doctor look for injuries that are common in accidents so that they can better target your treatments. It will also help your attorney if you decide to pursue legal action.
Be specific when describing your symptoms as well – such as where the pain is, when it started, and how it feels – so that your doctor can better identify the issue.
Recoverable Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
If a claim is pursued against an at-fault driver, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages to help make recovering from your injuries easier. Recoverable damages for your injury can include:
- Medical bills (including physical therapy)
- Loss of ability to work
- Property damage
- Income lost while injured
- Loss of quality of life
- Disfigurement and disability
- Mental and emotional suffering
It is difficult to calculate exactly how much can be recovered as each claim is considered on a case-by-case basis. Non-economic damages like emotional suffering are intangible which means they can be difficult to put a dollar amount on. A lawyer can help develop a defense in court that can recover the maximum amount possible.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
The statute of limitations is the amount of time someone has to file a claim before their lawsuit is deemed invalid. Car accident injuries fall under the realm of personal injury claims, which have a statute of two years from the time the injuries are first made apparent.
The statute can change if, say, the injuries do not develop until much later on. However, avoiding going to the doctor for a diagnosis following a crash will not only invalidate your legal claim but will also likely result in more serious medical problems.
Filing a personal injury claim can be tricky due to circumstances such as these, but a personal injury attorney from our firm can walk you through the process from start to finish.
Speak With an Attorney From De Castroverde Law Group
After you have sought medical treatment, speak with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney right away. An attorney can help you pursue compensation for your injuries, but also for other damages that you may not be aware of – such as lost wages or pain and suffering. Contact De Castroverde Law Group for a consultation today after your accident. Schedule your appointment at 702-222-9999 or fill out an online contact form for more information.