When a person experiences a car accident, they may suffer many different kinds of injuries. Some injuries are obvious from the moment they occur, because the victim feels pain or may visibly see the injury. Other injuries are not obvious, and the victim may not realize they suffered an injury at all without a full body examination from a medical professional.
Delayed-onset injuries may not cause pain or produce other symptoms until hours or days after the accident. For this reason, it is always important for car accident victims to see their doctor or another qualified medical professional as soon as possible. The sooner that a doctor or medical professional identifies a delayed-onset injury, the better they can treat the injury and help the victim avoid necessary pain and costly recovery.
Are soft-tissue injuries harmful?
One of the most common delayed-onset injuries a car accident victim may receive is damage to soft tissues in their body. These injuries are commonly called whiplash, and many people assume that they are not truly harmful, or may not even believe that they are a "real" injury.
In reality, severe soft-tissue damage is excruciating for the victim, and can leave them practically paralyzed for days or weeks. When soft tissue damage occurs, the muscles seize up and stiffen, causing immense pain when the victim attempts to use the damaged muscles.
Soft-tissue damage in a victim's neck and back are good examples of soft-tissue injuries that may seem insignificant, but are life-altering to the victim. Depending on the extent of the damage to these muscles, a victim may experience extreme, immobilizing pain when they move their head, even slightly. They may also experience ongoing pain simply trying to hold their head upright.
If the damage extends to their back muscles, the victim may not be able move much of their body at all, and may require assistance to perform basic daily activities such as clothing themselves, bathing and eating. For many victims, performing their jobs is simply not possible.
Seek the care you need immediately
Soft-tissue injuries often do not cause victims pain until several hours after a car accident, or any other strong impact, such as in contact sports. In many cases, victims may not feel pain until they go to sleep and wake up. Once they wake up, they may suddenly find that they are in agony and can barely move, or may struggle to move a certain part of their body.
If you experience a car accident, it is important to receive a full-body medical examination immediately afterward, even if you do not think you suffered any injuries. A doctor may find delayed onset injuries like whiplash, reducing the harm these injuries can cause and potentially reducing the pain you feel during your recovery. If your accident occurred because of the actions or negligence of someone else, then it is wise to build a personal injury claim to pursue fair compensation for your losses and to ensure that your rights remain secure while you recover.