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After a car accident, you may experience significant soreness. Many car accident victims, even those who did not suffer a serious injury, may notice some lingering pain the next day. They may have some bruising, especially around the location of their seatbelts at the time of the accident. Sometimes, however, soreness may turn into something else.
How long should you feel sore after a car accident? Just as importantly, when should you contact your doctor about lingering symptoms or other problems you may experience? Read on for more information.
Pain provides valuable signals and information from your body. Pain tells you: “something went wrong” or “you need to pay attention to this.” During a car accident, your body experiences major trauma, You may tense up as you brace for impact, especially if you saw the accident coming. The accident may have tossed you around the car or left you with other minor injuries.
Sometimes, soreness from a car accident may linger for a matter of days. You may have relatively minor injuries and quickly go back to normal. Other times, however, soreness can linger for up to six weeks.
Soreness after a car accident could indicate several things, including:
Ideally, you should visit an emergency room or urgent care center after any serious car accident for a full evaluation of your symptoms. Often, you will not show symptoms of a serious injury until well after the initial accident. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury, serious contusions, internal bleeding, and even broken bones may not seem obvious immediately after the accident, especially if coursing adrenaline makes you feel fine.
In some cases, however, you may choose not to go to the emergency room. You may want to avoid expensive medical bills, or you may hope to go on with your day as normal despite the accident.
Then you start to notice symptoms creeping in.
Do you need to see a doctor? Make sure you visit the doctor promptly any time you face these symptoms.
Your pain should feel most severe within a few days after the accident. While you may expect some pain in the weeks following your accident, you should see pain steadily resolving, rather than getting worse. If you notice sharp pain or pain that increases unexpectedly, see a doctor promptly.
You may want to sleep more than usual in the days immediately following your accident, especially if you have serious injuries or your doctor prescribes pain medication that makes you drowsy. If you notice yourself sleeping substantially more than usual, unable to stay awake, or that others have trouble waking you, you may want to visit your doctor to make sure that you do not have more serious injuries than you initially thought.
If you struggle to sleep at all following your accident, you may also want to see your doctor. Sleep disturbances could indicate traumatic brain injury.
You may feel a little nauseous or unsteady as adrenaline fades immediately after the accident. If your symptoms worsen, or you find yourself vomiting at all, you should go to an emergency room for evaluation. You may have a head injury, internal bleeding, or serious injuries that you did not recognize at the time of the accident.
Immediately after your accident, you may expect some minor pain that interferes with your ability to go on with business as usual. You may feel some minor pain and trauma related to the accident, which you can usually overcome. Soreness may get better as you move around or work to improve your strength and flexibility following the accident.
Persistent, ongoing pain, however, may not get better.
You may put weight on your foot only to discover a sharp, shooting pain in your ankle or knee that prevents you from bearing weight on that limb. Despite repeated attempts to move past the pain or continue the activity, you may still find yourself struggling. Likewise, you may experience lower back pain that gets worse throughout the day, although you spend most of the day sitting behind your desk. You may have trouble getting up and moving around or notice pain steadily worsening despite your best efforts to control it.
If you notice pain steadily getting worse, rather than improving, you may have an injury that requires treatment. The longer you wait to deal with the potential impacts of that injury, the more your injury could worsen. Addressing that injury with your doctor as soon as possible can make it easier for you to receive the treatment you need.
If you walked away from your car accident without seeking medical treatment, you may have a traumatic brain injury and not know it. Any time you lose consciousness during a car accident, you should receive an evaluation from a medical professional to rule out traumatic brain injury and ensure that you receive prompt treatment. Unfortunately, sometimes, you may not recognize symptoms of traumatic brain injury until considerably after your accident.
Pay attention to problems with short-term memory, focus, and concentration. You may, for example, find yourself struggling to remember how to complete tasks that you usually complete with ease, or checking the same drawer repeatedly while searching the kitchen for an item. Sometimes, you may even find yourself searching for an item in the entirely wrong location.
If you find your short-term memory deteriorating or you have ongoing problems with normal activities, you may need to see your doctor to rule out a traumatic brain injury. Not only can a doctor diagnose and treat your injuries, but also working with an occupational therapist can help you cope with those losses and give you a better idea of what to expect moving forward.
Unexpected blood could indicate serious organ trauma, which you need to have dealt with by a medical professional as soon as possible.
You may have minor headaches in the days immediately after your accident due to muscle stiffness, especially if you regularly have tension headaches anyway. If you have severe, ongoing headaches, however, especially if you notice those headaches getting worse instead of resolving, you may need to see your doctor to rule out a traumatic brain injury.
Hearing and vision problems may indicate traumatic brain injury or other very serious injuries related to your accident. Any time you notice a sharp decrease in your hearing or vision following an accident, you should see your doctor to rule out more serious injuries. Do not wait to see a doctor if you notice a decline in hearing or vision, because it could worsen over time.
Organ trauma could result in difficulty urinating or passing a bowel movement. See your doctor any time you have trouble in the bathroom after a car accident, including difficulty urinating.
If you start experiencing any severe or unexplained symptoms, you should always consult your doctor to rule out serious medical difficulties. Your doctor can let you know whether you need to take any further action or receive treatment for your injuries.
You should always see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. You may need ambulance transport from the accident scene, especially if you have serious, obvious injuries. You may choose to visit the hospital emergency room or to go to an urgent care clinic. Some people, however, choose not to visit the doctor immediately. What happens next?
Adrenaline from your accident can hide the immediate effects of your injuries. You may not fully feel the pain of your accident immediately, or you may not notice the source of the pain immediately. Unfortunately, this can cause you to miss out on immediate treatment for even serious injuries.
Sometimes, your injuries can worsen due to lack of treatment. For example, walking on a broken bone in your leg can cause you to worsen the damage over time, leading to more serious injury. In addition to worsening the break, you may cause torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles as you wait. Other serious injuries can also worsen without adequate treatment.
As you file your car accident claim to receive compensation for your medical bills and expenses associated with your accident, you may need to prove when your injuries occurred—that the party that caused your accident also caused your injuries. If you walked away from the scene of the accident, you may find yourself struggling to prove that you suffered those injuries in your car accident.
Going to the emergency room or an urgent care center immediately after your accident can provide a much-needed record of exactly when your injuries took place, which may make it easier for you to seek compensation through a car accident claim later.
Injuries do not just disappear if you ignore them. Rather, they will get worse. If they do heal, they may heal wrong, leaving you with additional complications later. If you wait to seek treatment, you may have to go through additional treatments. You may have to spend more time out of work, or you may miss more time in your favorite occupations. Not only that, but also you may have more expensive medical bills or longer-term problems with your injuries.
Any time you suffer injuries after a car accident, including delayed injuries that do not present immediately, contact an attorney. An attorney can provide you with a full assessment of your legal rights following an accident and give you a better idea of what to expect as you file a car accident claim. Your attorney will guide you through the complex legal process and protect your right to compensation.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, Ca 92101
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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