Most people are often associated car accidents with immediate physical damage and potential sequel that could appear over time. However, we rarely consider other injuries and illnesses, some of which could be pre-existing and worsened by the accident, or even the emotional and psychological trauma that may appear. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 3 million people in the US are injured every year in car accidents.
Although victims of accidents may suffer serious injuries, may not feel symptoms immediately. This happens in part because of the rush of adrenaline and shock that pass as their bodies discover what is going on.
Another reason they may not notice an injury for a while is because soft tissues can swell long after trauma occurs. Pain in a part of the body can also go unnoticed when the most intense pain focuses on other places.
This phenomenon can also be applied to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which develops in people who have experienced a shocking, terrifying or dangerous event. For example, the mental or emotional consequences of a car accident do not always appear immediately.
Next, let’s go deeper into some of the most surprising diseases and injuries car accidents can cause, directly or otherwise. We will also talk about what to do if you suffer from any of them.
During a car accident, your pelvis and abdominal area are at significant risk because the bumpers of the vehicle, safety belts, steering wheel and airbags line up with their mid section by design.
Sometimes internal organ injuries in this region do not appear right after a car accident. However, if you feel pain or swelling (with or without pain), you may have internal injuries.
Sometimes the damage is so severe that organs bleed, which can cause dizziness, fainting, and even death. It is therefore essential to seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- Abdominal pain
- abdominal stiffness
If you suffer a blow to the head resulting from a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. It is almost impossible to diagnose a head injury accurately based on initial symptoms alone, even if you know how hard your head hit.
While you can expect a temporary headache after an accident (usually derived from stress), it may also mean that you have a head or neck injury or blood clot.
These conditions often cause long-term health problems, but may even cause death. So, if you suspect brain damage, talk to your doctor about how to get a cranial tomography (CT) and MRI to examine the brain and evaluate the damage. Symptoms of common cranial lesion sequel include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- The feeling of pressure in the head
- Slurred speech
- Ring in the ears
- Changes in personality
- Amount or tingling in any area of the head
- Balance or coordination problems
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Work breathing
- Loss of feeling or movement in extremities
Back and spine pain
In an accident, nerves, muscles, spinal cord, ligaments and back vertebrae may be injured. Therefore, some back pains after an accident are not rare, but be careful with the specific back and spinal pain that extends to other parts of the body.
- Burning sensation
- Number and muscle weakness
- Neck pain
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of bladder or intestinal control
- Digestive problems
- Difficulty breathing
Wide bread pain may also be related to the injury of the robe and swelling in the neck. In contrast, other injuries to the neck and back can cause a slight numbness in the arms, legs, hands and feet.
A herniated disk, for example, is a widespread collision-related injury that is less severe than a spine or neck injury. However, it can cause severe pain in the arms or legs and numbness.
The equipment in emergency rooms may not detect specific back injuries, even if it has stiffness or pain. If you experience irregular symptoms, you may want to consider seeing an orthopedic or looking for another specialized medical treatment.
Chest and rib injuries
Sometimes when you feel chest pain after a collision, you may have a severe injury, even if the pain is mild or less.
Pay special attention if the pain gets worse when you press or lie in the injured area. You should also notice any acute pain in the injured area of the chest, or pain that gets worse when breathing or coughing.
While safety belts certainly save lives, they can also cause injuries during the impact of a car accident, including abrasions, bruises, sternon fractures and internal injuries.
Always get a professional medical review after an accident to look for broken ribs or bruises, chest muscle tension, a broken breast or a broken diaphragm. This will also help detect unseen lesions such as broken cartilage or internal bleeding.
Leg and knee injuries
After a road collision, the damage to the previous crucicidal ligature (LAC) and the subsequent collateral lesion (PCL) are the most common knee lesions, characterized by swelling and clicking on the knee area. A broken ligament on the knee is a severe and often permanently debilitating injury.
A broken tibia is another typical result of a collision, more commonly one that takes place at the head. However, this injury can also occur in other circumstances, such as rear-guard collisions and side or frontal impacts. The only way to properly evaluate your leg or knee injury is to get diagnoses such as x-rays or magnetic resonance. This will tell you what kind of damage has taken place.
Foot and ankle injuries
Foot injuries are common in car accidents. When most people think about car accidents and significant money settlements, they usually imagine spinal cord injuries and permanent brain damage. However, an injured foot or ankle can also be debilitating, because it steals its mobility.
Common symptoms of foot trauma may vary from mild to severe. These include:
- Torn tendons, ligaments and muscles
- Broken bones
Secondary complications could include infection. Other injuries, such as fractures and broken bones, may also lead to chronic conditions such as arthritis, which may require medication and treatment throughout life.
Look for medical care if you have pain or pain that increases with the activity and decreases with rest, or if you notice inflammation, bruises, deformities in the area, and difficulty walking or loading weight.
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among car accident victims. Signs of this condition include increased anxiety and associated symptoms such as rapid breathing and panic. In addition, emotional problems and recovery periods of the accident can also occur.
Suppose you may have PTSD after an accident. In that case, it is better to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, as this condition may affect everyday life outside driving. After a car accident, mental problems can take up to a month to manifest and can last many years.
Here are some of the common symptoms of mental health deterioration after a car accident:
- High voltage levels
- Mood changes
- Inability to enjoy favorite activities
- Withdrawal of social activities
- Development of new phobias
- Sleep disturbed by nightmares or insomnia
Sometimes changes in behavior, emotions and physical abilities can indicate a traumatic brain injury and be confused with PTSD.
These symptoms do not always appear immediately after a car accident. However, suppose that you or your loved one notice one or more of these changes. In that case, it is vital to consult a health professional, as the stress caused by car accidents can influence seemingly unrelated things, like heart attacks.
Preexisting injuries Worsed by car accidents
In addition to recent injuries sustained in an automotive accident, victims may also experience worsened symptoms of existing injuries or conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, arthritis, spinal injuries or brain trauma from an earlier incident.
After a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation if someone else is at least partially responsible for your injuries. A judge would normally give damage to offset the financial costs and emotional distress he experiences. So if an existing or chronic injury was worsened in a car accident, it could be able to collect damage to help relieve the problem.
Note that insurance companies usually go to large extensions to minimize the amount of money they receive. A common tactic is to identify the pre-existing medical condition of the accident victim and use it as a basis for denying or discarding a benefit claim.
However, it should not be penalized for having a pre-existing condition. If your accident has worsened your situation, you are often entitled to compensation. However, sometimes getting the compensation it deserves can be a challenge.
A pre-existing condition is any health problem before your transit accident. A car accident may not make some pre-existing conditions worse, such as diabetes or cancer. Others, however, could become a more serious problem if you are involved in a collision. Among the pre-existing conditions that a traffic accident may aggravate are:
- Back injuries, including herniated disks, disco degenerative disease and muscle strains
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Note that a pre-existing condition does not have to be physical. It may also include intangible diseases such as PTSD, depression or anxiety. In addition, trauma caused by an accident can cause old injuries that reappear.
When a person has sequelae due to a car accident, the stabilization time can vary enormously. For example, an injured person with mild sequel (pain, dizziness, neck pain, temporary vertigo) can make a complete recovery in less than two months.
However, an injured person with severe sequel (cereza, hearing loss, severe impairment of brain function) could take up to one year or more if they recover at all.
So even if you were involved in a minor accident, look for medical attention, especially if you feel different than usual in the hours and days after the accident. It is also smart to seek legal advice if you suspect you can fight to get the compensation you have the right of your insurance company.
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