The steps that someone takes immediately after a crash can have a direct impact on their future legal options. As such, it’s important to understand what to do to safeguard one’s interests as soon as a crash occurs.
Most people know that they need to check themselves and others for signs of injury and communicate about the accident with local authorities. When someone calls to report a crash, the people working for emergency services will usually inquire about the medical condition of the parties involved in the wreck. Unfortunately, it is quite common for those involved in a collision to mistakenly assume that they are unhurt when they may actually be at risk of one of the three invisible injuries listed below.
A stable fracture or spinal cord injury
The blunt force trauma of a collision can break bones and pinch or tear someone’s spinal cord. People expect that a fracture will be very obvious and that they will lose the ability to exit a vehicle or move their body if they suffer a spinal cord injury. However, if the injury is stable, someone might be able to continue moving and using the affected body parts until a secondary trauma worsens the initial injury. Fractures and spinal cord injuries may present a day or even several days after a crash when someone exercises or moves rapidly.
Traumatic brain injuries
There are many ways that someone could potentially hurt their head during a car crash, and mild or moderate traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may require several days before there are obvious symptoms. Additionally, the adrenal response that people have to a car crash can mask pain and other warning signs that they may have injured their brains during the crash. Anyone who hits their head or loses consciousness during a collision may be at elevated risk for a TBI.
Safety restraints can sometimes cause injury when they prevent people from flying out of a vehicle during a crash. Seat belts can cause trauma to the chest and abdomen, and so can airbags in some cases. Internal bleeding may continue for days before someone realizes the extent of their injuries and seeks medical treatment.
For many people involved in motor vehicle crashes, especially those that cause significant property damage or occur at higher speeds, seeing a doctor after the collision to evaluate someone for these invisible injuries can be a very wise choice. Obtaining a prompt diagnosis can improve someone’s prognosis and make it easier for them to seek compensation after a car crash.