When a car collides with another object, be it at a stationary object or another car, the laws of physics take over. Depending on the speed of your vehicle or any other vehicles involved in the incident, there’s going to be some damage. Many times, the damage is going include bodily damage to you and or your passengers.
Your first course of action when involved in an auto accident is to assess the condition of all persons involved in the accident. The next step is to call 911 and request emergency help in the form of law enforcement and paramedics. Then it’s just a matter of staying calm until the authorities arrive to investigate the situation.
If someone has injuries, including yourself, you would certainly be aware of the more obvious issues. That would include cuts and broken bones. With that said, some injuries aren’t so readily apparent in the moments following the accident. It’s even possible paramedics could miss something if the injury is under the surface.
The following information is going to focus on six hidden auto accident injuries you need to be wary of after the dust has cleared from the accident. If you or your passengers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, this may be the time you might want to contemplate how wearing a seat belt may mitigate some or all of the injuries incurred. With that in mind, the discussion will then focus on how not wearing a seat belt might affect any compensation due to you from an insurance company or another party.
Here are six hidden injuries you for which you need to be on the lookout.
For obvious reasons, internal injuries would be the hardest to detect. It would be a mistake for you to see bruising in the chest or stomach areas and assume it’s just bruising. The bruising could be a sign that enough force was applied to your body to penetrate the surface and do damage to body organs like the stomach, lungs, spleen or kidneys, etc.
After the accident, it is possible internal injuries will not be immediately apparent. In the days/weeks following an auto accident, you need to take serious any discomfort to your body that might occur. If it’s an organ injury, it won’t be long before you start experiencing pain and discomfort in the applicable region of your body.
2. Rupture or Herniated Discs in the Neck or Back
Back and neck injuries have a knack for appearing over some time. It’s possible that you could herniate or rupture a disc in your neck or back without realizing for days or weeks. Then all of a sudden, you start experiencing sharp nerve pain while handling ordinary tasks like pumping gas into your car. In such cases, your first instinct would be to think you simply moved improperly while handling that task. The reality is you likely incurred the disc injury during the auto accident.
If you injured your shoulder or shoulders during an auto accident, you might expect to feel pain in the shoulder blade (if wearing your seat belt), ball-socket joints or muscles. Strained ligaments or tendons in the ball socket joints should be your top concern because such injuries are slow to rise to the surface.
Leg and knee injuries manifest themselves in much the same way as shoulder injuries would. You should pay extra attention to any discomfort you might experience in your knees. Remember, your legs are going to brace and absorb the impact of a collision faster than any other part of your body.
Brain injuries can take weeks and sometimes months to be diagnosed. In the weeks following the accident, you need to take note of coordination problems, increasing occurrence of headaches (possible concussion), dizziness, slurred speech, forgetfulness and an increase in your volatility. These are all signs you might have sustained a brain injury during the accident. If you bumped your head at any point during the accident, this should be your top concern.
Auto accidents would certainly fall into the category of a traumatic event. If you start experiencing psychological issues that weren’t apparent before the accident, you might be suffering from PTSD. Signs to look for are issues with anxiety, depression, nightmares and a sudden fear of being in a car.
How Not Wearing a Seat Belt Could Affect Possible Compensation
To be clear, it’s reasonable to believe that some injuries could be lessened or even avoided if you were wearing a seat belt. This is not something that’s going to be ignored by your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company if that driver was at fault.
While laws may vary from state to state, the law is very clear: all occupants must wear a seat belt while the car is in operation. These laws are in place because studies continue to show that seat belts save lives and lessen the possibility of injury.
As the driver of your car, you are responsible for the personal welfare of yourself and the other passengers while in the car. It’s your responsibility to buckle up and make sure everyone else does the same. Aside from the increased possibility of injuries during an auto accident, there are other consequences to which you would be exposing yourself.
First, you could be ticketed and fined for not wearing a safety belt or requiring your passengers to do the same. Second, not wearing seat belts could affect the amount of compensation you would get from the insurance company under the personal injury clause. Remember, insurance companies will take advantage of any opportunity to lessen the company’s financial exposure. When assessing the extent of your claim, they will take into account the presence or lack thereof a seat belt being worn when the accident occurred. In some states, this could result in a significant decrease in your compensation.
If you encounter issues with the insurance company and compensation, you should immediately contact an attorney to help you get all the compensation you deserve.