While some injuries may be immediately apparent after an auto accident (i.e. skin scrapes, gashes, pulled muscles, broken bones, and bruises), adrenaline can mask more severe symptoms. For example, an accident victim with internal bleeding may not notice stomach pains or distention, or they may attribute dizziness or disorientation – symptoms that may arise with head trauma – to stress because of the accident. Due to the risk of these delayed symptoms, and because some injuries can be life-threatening, accident victims are encouraged to seek medical treatment after a crash to check for any serious injuries.
Not all delayed symptoms are related to physical injuries, however. Symptoms of mental distress (post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, etc.) and chronic pain may not surface until weeks or even months after the crash.
In fact, research from the University of Buffalo found that many individuals involved in auto accidents experienced symptoms associated with PTSD and mood disorders, and of those, 69 percent of individuals reported chronic pain that could be attributed to their auto accident. Another study found it common for persons in an auto accident to experience post-traumatic headaches, with most of the victims attributing the headaches to whiplash.
The National Center for PTSD analyzed studies of the general population and determined that around 9 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD after a crash. However, there are other studies that suggest the rate may be significantly higher (perhaps even as much as 33 percent). Of those that seek mental health treatment after a crash, an estimated 60 percent have PTSD, with 27 percent reporting another major mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, and 15 percent reporting a phobia of driving after an accident.
Due to the delayed nature of these injuries, it is often difficult for victims to get the help they need. Many insurance companies view their mental, physical, and emotional anguish as fictitious – nothing more than a ploy to get more money. Yet, for the victim, whose symptoms are very real, the detail of such a claim can feel like the last nail in their coffin. Unable to afford treatment, unsure or dismissive of their rights, they may abandon their treatment altogether, which leaves them to suffer through flashbacks and other debilitating issues on their own.
So, what should you do instead?
Your symptoms are real, and you deserve quality treatment and fair compensation. Here are some things you can do to ensure you get it:
1. See a Doctor
As soon as you begin noticing symptoms, it is critical that you see a doctor to be treated for any conditions that can be treated. Visiting a physician also ensures there is documentation for any underlying issues that may not surface immediately after the accident.
2. Seek Other Professional Help
If you are sent home with a clean bill of health but your symptoms persist, it could be an indicator that your treatment should include more than just medical treatment. You may need physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even medications to help you get well.
3. Call an Experienced Lawyer
With delayed symptoms, you might very well encounter rejection of claims from your insurance. This can cause even more stress to an already stressful situation. If this happens, you need an experienced injury lawyer who can help you get the treatment you need without the stress of mounting bills so you and your loved ones can focus on healing.
Contact an Aggressive Green Bay Auto Accident Lawyer
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we aggressively protect the rights and best interests of auto accident victims during the insurance claim process. Often, we can expedite the process while still ensuring you receive a fair settlement by pursuing negotiations, but whenever necessary, we pursue litigation in an effort to ensure our clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Learn how our seasoned Appleton car accident lawyers can assist you and your loved ones through the claims process. Call 920-739-7366 and schedule your free consultation today.