Being involved in a car accident is an unexpected, stressful event that often leaves people unaware that they have incurred certain injuries. Whether more significant physical trauma has masked less noticeable harm or the numbing shock of the event has covered signs and symptoms, the effects of some damage may appear hours or days later.
One of the most common problems after a collision that shows delayed symptoms is whiplash. Caused by the sudden jerking forward and backward motion of the neck and head at the moment of impact, pain and stiffness from the condition may not appear right away. Its discomfort usually results from sprains and strain to the ligaments and muscles of the neck, but X-ray or CT imaging should be performed when pain is present in order to rule out fracture or other serious damage.
Other conditions that may not display signs until well after the accident include back pain, numbness and tingling caused by ruptured discs and other spinal injuries, abdominal swelling from slow internal bleeding and headaches. Head trauma can exhibit delayed symptoms such as personality changes, impaired cognition and depression. In addition, post-traumatic stress disorder can cause serious symptoms such as sleep disturbances, decreased productivity in the workplace and strained relationships.
People who have suffered physical injuries in automobile accidents caused by the negligence of another driver may be able to seek compensation in order to cover their medical expenses and other losses. A personal injury lawyer may be able to offer assistance to victims by either negotiating with the driver's insurance company in an effort to agree on a settlement or by filing a lawsuit on the injured person's behalf.