If you have come out of a car accident “scratchless,” you may not feel the need to visit a doctor. If you do not find any visible injuries, lacerations or blood, you may think everything is alright. However, this may not always be the case.

Internal injuries, such as whiplash, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, or battered organs, can result from even minor vehicle accidents. Without medical attention, these internal injuries can be exacerbated and end up getting much worse.

1. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) / Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

Because of the speed and force involved in car accidents and even those accidents at low speed car accidents are frequent causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI). People involved in car accidents often suffer TBI/MTBIs without even knowing it and sometimes without even hitting their head on anything in the vehicle. The force involved in whiplash is enough to cause a mTBI.  

Many people suffer mBTIs without ever losing consciousness, although loss of consciousness at the scene of the collision is a big indicator of a TBI. Changes in mood, appetite, energy level, sense of smell, vision (blurring or double vision), nausea, and memory issues are all signs of a brain injury. If you have been involved in a car accident and are experiencing some or all of those issues, it is important to let your doctor know so that you can get the testing and treatment to determine whether or not you suffered a brain injury.

2. Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. The main reason why many crash victims do not take this seriously is that the effects do not show up until days or even weeks after the accident.

Whiplash happens when a person’s neck is pushed forward by force and then suddenly snapped back to its original position. This grueling experience puts considerable strain on the spine, which can lead to headaches, neck and back pain, nerve issues in the arm and hands, and tinnitus. If you suspect you have suffered a whiplash injury, see your doctor for an appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment.

3. Injuries to the back and neck

The impact of a car crash can have devastating results on a person’s back and neck. Moreover, these injuries commonly result in fractures, sprains, spinal injuries, and disc injuries. What feels like soreness from the impact of the crash can develop into a serious injury and permanent if left as is. If you suspect you have suffered and injury to your neck and back, discuss your symptoms with your doctor for necessary diagnostic testing and recommend reasonable treatment.

4. Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries are difficult to determine since they cannot be seen with the naked eye, and sometimes they don’t clearly show up on X-Rays or MRIs, but that does not mean that they are not painful and potentially chronic. Sometimes it takes days or even weeks for soft tissue injuries to become apparent.  

Do not be deceived by an insurance company calling your injuries “just soft tissue injuries.” Our bodies are made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues that help us move and are extremely painful if injured. Because ligaments, tendons, and muscles responsible for movement, they can cause immense pain if they are damaged or chronically inflamed..

Just because an insurance adjuster claims you “only suffered soft tissue injuries” doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer a serious injury. If you are experiencing pain, issues with range of motion, or other disability after a car accident, make sure to discuss your options with a healthcare professional.

Insurance requires immediate medical care

By waiting too long to see your doctor after a car accident, you may jeopardize your opportunity to receive proper coverage for your vehicle. This is because the validity of your legal claim could be significantly affected by delays in your medical treatment.

Apart from that, failing to seek medical attention immediately gives the other party leverage where they can argue that the injury is fake, because it was not serious enough to act on straight away, or that something else happened in between the time of the car accident and the treatment, like a fall or some other injury. This can make your claim trickier to win, or create lengthy, drawn out processes that cause additional hassel.

The adrenaline effect

One of the main reasons victims of car accidents do not think they require medical attention is because of adrenaline, also referred to as epinephrine. This is the hormone that fuels our body’s fight-or-flight response, but after a car accident, it may sometimes deceive you into believing you are not injured.

Because of this, you might initially feel ok. However, the adrenaline often wears off the next day, leaving the victim to feel the full impact of the injury. Even if all you get is a minor headache, you need to get it checked out, because a car accident can cause a lot more damage than you might initially think.

Headaches, body aches or any other kind of pain-related symptoms are never that easy to self-diagnose. The headache that you may have had for three days after your car accident could be due to stress or an underlying injury you’ve not yet had diagnosed.

Bottom line

If you are worried about your medical bills, then remember that this is where health insurance comes in handy. Your insurance may even help reimburse the cost of your copay or deductible. Additionally, in South Dakota, almost all automobile insurance policies have Medical Payments Coverage, which is no-fault coverage that will pay some of your medical bills if you are in a collision. 

Medical Payments Coverage is usually $2,000, $5,000, or sometimes $10,000 of coverage and will pay for medical expenses related to a collision until it is gone. Moreover, if the other driver’s insurance company provides you with a settlement, you can potentially negotiate to have your medical bills included in the settlement.

If you cannot negotiate with the other insurance company, or the other driver does not have any insurance or denies responsibility for the accident, then your next approach is to get in touch with a personal injury accident attorney. This attorney can find out what happened, prove your case, seek damages for the medical bills as well as other costs that you may have incurred because of the accident. 

We can help. Book an appointment with one of our qualified advisers today and discover your options.