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Were you in a car accident? Be aware of delayed injury symptoms

If you were conscious immediately following the initial impact of a car accident, you might have felt numb or "out of it" for a few minutes or more. In fact, the emotional trauma often associated with Illinois motor vehicle collisions can be just as difficult to overcome as any physical injuries. If you suffered both physical and emotional injuries, your recovery may be especially challenging.

There are numerous injuries that may not be immediately apparent following a collision. You may be one of many accident victims who thought they felt well enough to go home once things had settled down and police, plus medical care providers, said you were free to go. In the days and weeks beyond the accident date, however, if one or more symptoms arise, it may be a sign that you need immediate medical attention. Medical, mental health and other sources of support are key factors to strong recoveries.

Be on the watch for delayed symptoms

During recovery from a car accident, you are bound to have some days that are better than others. Perhaps you're having trouble sleeping because images of the crash keep replaying themselves in your mind. You may also experience physical discomfort, including one or more issues in the following list:

  • You'll want to have any type of headache after a car accident checked out by a licensed physician, as head pain, whether it occurs on the day of the accident or a couple weeks later, is often symptomatic of a brain injury.
  • It is not uncommon to feel a bit stiff or sore if your body banged up against your dashboard or the side of your car upon impact. However, if you have trouble turning your neck or any neck or shoulder pain, you might have whiplash.
  • If you were in a rear-end collision and travel speed was less than 14 miles per hour, neck and shoulder pain definitely warrant medical diagnosis because these conditions often coincide with whiplash injuries.
  • In rear collisions as well as T-bone or side collisions, lower back injuries are quite common. In the days and weeks following a car accident, you are wise to seek medical attention for any back discomfort you experience.
  • If your abdomen hurts or appears swollen, it warrants and immediate trip to the hospital because these symptoms are often signs of internal bleeding.
  • Mood swings may also be part of delayed injury symptoms. If you experience a personality change, confusion, cognitive impairment or intense bouts of highly charged emotion, there might be an underlying cause related to your accident, including the possibility of traumatic brain injury.

Many Illinois accident victims suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. If you're having trouble functioning on a daily basis, are tormented by nightmares or memories of the crash, or find that random situations cause you to feel panicked or afraid, it might be helpful to speak with a licensed counselor. You should also mention to your doctor that you are experiencing these symptoms. 

Financial recovery

Medical care, physical therapy, counseling and other post-accident support can cause undue financial burden on you that you might not be prepared to meet. There is no reason you should have to foot the bill if another driver's negligence or reckless actions caused your injuries. That is why Illinois law allows accident victims to file personal injury claims, seeking financial recovery for their losses in court.

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