Checking for injuries should always be the first priority after a car accident, even before you search “find a car accident lawyer near me.” Unfortunately, not all injuries are immediately apparent. Individuals who don’t go to the hospital risk discovering hidden injuries later. So, what are hidden injuries and how can they affect your accident claim in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, or Austin?
What Are Hidden Injuries After a Car Accident?
Hidden injuries are injuries that you do not feel right after the crash because your adrenaline is masking them. Car accidents have the potential to cause serious harm, and only a medical professional is qualified to say whether or not you need treatment. While hidden injuries are not obvious at first, they can lead to chronic conditions in the days, weeks, and years that follow.
What Are the Risks of Refusing to Go to the Hospital?
Many people decide not to go to the hospital unless they feel injured. They may think it is a waste of their time, or they might worry about putting a doctor to work unnecessarily. In truth, it is always necessary to go to the hospital after a car crash. Here are some of the risks associated with declaring that you are uninjured according to a self-diagnosis:
You Might Need More Extensive Treatments in the Future
Many accident-related injuries respond best to treatments that are administered in the hours after the crash. If you deprive yourself of the chance to get immediate care, you could end up spending more time at the doctor’s office and incurring a longer recovery later.
You Miss an Opportunity to Collect Evidence Against the Other Driver
If you intend to hold the other driver legally responsible for paying your medical bills, you will need proof of your injuries. One of the easiest ways to draw a clear link between your injuries and the accident is by going to the ER immediately after the crash. Being able to show that your hospital visit occurred soon after the time of the accident as noted in the police report will add credibility to your claim.
In addition to showing that your injuries were sustained in the crash and not in another incident, the records created at the ER can indicate the seriousness of your condition by providing images, test results, and a list of the treatments you received. Courts consider how badly car accident claimants were hurt when determining how much compensation to award, especially when making determinations on subjective matters like the value of your noneconomic damages.
The Defense Might Argue That Your Injuries Were Not Serious
If you decide to file a personal injury claim for a significant amount of money without going to the hospital, the insurance company or the other driver’s lawyers might point out that the kind of injuries that warrant compensation usually require immediate medical attention. You could have a hard time explaining the fact that while you felt fine after the crash, your injuries became apparent later.
The Insurance Company Could Blame Your Injuries on Neglect
Regardless of how your body felt after the accident, the other driver’s insurance company could push back on your claim by saying that you aggravated your condition by declining the opportunity to get evaluated by a doctor. If they can convince the court that the seriousness of your injuries stemmed from your own self-neglect as opposed to the accident itself, you might receive a smaller payout than you expected.
You Might Delay Your Claim
Going to the hospital is the fastest way to find out whether or not you have injuries that require medical care. You cannot file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your damages until you know that you are injured.
While the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the accident, it is best to give yourself and your lawyer plenty of time to build a strong case and account for delays in the legal process. Plus, the sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can receive the payout you need.
What Are Some Common Hidden Injuries?
Hidden injuries come in a variety of forms, and some can be quite serious. Here are a few examples of injuries that often express themselves long after the car accident that caused them:
Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries
The neck is a part of the human anatomy that is particularly vulnerable to the sudden impact of a car accident. Whiplash is a condition that is caused by a sudden back-and-forth motion of the head, particularly when a car is rear-ended. It can lead to chronic neck pain and other complications and often requires physical therapy to treat.
When a car accident causes swelling and bleeding around the spinal cord, the effects often come on gradually. You may experience a delayed onset of numbness and paralysis, often leading to long-term problems. Serious damage to the spinal cord is one of the leading causes of permanent disability.
Other Soft Tissue Injuries
Whiplash and back injuries are not the only kinds of soft tissue damage that you can sustain after a car crash. Other areas of the body such as the shoulders, arms, wrists, legs, and ankles can also suffer soft tissue trauma.
Internal bleeding is one of the most dangerous forms of hidden injury because the condition can become life-threatening before you notice it. Often, there are no immediate signs of internal damage, and it is important to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional to rule out the possibility that any organs suffered trauma.
Brain injuries are another leading cause of permanent disability and wrongful death. While a direct impact on the head can cause trauma, the impact of whiplash can also be severe enough to cause a concussion. In either case, the effects, which can include headache, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea, may have a delayed onset.
Can You Receive Compensation for Your Medical Bills?
Unfortunately, many people avoid going to the hospital because they are unsure about their ability to pay for medical care. In Texas, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for all of your medical expenses. By working with a personal injury lawyer in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, or Dallas, you can maximize your settlement to include the cost of your treatment plus:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Stress and anxiety
- Loss of consortium
In addition to helping you pursue compensation, your lawyer can provide advice on how to handle the medical bills while your case is being processed. If you have health insurance, your policy will most likely cover the immediate expenses. If not, you may be able to defer payment until you receive a verdict on your personal injury claim. In any case, your health is essential and it is important to go to the hospital right away.
How Can I Find a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, or Austin?
If you suspect that you may have been injured in a car accident, or if you know that you are hurt, our attorneys can help you seek damages. We will provide you with the resources you need to understand how to handle medical bills, insurance companies, and the other driver. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, or Austin, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC.