After a car crash, the first step you should take is evaluate the medical needs of the driver and any passengers. Often, this involves taking both self-assessments and assessments completed by medical personnel either on the scene or later at a medical care facility.
Although some injuries may be immediately apparent, such as soft tissue injuries or broken bones, others may not present themselves for days, weeks, or longer. These types of injuries are considered late appearing, but are no less important to a personal injury case. However, they can sometimes be challenging to prove without the help of documentation and a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.
Common Late Appearing Car Crash Injuries
Victims of car crashes can sustain any number of late appearing physical, emotional, and psychological injuries. Below are some that are more frequently reported than others.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a psychological condition caused by an intense event. After a car collision occurs, an individual with PTSD may have trouble sleeping, experience personality changes, have trouble concentrating, find it difficult to work, avoid traveling in motor vehicles, become moody, and exhibit a myriad of other symptoms.
- TBI: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a top concern among people who have been involved in a car accident. TBIs result from damage to the brain tissue. Concussions are the leading type of TBI among crash survivors and can have both short-term and long-term effects including memory problems, concentration issues, mood swings, personality changes, depression, and comprehension difficulty, among others.
- Neck and shoulder pain: Immediately after an accident, a victim might feel completely normal. However, days later, the same person may seek medical treatment for pain in the neck, shoulders, and surrounding areas. It is not unusual for this type of late appearing pain to be intense. Its cause can be anything from short-term muscular strains or tears, to issues involving the spine and vertebrae.
- Abdominal pain: Again, not all post-crash pain occurs instantly. Many people complain of stomach problems after being in collisions. Some causes of abdominal pain can include internal bruising, internal bleeding, and broken ribs.
Of course, any unusual post-trauma symptoms require immediate medical care. Otherwise, the injuries could worsen or even become life-threatening.
Proving Late-Appearing Accident Injuries
In any personal injury lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. Therefore, a car accident victim with late appearing injuries can expect to work with his or her legal team to indicate the relationship between any injuries and the car crash. Depending on how long after the incident the injuries presented themselves, this can be challenging. Yet, there are a few ways that victims can help smooth the process of filing a legal claim.
- Seek immediate medical attention at the first sign of difficulty. Many individuals try to push through late appearing injuries, hoping they will go away. This is not the best idea, because the longer someone waits to call a physician, set up physical therapy, or visit an urgent care clinic or emergency room facility, the harder it will be to prove correlation. Remember, it is important to seek medical attention early or problems can worsen. Certainly, the cost of paying for medical visits can be a factor, but your health should always override financial concerns.
- Collect and keep documentation of every post-injury medical experience. From obtaining doctor’s reports to keeping all invoices, victims of car crashes should be diligent about obtaining as much documentation as they can. If a case requires expert testimony, documentation and records will be invaluable. At the same time, collision victims may also want to keep a personal diary as a supplemental way to prove cause and effect.
- Work with a personal attorney injury sooner rather than later. The sooner a victim is represented by a law office with expertise in helping accident victims with late appearing injuries, the easier it may be to reach a fair and equitable settlement. It is much more difficult to try to reconstruct months or years of late-onset injuries than to document them as they present themselves. Having an attorney-client relationship early in the process can also lessen a victim’s stress level by taking the burden off of the individual.
Call Our Arizona Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt in any type of vehicle collision in Arizona, seek medical care and note any injuries that present themselves after the crash. Set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys at Petersen Johnson by calling (602) 663-9572. Our legal professionals welcome the chance to discuss your case.