Not every accident appears to be serious at first glance. If you were rear-ended on a city street, you may be able to walk away from the accident feeling fine. But even accidents involving slow speeds and minor vehicle damage can leave lasting impacts.
After an accident, not all injuries may become apparent right away. Some injuries may take days – or even weeks – to present symptoms. If you’ve already reached a settlement with the insurance company by the time you detect these injuries, you’ll be out of luck.
Injuries that can show up later on
There are many serious injuries that may not become noticeable until well after the accident. These include:
- Nerve damage: Bodily trauma can result in harm to your nerves. This type of injury will get increasingly severe over time, and you may not notice it at all initially.
- Brain injury: If you bumped your head in a car crash, there’s a chance you’ve sustained injury to your brain. Symptoms of a concussion or hematoma are not always immediately obvious. Left untreated, however, such injuries become difficult to recover from.
- Neck injury: In almost any car accident, your head is thrown forcefully in one direction. This often results in whiplash. Following the accident, you may notice you have a sore neck – but it may be days until the full symptoms of whiplash present. If you’ve already settled with the insurance company by then, it will be too late to receive compensation for your damages – which could include disability and high medical bills.
- Internal injury: Being propelled forward in an accident means that you’ll come into contact with the car or seatbelt with considerable force. This can cause damage to your internal organs. Symptoms of internal bleeding – such as abdominal bruising, pain or bloody stool/vomit – may not show up for a few days.
- Mental consequences: Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic. You may experience crippling anxiety, sleeplessness or even post-traumatic stress disorder. You may not notice these symptoms right away – or it may take you a while to determine the cause of your symptoms. If you’re experiencing emotional anguish following a car accident, you deserve compensation to help you seek treatment.
Protecting your rights
You may feel fine – or only slightly injured – following a car accident. Nonetheless, it can still pay to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney, rather than settling directly with the insurance adjuster. Settling too quickly with the insurance company will prevent you from seeking compensation for injuries and other damages that manifest later on.
In addition, it’s important to understand that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company – not independently. They therefore work to settle claims in the company’s best interest, not in yours. Their goal is to save the insurance company money, by giving you the lowest settlement possible.
If you’re involved in an accident, first report the accident to the police and seek medical attention. Then, before you sign anything from the insurance company, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. They can help you fully assess your damages – even those you may not think of or notice yet. They’ll fight to get you the full compensation you deserve and allow you the peace of mind to heal.