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You might assume an injury from a car accident would be immediately apparent and have symptoms you notice right away. While this could certainly be the case, some injuries result in delayed pain that victims do not notice until hours after the collision. Even a catastrophic injury, such as trauma to the brain, can have delayed symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Learn how to protect your rights if you experience delayed pain after a car accident in California.
Delayed pain after a car accident can occur for many different reasons. The first is the amount of adrenaline coursing through the average victim’s veins after a motor vehicle crash. Adrenaline has pain-masking qualities that can make it more difficult for a victim to recognize pain, discomfort, numbness or tingling. The second is the type of injury. Some injuries naturally take longer to present pain and other symptoms, such as a slow bleed in the brain that does not cause immediate symptoms. Several common car accident injuries may have delayed pain.
The possibility of delayed pain is why it is important to see a doctor immediately after a car accident even if you feel uninjured. Your brain may be blocking or ignoring pain signals to try to keep you safe under stress. Common delayed symptoms include headaches, dizziness, neck stiffness, back pain, numbness and abdominal pain. While you may not register the pain from a car accident injury right away, a doctor can use tests and evaluations to diagnose you. A prompt injury diagnosis can lead to a better prognosis for recovery, especially with a catastrophic injury.
You can still file a claim if you experience delayed pain hours or even days after an auto accident in California. The longer you wait, however, the more difficult it will be to obtain benefits from an auto insurance company. The insurance company may use the delayed diagnosis against you, such as to argue that the injury was pre-existing or came from something other than the car accident. The insurance company may also have a deadline for filing new car accident claims, which you might have missed if you did not notice your pain right away. You may need an Orange County car accident attorney to help you with your case.
A lawyer can help you prove your injury and its connection with the car accident despite a delayed diagnosis. Your lawyer can use medical documents, x-rays, diagnostic reports, and medical experts to establish your injury type and severity. Then, your lawyer can take steps to connect your personal injury with the car accident, such as providing evidence in the form of eyewitness statements, expert testimony and medical documentation. Hiring a car accident lawyer can improve your odds of obtaining fair compensation for an injury that was not diagnosed on the day of the auto accident. You can take certain steps on your own, however, to also strengthen your case.
Never tell a police officer at the scene of a car accident that you feel fine or do not have any injuries. You may have injuries with delayed pain. Tell the police officer you wish to see a doctor before answering questions about injuries. Apply the same rule to conversations with insurance companies and their claims adjusters. Do not assume you are uninjured until you have seen a doctor for a checkup. Go to a hospital immediately after any type of car accident in California to check for hidden injuries. Then, contact a car accident attorney for assistance with the claims process.