Each year in the United States, an average of 3 million people are injured in an accident while driving or riding in a car.

While that number is shocking by itself, what might be even more surprising is that not all of them realize they’re injured. Some car accident injuries remain hidden until days or weeks after the incident. Knowing how to identify them early gives you a better shot at recovery and a higher chance of winning compensation in court.

To learn about four potential injuries after a car accident that aren’t always obvious on the scene, keep reading.

1. Whiplash

When you’re in an auto accident, the sudden impact often causes your head to jerk violently forward and back or side-to-side. This results in a condition commonly known as whiplash.

Whiplash symptoms often appear a few hours or days after the accident. They include:

  • Pain in the neck, base of the skull, and/or forehead
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness or knotting in the neck and shoulder muscles

Whiplash is most often treated with massage, e-stim, and physical therapy. If you think you have whiplash, get examined by a doctor to rule out any chance of injury to your cervical spine.

2. Internal Bleeding or Organ Damage

Blunt force trauma in a car crash can easily injure the delicate organs and blood vessels inside your torso. Unfortunately, since you don’t have to break the skin to do serious organ damage, these injuries aren’t always obvious.

If you notice extensive swelling, bruising, or severe pain in and around your abdomen, go to the emergency room right away. These are signs of potentially fatal internal bleeding and potential organ rupture. You might also feel faint and dizzy or go into shock from loss of blood.

3. Brain Damage

Have you noticed mood swings, persistent headaches, or trouble concentrating since your accident? If so, pay close attention, as these are signs of possible brain damage or cranial swelling. Other symptoms can include:

  • Vision or hearing changes
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired thinking
  • Sudden onset or worsening of mental illness
  • Loss of coordination or difficulty moving

Brain injuries following a car accident can range from mild concussions to severe and permanent TBIs.

4. Spinal Injuries

Though spinal injuries may seem like something you’d notice right away, the adrenaline spike you feel right after being in an accident can mask the pain. Back pain from a spinal injury can wait days or weeks to show up after an accident, as can numbness, tingling, or weakness in your limbs. You could be suffering from a herniated disc, spinal nerve damage, or even a vertebral fracture.

What to Do If You Notice These Injuries After a Car Accident

The first thing you should do if you’re injured in a car accident is to seek professional medical treatment. Once you have official documentation of your injuries, bring them to a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf in a civil or criminal case, helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Pay Close Attention to Your Health After a Car Crash

If you think you’ve sustained any of these hidden injuries after a car accident, don’t ignore them. Seek help from an experienced car accident physician and hire an attorney to represent your case.

Looking for more health and legal advice? Make sure to read through the other articles on our site.

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