Once the immediate shock of a car accident fades, there is often rush of relief when a person discovers that neither they nor someone they love got seriously injured. During those few moments before the police arrive, a driver may be overwhelmed by questions over how bad the damage is, what exactly happened, who took what action, and whether they were at all at fault for the damage that has occurred. It is at this moment that a driver should be extremely cautious in what they say and do as they may affect the outcome of an investigation into how much liability the at-fault party has for damages to others.
Latent Injuries: Only Time Can Tell
It may feel natural to speak to the occupants of the other car in the minutes after an accident occurs and make sure they are safe as well. It is at this point that victims of a car accident should be cautious as to any statement that they make about any injuries to them or their loved ones. Just because there are no immediately visible physical injuries does not mean that there are not latent injuries or injuries that do not show symptoms until days or even weeks after an accident. In reality, some of the most common car crash injuries do not show any immediate physical signs of trauma.
Some of the leading car accident injuries involve damage to the brain from head trauma. Even if there is no sign of physical trauma, depending on the severity of the impact, a person may suffer a closed head injury. Examples of these include mild to severe concussions or even a traumatic brain injury that may have significant treatment costs down the road.
Other latent traumas that are common in car accidents are neck and back injuries because of whiplash or muscle sprains. It is common for symptoms of these injuries to be masked by the body, as a muscle tear may only show up after examination by a doctor. Symptoms such as muscle soreness, dull aches, or even sporadic sharp pains may begin to show themselves days or weeks later, because these types of injuries worsen over time. A key to determining whether a person is suffering from a latent injury is to ask whether the pain occurred before the accident. If not, then the new pain may link to the effects of the impact.
Because you may not know the extent of any injuries in the time immediately following a car accident, it is best to refrain from making any statements or signing a hastily agreed upon waiver with the settlement. Even saying something out of gratitude like “thank goodness we are all okay” may be used to prevent you from receiving the care you need later on, once latent injuries have had time to show themselves. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, and you have any questions about receiving treatment for these types of injuries, do not hesitate to call Thompson Law Firm, PLLC. One phone call can make all the difference when it comes to obtaining the care you need to make a full recovery from someone else’s mistake.