Can I Be Compensated for Injuries that Appear Later?

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Car accidents can be extremely stressful, whether the accident was a minor fender-bender or a serious collision that caused extensive property damage and life-threatening injuries. When events like this occur, stress causes the body to release adrenaline into the bloodstream. This hormone, also known as the fight or flight hormone. can temporarily mask feelings of pain immediately following an accident. Other types of personal injuries, including some head, neck, and back injuries, may not show symptoms immediately but can cause serious health issues later.

Oftentimes, these injuries require ongoing medical care, physical therapy, surgeries, and even long-term care. Therefore, it is crucial that the accident victim waits until he or she has been thoroughly examined by a medical professional who can determine the full extent of the injuries before accepting a financial settlement. A skilled car accident lawyer can assist the injured victim with the claims process and ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.

What Types of Injuries May Appear After the Accident?

Some of the most common car accident injuries include cuts, lacerations, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries. However, these are a range of other injuries associated with car accidents that are serious and can even be life-threatening or fatal, but the symptoms do not appear right away. The following are examples of car accident injuries that do not always show up immediately but can be quite serious, particularly if they are left untreated:

  • Soft tissue injuries: These are injuries that cause damage to parts of the body that are not bones. They include muscles, tendons, and ligaments. One of the most common types of soft tissue injuries is whiplash, which is an injury to the neck that occurs when the impact of a car accident causes the head to snap forward and then back. Oftentimes, the symptoms of whiplash do not appear immediately. In fact, in some cases, it can take days or even weeks for the injury to appear. Getting the proper medical treatment immediately following the accident can help diagnose and treat the injury. The following are the common symptoms of whiplash injuries:
    – Pain or stiffness in the neck, upper back, or shoulders
    – Headache
    – Dizziness
    – Burning or itching sensation in the neck, shoulders, or arms
  • Concussion injuries: These occur when the head strikes something hard, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, or any other hard object inside the vehicle, which causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull with extreme force. Concussions can be serious, but the symptoms do not always appear right away. Although some symptoms are obvious and suggest that the individual suffered a head injury, others are more subtle or do not appear until days or weeks after the accident. The following are examples of concussion symptoms:
    – Headache
    – Difficulty concentrating
    – Clouded thinking
    – Dizziness
    – Nausea
    – Sleeping more or less than usual
    – Lack of energy
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): As the name suggests, these injuries are traumatic, yet the symptoms may not appear immediately. Although some TBIs can be treated successfully with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other support services, others can cause permanent physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments. These may require long-term care in a residential facility. TBIs can cause the following health complications:
    Headaches and migraines: These can be frequent and debilitating.
    Dizziness: Close to one-third of people with TBIs said that they continued to experience dizziness at least five years after the injury.
    Sensitivity to light and noise: Sensory issues are another common symptom of TBIs. They are more common in the acute phase of the injury, but some patients report sensitivities for up to 12 months after the injury.
    Visual impairments: Head injuries can often impact a person’s vision. For example, a TBI can cause convergence insufficiency, which is the inability of the eyes to focus properly during near vision. This can lead to other vision complications, including blurry or double vision.
    Fatigue: TBIs can cause extreme physical and mental fatigue, particularly when the injury is severe.
    Seizures and post-traumatic epilepsy: Up to 40 percent of TBI victims suffer from late-stage seizures. In some cases, this can become a permanent problem.
    Emotional and cognitive issues: Impaired memory is one of the most common issues for patients who suffer from TBIs. Other issues that are associated TBIs include the following:
    – Sleep issues
    – Depression and anxiety
    – Aggression and other personality changes
    – Deficits in attention and concentration
    – Inability to manage time and be productive
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is a potentially serious disorder that people can suffer from after experiencing or witnessing a shocking, dangerous, or violent event, including a serious car accident. To be diagnosed with PTSD, the person must have experienced all of the following symptoms for at least one month:
    – At least one re-experiencing symptom, which includes flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts
    – At least one avoidance symptom, which includes staying away from places or events that remind the victim of the traumatic event, and avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the event
    – At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, which include being easily startled, feeling on edge, difficulty sleeping, and having angry outbursts
    – At least two cognition and mood symptoms, which include trouble remembering important aspects of the trauma, negative thoughts about the world or one’s self, feelings of guilt or blame, and loss of interest in activities the victims once enjoyed

Why is It Important to Seek Medical Attention After an Accident?

After a car accident, it is highly recommended that the motorists involved be checked out by a doctor, even if they do not feel any obvious pain or discomfort. A health care professional will be able to determine whether the individual sustained any injuries or discuss symptoms for which the person should be aware in case they show up later. Avoiding seeking immediate medical attention can cause problems later, particularly if the individual files an injury claim. It can imply that the victim must not have sustained a serious injury if he or she did not bother to get examined by a medical professional.

In addition to seeking medical treatment, it is crucial that the victim continues the course of treatment recommended by their physician, even if they start to feel better. The first reason why this is so important is that this is the treatment protocol that the doctor has decided is the best way to treat the injury. Ideally, it is going to help the injury heal faster and result in fewer setbacks. Secondly, there will be a record of all the doctor’s appointments, which will provide key evidence when pursuing a personal injury claim. This information will be extremely valuable in determining damages.

It is highly recommended that accident victims obtain copies of all medical records related to the car accident. This will allow the victim to closely review the description of the accident and ensure that the information included in the medical records is accurate and correct. If there are any details that need to be clarified or corrected, this information can be corrected before it is sent to the insurance adjuster. For example, if the medical report states that the vehicle was hit on the passenger side when it was actually struck on the driver’s side, the injured victim will have the opportunity to correct that information in his or her medical record.

Obtaining copies of the medical records also gives the patient the opportunity to ensure that there are no inaccuracies in the medical history. For example, if the medical report states that the patient has a history of neck problems, but he or she has never experienced neck issues until the accident, it is important that this information is changed in the medical report. If the defense sees that there is a history of neck issues, they may argue that the injury is a preexisting condition rather than an injury caused by the car accident.

How Do I Know if a Settlement Offer is Fair?

A skilled car accident lawyer will be able to evaluate all settlement offers and determine whether the amount is fair based on the severity of the client’s injuries, whether the injured victim is able to return to work, and if the injuries require long-term care. Oftentimes, insurance companies will make an initial settlement offer that is low, in the hopes that the offer will be accepted. Unfortunately, these modest offers rarely cover the future medical costs and lost wages associated with the injury.  A dedicated car accident lawyer will work closely with the injured party, assist them with the claims process, and secure the best possible settlement amount for their injuries.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims with Delayed Injuries

If you were injured in a car accident and certain injuries appeared after the accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will walk you through every step of the claims process, address all your questions and concerns, and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.