Picture this very common scenario. You, your spouse, your teenager, and your toddler are buckled in and sitting at a red-light mere blocks from your home. Suddenly and without warning, the car behind you impacts the rear of your vehicle. You turn to your family to ensure their safety before popping out of your car to meet your negligent neighbor. With adrenaline pumping, you inspect the vehicles, take down the other driver’s information, and part ways knowing you will deal with insurance that evening. That evening you start to feel some mild soreness in your neck and back. You’re no longer able to sit comfortably. And, worst of all, you barely sleep a wink that night.
In addition to the hassle of a car accident, many times – especially in low speed situations – your adrenaline and shock can mask immediate symptoms at the scene of the incident. For those of us who have endured a motor vehicle collision, we know first hand just how out-of-hand symptoms can get over the next week or two. In some cases, injured parties try to tough it out, hoping that the symptoms will just resolve over time. While in some situations, a day or two of rest can help, in most others these delayed symptoms will only worsen over time especially without proper medical care.
After an auto accident, here are a few symptoms you might develop in the hours or days afterwards.
First – neck and shoulder pain. These types of pain are generally referred to as Whiplash and are the classic symptom endured after a motor vehicle collision. A 1998 study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation established that whiplash symptoms can develop in collisions as slow as 2.49 MPH. Moreover, a study called Minor Crashes and ‘Whiplash’ in the United States from the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine concluded at nearly 75% of participants sought medical care within five-days of their auto accident.
Second – headaches. While headaches may be a sign of a concussion, most of the time, headaches after a motor vehicle collision may be attributed to your neck. The suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull are responsible for subtle movements in your neck. Trauma to these muscles can lead to significant headaches that can takes weeks (or months to resolve) completely.
Third – low back pain. According to the Back and Neck Pain Center, low back pain can be found in more than half of rear-end collisions. While perhaps not as common as its neck and shoulder counterpart, low back pain can be a significant hurdle for your daily life.
Fourth – numbness. Your spine is made up of gelatinous discs, bony vertebrae, and nerves. The forces of trauma during a motor vehicle collision can manipulate these components. Many times after a collision, your disc will herniate and break free from its typical spot to impinge on nerves in your spine. This may happen right away, or the process might only start during a collision. This impingement leads to numbness – a serious condition that should be examined by a qualified medical provider.
Fifth – PTSD. Physical symptoms are not the only trauma endured during a motor vehicle accident. Especially in high speed collisions or collisions involving pedestrians, the onset of depression and anxiety after a collision is expected. Many injured parties will fear driving or being near vehicles for quite some time. Don’t neglect your mental health. Seek mental health counseling if you develop symptoms consistent with PTSD after a collision.
Insurance companies tend to downplay the physical and mental effects that can plague drivers after even a small motor vehicle accident. They will lie and manipulate the facts and law to save money on your claim. Knowing your rights can be half the battle and knowing that your symptoms are reasonable will give you an edge up while dealing with insurance adjusters. Having an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney on your side can improve your odds of a favorable outcome. The Law Offices of Magnuson Lowell PS are dedicated to providing you the care and support you need after a motor vehicle crash.
Call today for a free consultation (425)885-7500.