You are at a busy stop sign in a light rain. The roads are wet, but you have no difficulty controlling your vehicle. Another driver waves you through the intersection, but an unseen car t-bones you halfway through. You get knocked around a little but seem no worse for the wear. Your car even works! After exchanging information with the driver, you consider submitting your insurance claim right away to speed up the process and move on. Why even bother with a doctor?
Many injuries suffered in a car accident do not manifest right away. Inflammation can mask damage to joints and ligaments that, if left untreated, can lead to lasting damage and disability. Additionally, if you submit an insurance claim before identifying these problems, your carrier may deny you coverage. Understanding the hidden injuries of car accidents may help you secure the treatment you need.
The hidden injuries of car accidents
Many injuries sustained in a car accident do not show up immediately. Even though you may feel fine, you will want to ask your doctor to examine you for the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): TBI can impact your mental health, attitude and personality. A minor concussion can leave lasting trauma on brain tissue, which may not manifest for months. TBI causes anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, and memory loss.
- Whiplash injuries: During a sudden collision, your head and neck may snap around the cabin and cause “whiplash.” These neck and back injuries can impact motor function and chronic pain. Whiplash injuries can lead to a herniated disk, nerve damage and paralysis.
- Shoulder injuries: Though seatbelts save lives, they can cause damage to the upper body. Shoulder injuries are common in even minor accidents where the seat belt strap puts undue pressure on your shoulder. A torn ligament or damaged rotator cuff may require surgery to heal.
- Leg/knee injuries: The force of a collision often causes the legs of drivers and passengers to slam against the dashboard or steering wheel. This sudden impact can cause damage to your fragile kneecaps. Inflammation can mask more serious injuries that require invasive treatment.
Legal protections help secure medical care
The best way to secure medical attention is by submitting a comprehensive insurance claim after seeing both a doctor and a mechanic. If you still have questions about your claim, you can find answers with a local attorney familiar with Oregon’s motor vehicle laws.