Thanks to endorphins and adrenaline, the immediate damage following a car accident isn’t always noticeable. When your body registers a possible near-death experience like a wreck, pain-masking hormones flood the brain and body. These could make you feel like you are fine, if a little shaken up, when in reality you have suffered severe injuries.
If you were in a car accident, considered yourself scratch-free, and later found that you had actually been hurt, it’s absolutely vital that you tread carefully. Certain mistakes could seriously impact your ability to be compensated for the expenses you incur from your injuries.
In the interest of empowering our Winston-Salem neighbors to make the best decisions for themselves, our experienced legal professionals at Lewis & Keller have provided this advice for handling car accident injuries that aren’t immediately noticeable.
See a Doctor
Even if you don’t appear to be injured after a car wreck, it is a good idea to be evaluated by a medical professional. Of course, if you do begin showing symptoms later on that were not apparent at first, seeing your doctor is a necessity.
There are several car accident injuries that commonly have delayed symptoms:
Soft-tissue injuries, including sprains, strains, and whiplash, can be very painful when the symptoms finally show, but they are usually treatable if addressed as soon as possible.
Organ damage or internal bleeding could occur, especially if your body is pushed against the seatbelt or experienced other blunt force trauma, and these can be life-threatening. The most common symptom is stomach pain, so if you experience severe abdominal pain in the days following an accident, seek medical help immediately.
During a wreck, nerve damage can occur in many ways. For example, if extreme pressure was put on your spine, compressing a nerve, or if you were cut by an unsecured object in the car, you may begin experiencing numbness and tingling in your back or extremities. This is a serious sign of nerve damage that could be severe and continue to get worse.
Some of the most common injuries people incur after a car accident are injuries to the back. These can also be injuries that have long-lasting, debilitating effects on your life. The sooner your injuries are treated, the better.
TBIs are also quite common after collisions, the most common and mild being concussions. Concussions can sometimes be quite severe though, and other TBIs can seriously damage your brain. Only a medical professional will be able to determine the true extent of a TBI.
While seeing a doctor is first and foremost for your health and safety, it can also serve you later when you file a claim to recover damages. Obtain copies of your medical records when possible to be used as evidence of your injuries and their connection to the accident.
Don’t Settle or Sign
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to not settle or sign anything from the insurance company until you know the extent of your injuries and have spoken with your lawyer. The insurance company may try to lowball you or get you to sign away your rights. An experienced car accident lawyer from Lewis & Keller will know how to handle the insurance company and get you the compensation you deserve.
Take Legal Action
While the statute of limitations on car accident claims in North Carolina is typically three years, every case is different and you may have less time than that to file. In rare cases, the “discovery rule” may apply which takes into account the length of time that someone was reasonably unaware of their injuries or the connection of their injuries to the accident. However, this is difficult to prove and you should not rely on this extension.
In order to be sure that you get the compensation you are legally entitled to, the best practice is to contact us as soon as you learn about your injuries.
If you need help with your claim or have any other legal questions, call the champions for every client — your Winston-Salem car accident lawyers at Lewis & Keller. Our cost-free consultation will help you determine your next steps and pursue compensation for your injuries. We want your case to be brought to justice!