What If My Car Accident Injuries Appear Late?
Many car accident victims do not show signs of injury right away. The shock of a crash causes the body to release stress hormones that can mask pain as the individual focuses on dealing with the immediate crisis. However, there could be hidden injuries that don’t cause problems until later.
So, what happens if injuries appear late? The truth is that many common auto accident injuries have a delayed onset. Examples include concussions, whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and back injuries. Symptoms might not show up until hours, days, or even weeks after a wreck.
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t look favorably upon claims involving delayed pain after a car accident. Adjusters may argue that the injuries weren’t caused by the wreck. Alternatively, they might say that the victim wasn’t seriously injured because he or she didn’t seek medical help right away. Although these challenges can complicate a claim for compensation, they aren’t a valid excuse for denying injured people the money they deserve.
Did your car accident injury show up later? Bence Law Firm LLC assists clients who suffer injuries in all kinds of motor vehicle crashes, including delayed pain. Phenix City car accident attorney David Bence can help you fight for compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more.
Don’t let the insurance company convince you to settle for less than what you’re owed. Call our law firm today for a free consultation.
Types of Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident
Any type of car accident comes as a surprise — even when there is time to see an oncoming collision. The body’s natural response is to produce adrenaline and epinephrine, also called the “fight or flight response.” This puts the body in a heightened state of awareness to handle the situation but also dulls sensitivity to pain until the danger has passed.
Common examples of delayed-onset injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): The mildest form of TBI is a concussion, but even more catastrophic injuries take time to develop as bleeding or swelling on the brain worsens.
- Whiplash: Contrary to what many people believe, a severe whiplash injury can have long-term consequences, resulting in nerve damage, scarring, headaches, and chronic pain.
- Back and spinal injuries: Neck and back pain, numbness, or tingling in the extremities could indicate injuries to discs, vertebrae, or the spinal cord.
- Broken bones: Fractures don’t always immobilize the victim immediately. An aching pain, bruising, swelling, and/or warmness around the site of injury could indicate a broken bone, not just a simple muscle sprain or strain.
- Internal injuries or internal bleeding: Internal bleeding is potentially deadly and can impact vital organs including the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Because delayed pain can be a sign of potentially fatal car accident injuries, you should always see a doctor right after a crash, even if you feel fine.
What to Say to an Insurance Adjuster After a Delayed Injury
After any auto accident, you should never accept a settlement offer from the insurance company right until you’ve spoken to an experienced car accident lawyer. Here’s why:
- You don’t know the full extent of the injury. It’s tempting to accept a settlement just to get the insurance company off your back, but early offers are always lower than what you deserve. Adjusters have been known to make offers while victims are still in their hospital beds, long before they have any idea whether there will be complications or lifelong damage.
- The adjuster will try to push the blame onto you. In Alabama, your right to collect compensation can be completely wiped out if you are shown to be even one percent responsible for the car accident that injured you. One of the key ways that insurance companies work to limit payouts is by using tactics to get you to “admit” some sort of fault for the wreck. A proven car accident lawyer will fight to prevent you from being unfairly blamed.
Keep in mind that you are not required to give a recorded statement or release medical records to an insurance adjuster right after a crash. Here’s what to say to an adjuster instead:
- “I was in a car accident.” Stick to the facts. Tell them when and where the accident happened. Don’t speculate about who was at fault. Do not tell them that you were/were not injured.
- “You can talk to my attorney for additional information.” Once you hire a car accident lawyer, he or she can handle all communication with the insurance company for you. That way, you won’t be at risk of saying something that negatively affects your case. Have your lawyer’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address handy.
Ideally, you should contact a lawyer before speaking to the insurance company at all. Check your insurance policy carefully. There is likely a deadline to report that a crash occurred. It’s important to meet that deadline. That way, if you experience delayed injuries after a car accident, you won’t be denied the opportunity for compensation based on something as simple as a failure to notify the insurer in a timely way.
What If I Told the Insurance Company That I Wasn’t Hurt?
If you filed a car accident claim with the insurance company before you began to suffer pain or other symptoms, you can still update your claim to seek compensation for your delayed injuries. You should expect that the insurer will look at your delayed-injury claim critically. It may even be denied if an adjuster determines that there isn’t sufficient proof to establish that the injuries were caused by the crash and that the other driver was at fault.
How to Prove Your Delayed Injury Was Accident-Related
See a doctor as soon as you begin to experience pain: After a car accident, seeing a doctor immediately is the best thing to do. But if you didn’t, make sure to consult one as soon as you begin showing symptoms. Getting prompt treatment will show the insurance company that you took your injuries seriously. It will also get the fact that you were in a car accident into your medical record. The foundation of your delayed injury claim will be built around your medical history, so it’s important for your diagnoses and the connection to the car accident to be linked.
- Your own account: It’s a good idea to keep a journal of your memories of the car accident starting on the day of the crash. As the days go on, take note of any pain that begins to emerge.
- Expert testimony: Medical experts or experts in the field of human biomechanics can explain how the forces and impacts that occurred in your accident caused the injuries you now complain of.
The best way to determine the type of evidence needed to build a compelling claim for compensation for a delayed pain injury is to consult with a skilled car accident lawyer.
How Can Bence Law Firm Help Me With My Delayed Injury?
When you have delayed symptoms from injuries you’ve suffered in a car accident, Bence Law Firm LLC can help you fight to get the financial compensation you that need and deserve. We will:
- Meet with you in a free and confidential consultation
- File claims with the insurance company on your behalf, or help you update claims to seek compensation for delayed injuries
- Determine what evidence is needed to build the strongest claim possible
- Work with experts, as needed, to show how your accident occurred and who was at fault
- Develop a strong defense to any challenges the insurance company makes
- Effectively negotiate with the insurance company to pursue fair and full compensation through a settlement
- Prepare to take your claim to trial if necessary
The vast majority of car accident cases resolve in settlements with the insurance company. Rest assured that Bence Law Firm LLC always pushes for a resolution out of court first. However, we won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit if that’s what it takes to get the compensation you’re owed.
Contact a Phenix City Car Accident Lawyer Now
Need compensation for delayed pain after a car accident in Phenix City? Get experience on your side by contacting Bence Law Firm LLC today. All initial consultations are free, and there’s no fee unless we obtain compensation for you.