Up to 4.4 million people suffer serious car accident injuries that require medical attention. A significant percentage of these accident victims report late-appearing injuries that were initially not recorded or diagnosed after visiting a doctor. It’s normal to want to settle your claim after you have a good idea of what injuries you’ve sustained so you can move on.
Unfortunately, some injuries that stem from car accidents don’t always appear until a few days, weeks, or even months later. This can delay your recovery process and also mean more medical expenses that you didn’t expect. So what happens after you realize late-appearing injuries resulting from an accident? Here’s what you should know:
What are Late-Appearing Car Accident Injuries?
Before we answer that, seeing a doctor immediately after you note late-appearing injuries after an accident is crucial. You should also consult your car accident attorney to discuss the options you have regarding compensation. Late-appearing injuries often appear much later than your other injuries that resulted from a car accident.
In most car accidents, there are very noticeable injuries, such a whiplash, broken bones, dislocated joints, and bruises. With such injuries, you have to visit a doctor for treatment. However, late-appearing injuries may come up much later. The most common types include back complications, neck pain, spine injuries, head injuries, and soft-tissue injuries.
You may also experience concussions or visual and hearing problems. For instance, you may have had neck pain that went away with some medication and rest. After some weeks or months, you start experiencing discomfort, dizziness, pain, or stiffness when sitting or driving. These can be clear signs of late-appearing injuries after a car accident.
Psychological and mental problems can also develop over the weeks or months that follow after being involved in a car accident. While this type of suffering doesn’t leave visible signs, it is just as real as physical injuries. Car accidents can be extremely traumatic, causing psychological problems down the road. Coping with the trauma after an accident can be difficult.
Some of the late-appearing psychological issues you may experience long after a car accident include nightmares, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, obsessive-compulsive disorder, emotional outbursts, trouble focusing on tasks, and phobias related to driving. It’s vital to see a doctor if you’re experiencing psychological issues.
How to Handle Late-Appearing Injuries
Understanding liability is a crucial factor in learning how to handle late-appearing injuries. Have you signed a release of liability? If you’ve already done this, filing another claim is likely taken off the table. This usually happens if you’ve already received a settlement for your injuries and moved on with your life.
Signing a release of liability may not be wise if you’re unsure about the full extent of your physical and psychological injuries after an accident. It means that even if the other party is liable, the financial responsibility falls upon you, and the party is no longer liable. Get a medical evaluation to have a clear idea of the damages, and you’ll be able to confidently say there are no signs of further injuries or damages.
Dealing with late-appearing injuries can be traumatic, especially during or after the initial recovery process. Protecting your right to full compensation is critical in an injury case. Most states have statutes of limitations that define the time you have to pursue a claim for injuries. If you’ve not yet signed a release of liability and meet the time limits, you can still file a claim.
The best way to protect your right to fair compensation after a car accident is to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will ensure your case proceeds in a timely way by collecting evidence, including medical reports, to support your claim.