If you have ever been in a motor vehicle accident, you know that even a minor accident injury can prevent you from participating in work and family life for much longer than you anticipate. Car accidents account for an astounding amount of injuries annually. Between 20 to 50 million people worldwide are injured in car accidents each year. Whether you are a passenger or a driver, simply setting foot into a vehicle is dangerous.

But what about hidden injuries after a car accident? While cuts, scrapes, and broken bones are almost immediately apparent, many other injuries are not as obvious. Some injuries—like a traumatic brain injury—can lie hidden for weeks or even years. In that case, it is important to understand all of your rights after a car accident. In this article, the O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC team will explore what to expect after a car accident and how to look out for hidden injuries. We will also explain your rights if you are the victim of a hidden injury after an automobile accident. 

What Is a Hidden Injury?

In short, a hidden injury after a car accident is an injury that is not immediately apparent at the scene of the accident or shortly thereafter. Sometimes you may not feel pain after a vehicle accident, but that does not mean you have not been hurt. You may be in shock or have received an injury that will develop over time. Regardless of how minor or serious your crash was, you should always consult a doctor following an accident to ensure that you are not suffering from any hidden injuries. Untreated breaks, wounds, and bodily damage can lead to serious and costly health issues in the future. Depending on the circumstances, you might also be prevented from suing the party that caused the accident if you wait too long to be examined and pursue litigation.

What Are Some Common Hidden Injuries After a Car Accident?

Whiplash Injury

If you were rear-ended by another car or were the victim of a bicycle or pedestrian accident,  whiplash is a common injury. Whiplash occurs when a person is hit from behind, causing their head and neck to snap backward and forwards. While whiplash does not typically cause bone damage, the ligaments, muscles, and other soft tissues in your neck can be seriously damaged by the force placed on your neck. The most typical symptoms of whiplash include severe headaches and head and neck discomfort. 

Whiplash is one of the most common hidden injuries after a car accident. The symptoms do not usually manifest immediately after an accident and can take days to weeks to develop. If you experience head and neck pain in the days or weeks after your crash, first seek medical attention and then contact an experienced car accident lawyer.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Whiplash is not the only hidden head and neck injury after a car accident. If your head whips around during an accident, your brain can get shaken inside your skull. In severe cases, that impact on the brain can leave lasting damage and cause long-term issues with brain function. Called “traumatic brain injuries” or TBIs, these hidden injuries after a car accident are as frightening as they are insidious. 

Months or even years after the accident, the victim or their family may notice a drastic personality or cognitive change as one of the first symptoms of TBI. If you suffered a concussion, were knocked unconscious, or developed severe headaches after your car accident, you should watch carefully for the signs of TBI. Be sure to seek a neurological consult if you continue to have symptoms. A knowledgeable car accident injury lawyer can help you navigate the medical system and find ways to seek compensation for your injuries.

Shoulder Injury

While airbags and seat belts save millions of lives each year, they can cause shoulder and chest injuries when they restrain your body during a motor vehicle crash. Your seat belt should properly tighten upon impact. However, this can also cause a shoulder injury to the soft tissue and cartilage of the shoulder in extreme circumstances. The extent of these injuries is rarely apparent at the scene of an accident, and it can take weeks or even years to understand the impact of the injury. You may also receive severe burns on your shoulders, face, and chest from airbag deployment. These burns might need to be treated immediately and can obscure any internal shoulder injury you suffered. Your shoulder is a complicated structure. If you are in pain after a car accident, contact your doctor and speak with a member of the O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC team.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Emotional Injury

Car accidents change lives in an instant. The anxiety and emotional trauma that follow a car accident should be treated with the same care and concern as physical injuries. PTSD is common in car crash victims. While accident victims may appear completely fine in the immediate aftermath of the incident, PTSD often takes some time to appear. However, any kind of mental health issue after a car accident should not be taken lightly. And similarly to the physical injuries that we discussed above, mental health issues may not present themselves until well after the incident takes place. 

How O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC Can Help

At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC, our award-winning attorneys understand the importance of helping you recover physically, financially, and emotionally after a car accident. We can help you understand your options, possibly including financial compensation. We are zealous advocates for our clients—both at the negotiating table and in the courtroom—and are not afraid of going to trial when needed. Contact the attorneys of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC, today to discuss auto injury claims and potential negotiations. It is important to contact an attorney early to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call (908) 928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817.

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