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Car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries to people who are involved in them, and in fact, more than 2 million people are injured in crashes every year. Vehicle occupants may experience broken bones, lacerations and an array of other medical complications. However, there are some silent injuries, like soft tissue injury, that tend to receive much less attention than other more dramatic medical diagnoses.
After you've been involved in a car accident, you may experience shock — and then a "fight or flight" instinct. It's not uncommon for people to just want to leave the scene of an accident after exchanging insurance information with other drivers. However, the faster you leave and the longer you wait before seeking medical attention, the more likely it is that you will be on your own when it comes to taking financial responsibility for your injury. The slight twinge you feel during an accident could eventually transform into a long-term injury that affects your daily life. This is why seeking both legal and immediate medical attention is often advised.
There are two common reasons for sustaining strains and sprains during an automobile accident. The first is that a particular part of your body may experience inflammation due to impact. Swelling up with fluid is your body's way of trying to heal. Unfortunately, this swelling can irritate surrounding nerves, which often causes physical pain. Another common reason for sprains and strains is the body's response to an impending accident. As a human being, whenever you hear screeching tires or see a car about to hit you in close proximity, it is the natural response to tense up. As people brace for an eventual impact, they can actually injure their upper back, their shoulders and even their arms.
Many times, when people are rear-ended or side-swiped, the driver who caused the accident may attempt to brush it off and point out that the vehicle has not sustained much damage. Some may even attempt to leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information. If you are the one who has been hit, however, it is your right — and your responsibility to yourself — to collect the pertinent data and protect your health. Just as your car may have sustained damages that are not immediately evident in the aftermath of an accident, your body may also be impacted in ways that lurk beneath the surface.
Just because the term does not sound particularly serious does not mean that whiplash should ever be taken lightly. With a percentage of drivers and passengers involved in whiplash accidents enduring cognitive issues as a result of the impact, these incidents can be very serious. Although a soft tissue injury will sometimes resolve itself within six to eight weeks after an accident, it is impossible to tell whether or not yours will — unless you have the damage assessed by a professional. Just as you have someone assess your vehicle after a collision to recommend the appropriate course of action, you should also consult with a physician to look after your health.
TMJ, Cognitive Issues
There are a whole host of potential health issues that can be triggered by a car accident. An accident may cause people to tense up their jaw, leading to issues like temporomandibular joint disorders. Sharp twinges of pain in your back and/or neck could also accompany the healing process. As you address your physical issues due to an accident, remember to keep copious notes and to make sure that all of your medical records related to an accident are organized so that you can reference them at a moment's notice.
When you injure the outside of your body, it is easy to see the healing process taking place right before your very eyes. You will see the laceration begin to scab up and resolve itself. If the cut is deep enough, a scar will result. However, many people are not aware that the soft tissue also heals in this manner. When improper scarring occurs with the soft tissue, a person may experience even more trauma as an indirect result of an accident. This is the kind of issue that can cause physical problems for years to come, and this is why it is imperative to have medical professionals examine your injuries after an accident. When there is the potential for your body to heal improperly and trigger physical ailments for years to come, it is essential to have your injuries properly documented and addressed.
Once you are involved in an accident, swelling and other complications often take days to make themselves known. Even if someone hits you at just 5 miles per hour, studies have shown that there can be health consequences. The human body simply was not designed to absorb the level of shock and extreme impacts that are caused by car accidents. Seeking medical attention after a car accident is often the best course of action, regardless of how minor the accident may seem at first.
If you've experienced a soft tissue injury as the result of a car accident, you may find yourself facing expensive medical costs for both immediate and long-term care, like physical therapy. You may also have to miss work, which can result in a loss of earnings. If another party was responsible for causing the crash resulting in the injury, they could be held liable for damages. Filing a personal injury suit, or seeking a settlement, could provide the necessary relief to get you back on your feet.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified auto accident lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local auto accident attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.