After recovering from the shock of a car accident, most people check to see if they suffered any injuries, or if anyone else in their vehicle suffered harm. Often, these injuries are obvious, such as abrasions, broken bones, or more serious harm to the body, causing blood loss or other visually obvious signs of injury.
However, many injuries, including some that may threaten the life of the victim do not present visual signs or cause pain, even though they are quite serious.
After any car accident, it is important to undergo a professional medical examination, even if you don't think that you suffered any harm. A trained physician can use a number of diagnostic tests to identify injuries you might not feel until after they cause serious damage, some of which may last indefinitely. You should certainly prioritize taking care of yourself after any car accident by seeking out such medical care, even if you think it is necessary. Doing so just may save you from months of agonizing recovery, or may even save your life.
Seek immediate care for abdominal pain
If you suffer an injury in your back or neck, or suffer a blow to the head, you may suffer serious but probably not life-threatening injuries. However, if you receive injuries in your abdomen, you may not feel any pain until after suffering serious, potentially deadly harm.
Both internal bleeding and organ damage may cause delayed abdominal pain after a car accident. Internal bleeding is particularly dangerous because a very small injury site can grow into a large concern if it develops an infection. The site of internal bleeding can act as an on-ramp for the infection to travel through your circulatory system to all parts of the body, spreading the infection to your brain and internal organs, which is a grizzly and painful way to die.
Similarly, organ damage does not cause pain in some cases, while the body works to repair the damage. However, unless the damage is very slight, the organ will probably fail eventually, at which time you will suffer immense, debilitating pain. Once one organ fails, all the other organs in your body will eventually shut down unless you receive timely emergency care, and even with them, nothing is guaranteed.
Neck, back and head injuries
Other delayed pain injuries commonly occur in the neck and back, or may result from a blow to the head. Soft tissue damage to the back and neck, commonly called whiplash, may not cause pain until after you go to sleep following the accident, only to paralyze you when you wake up.
Likewise, if you suffer some damage to your spinal column, it may result in pinched or severed nerves, which may not cause discomfort or pain at first, but soon can cause numbness in your arms and legs, or some other sensation such as tingling or even sharp and radiating pain.
A blow to the head may result in a brain injury, but mild brain injuries sometimes take days or weeks to express symptoms, at which time you may not associate the symptoms with the injury and face difficulty handling sudden changes in your cognitive function or ability to communicate with others.
Regardless of how you choose to resolve your accident, take great care to use the tools and services you have available to protect your rights and priorities after any car accident, for your sake and for the sake of those who depend on you.