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It Can Be Days Before You Feel Your Injuries

It Can Be Days Before You Feel Your Injuries

Car accidents are traumatic, even when they are low-speed and low-impact. They happen suddenly, they’re usually over in a matter of seconds, and from a physiological perspective, they are “exciting” but not in the fun sense.

If you played sports in high school, you may have been hurt while playing a game but continued playing anyway. Often, an athlete will get injured but they’ll keep playing without noticing their injury until the game is over. This is because our bodies are great at creating adrenaline and endorphins, which block pain and supercharge our bodies in situations that are actually or seemingly dangerous.

Adrenaline and endorphins come in handy when we’re running out of a burning building, or when someone is threatening to hurt us, or when we’re being chased by an angry guard dog, or running from a bear or mountain lion in the mountains. But after a car accident, our bodies can be so flooded with adrenaline that we don’t realize we’re hurt from hour or sometimes days after a car crash.

Car Accidents & Soft Tissue Injuries

There are broken bones and then there are soft tissue injuries, which refer to injuries to other parts of the body that do not involve broken bones. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Car accidents, including low-impact crashes deal with a lot of force, which the human body is not equipped to handle easily. A car accident often means that drivers and passengers come to a sudden stop, or they’re thrown about the vehicle, or even ejected out of a window. These sudden, high velocity events place a lot of stress on the soft tissues in the body, and they almost always lead to soft tissue injuries.

One of the most common soft tissue injuries is whiplash, which occurs when the neck and head are suddenly thrown backward and then forward and back again. Soft tissue injuries lead to pain, inflammation, and reduced swelling; however, they don’t always show up immediately after a crash.

Why the delayed onset of symptoms? Because, the adrenaline that the body makes in a car crash can mask pain for hours or even days. When the adrenaline wears off, the pain starts to set in. Because of this natural delay, it’s extremely important that accident victims always see a doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible after an accident. Ideally, within 24 hours. If they wait too long, it can hurt their claim.

If you end up filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, it’s critical that you are able to document that you sought medical treatment following the crash and that you did it shortly after the accident. If you delay, the insurance adjuster will argue that you couldn’t have been that hurt. And they’ll use that premise to reduce or deny your claim.

Related: Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident?


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