Car accidents are unpleasant at the best of times, even if they are minor. Serious accidents can be one of the most terrible and traumatic experiences you’ll ever have, but it’s actually simpler for a personal injury suit because the injuries tend to be more apparent. In a minor accident, the injuries can arise later, which can be problematic if you’ve already settled, thinking that you’re fine. Here is what to do to make sure your legal rights are protected.
Car Accidents Lead to the Release of Adrenaline and Endorphins
What do endorphins and adrenaline have to do with a car accident and your personal injury lawsuit? Well, they are the reason many people do not realize they have been injured in a car accident right away. Adrenaline and endorphins are practically a cocktail that super-charge the body, allowing us to carry on without noticing the injury for hours. It’s what happens to athletes who are injured in the middle of a game—they often continue playing without realizing the harm they have done to themselves because the adrenaline is blocking the pain signals to their brain. It is only once they calm down and relax that they notice they’ve been injured, which is exactly what can happen when you are involved in a car accident.
Types of Injuries that can Occur Even in Minor Car Accidents
A car accident generates a lot of force, even if it’s only a fender-bender. Thus, when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop, the driver and the passengers also come to a sudden stop and can be thrown around a bit as well, which can place a lot of stress on joints, ligaments and other areas of the body. Such injuries are categorized as soft-tissue injuries in that they affect every part of the body other than bones. Whiplash is probably the most common injury in minor car accidents. This is a type of injury where the neck muscles are affected due to the head being thrown forwards and backwards. The result of a soft-tissue injury is generally swelling, pain, and impaired mobility. Unfortunately, these symptoms can take a while to show up. In fact, it can take as long as a few weeks for the effects to become apparent and since soft-tissue injuries are not visible in x-rays, it is quite difficult to diagnose them early on. Another common injury is a concussion. Concussions can be extremely serious but the symptoms can also take a while to become apparent, such as difficulty concentrating, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, and more. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to see your doctor immediately.
Get Checked out by a Doctor
After being involved in a car accident, you should see a doctor right away. It doesn’t matter if you feel fine because you have no idea what injuries you might have sustained that will manifest later. Your doctor will not only be able to determine the extent of your injuries but can also give you advice on monitoring your condition to identify if you do have any injuries that are not immediately apparent. Remember, the longer you wait to see your doctor, the more the other party can argue that you could not have been all that hurt if you did not seek medical attention right away.
Do not Agree on a Settlement Immediately
You do not want to settle right away after a car accident, even though that is what the other driver’s insurance company will want. The insurer might offer you an amount of money to entice you to agree to their terms right away so they avoid any problems down the line. So, to obtain what you are owed, make sure you wait to settle until your doctor has completely evaluated your condition and given you the all-clear. Ideally, give it a few weeks to make sure that you are perfectly healthy because once you’ve signed the release, you cannot go back and ask for more money to pay your medical bills or any other medical issues that may crop up because of this accident. Do not sign any paper work with the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney!
At Makarem & Associates, our attorneys know personal injury cases just like you know your own job. Let us know how we can be of service to you. Our advice is backed by years of experience and we are willing to fight with you until the end. So, send us an email at [email protected] or call us at 310.312.0299.