No one is prepared for a car accident, especially for the pain and financial costs. After the accident, you might wonder how long after an accident you’ll feel pain and when it’s time to get further help.
Some accident injuries don’t show up right away. Instead, the pain might manifest later as you calm down and your body’s hormones even out. Here’s what to expect regarding how long you’ll feel pain after an accident. It’s important to consider everything below so that you can get the help you need.
The Length of Pain After a Car Accident
Many accident victims wonder how long it’s normal to feel pain afterward. Unfortunately, there is not a straightforward answer for every person. How long you feel pain will depend on factors like:
- The location and severity of your injuries
- Your overall physical health
- Your age
- The type of car accident
- Safety devices in your car
Many car accident injuries heal within weeks or months. However, more severe injuries can take years to recover fully. Some injuries cause long-term issues or permanent disability. Delayed pain and symptoms are also common after a car accident.
Another factor is medical care. Seeing a doctor soon after your crash can give you access to pain medications. These can help you deal with the pain while your body heals. The pain of an accident may be too great to handle with over-the-counter medications.
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Delayed Pain After an Accident
Some injuries won’t fully manifest until hours or days after an accident. This is common with injuries like:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Head injuries
- Sprains and strains
You might not feel pain right after a car accident. Some people won’t notice their injuries until long after they’ve left the scene. For this reason, it’s best to have a doctor examine you as soon as possible to detect hidden damage.
If you notice unexplained pain in your neck and shoulders hours or days after your accident, that’s a signal you may have untreated whiplash. See a doctor immediately if you suspect this, as you may have a serious underlying injury.
Hidden TBIs After an Accident
Concussion is another common injury after an accident. Even a slight concussion is an example of a traumatic brain injury, and can cause incredible pain long after the accident. Untreated TBIs can be fatal.
If you blacked out during your accident, get checked for a TBI. Blacking out is a sign of potential brain injury. Also, look for non-painful symptoms like changes in your thinking or personality, or difficulty with movement and coordination. An untreated TBI can cause you a lifetime of pain after your accident, and that life may not be as long as you think.
Why don’t I Feel Some Pain Immediately?
Our bodies have survival mechanisms to help us deal with sudden injury. Adrenaline is one. When our bodies fill with adrenaline from the stress of an accident, our pain tolerance goes up. This lets us leave a dangerous situation, but it can also aggravate injuries when we move beyond our new limits.
Another defense mechanism is shock. Shock can make it harder to feel pain, but it’s also a dangerous condition. Shock can lower your blood pressure to a dangerous level. If you believe you’re in a shock, seek medical attention immediately.
Emotional Pain and Mental Anguish Often Occur Much Later
Not all pain is from physical injuries. Your car accident can affect you in ways outside of bodily harm. More often than not, many car accident victims suffer trauma and mental anguish for years to come. These should get treated just as seriously as any type of physical damage. Don’t hesitate to pursue financial compensation for them as well.
Emotional and mental stress can lead to different types of pain. An accident could leave you with emotional damages like:
- Anxiety or depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment from disfigurement
- Mental anguish
Don’t ignore any pain you feel after an accident. Even if the pain shows up weeks or months later, it could be related to the crash. Instead, contact your doctor to schedule a follow-up and tell them about what changes you notice.
Car accident pain can vary a lot per case. You might feel pain immediately, or it might be days before you realize all your injuries. Always see a doctor and contact a lawyer to understand your case, no matter your situation.
Getting Medical Treatment After an Accident
Some pain goes away within days of an accident. However, other injuries can take time to show up and heal fully. You won’t know for sure until you see a doctor for your injuries. If you have severe or life-threatening injuries after the accident, it’s best to call for an ambulance.
Some injuries can worsen quickly and need attention at the scene. Paramedics can check your injuries and treat you immediately. If you don’t get treatment at the scene, see a doctor as soon as possible. Tell your doctor about any pain or discomfort you have. If your pain gets worse or doesn’t go away, let your doctor know right away.
If you wait too long to see a doctor, it will also hurt your legal case. The other driver’s insurance company might claim that you’re not hurt as badly as you say. They could use it to offer a much lower settlement than you deserve.
Document Your Accident Injuries
If someone else caused your accident, you have legal rights. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6 allows for financial recovery if someone’s negligence led to your accident. Negligence is a lack of care, such as speeding, drunk driving, or other careless driving.
If another driver was at fault for your accident, you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim. The driver’s insurance company is typically responsible for accident costs.
It’s best to document your injuries and costs as much as possible. You’ll need this proof to include in your accident claim. Steps you can take include:
- Taking pictures of your injuries and vehicle damage
- Photographing the entire accident scene
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible (as mentioned above)
- Saving all medical bills, doctor notes, and medication receipts
It’s also best to talk to a car accident lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can help with all of the above. They can also determine if you have a case and what you deserve.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
Even though the law doesn’t explicitly require that you need a lawyer to file a claim against an at-fault driver or their insurance company, you still should. Negotiating with an insurance company can be extremely challenging, especially if you have little or no experience in personal injury or car accident law.
Our lawyers can balance the terms of the negotiation process and ensure that you get the best settlement possible. We will work hard to stop the insurance company from downplaying your injuries and damages just because they were delayed. Don’t ever settle for less. Always fight hard for your rights. Let our lawyers assist you today.
File Your Car Accident Claim Quickly
Just like seeking medical attention, you should always aim to file your claim as soon as possible, especially if you have delayed pain or your injuries took a bit of time to surface. Always remember that the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to win a fair settlement. It’s best to get together with a lawyer and figure out all your legal options as soon as possible.
The statute of limitations is two years under OCGA § 9-3-33. This is only a general statute of limitations, which means that if any other circumstances are surrounding your car accident, the time could be even shorter. So, don’t wait until the last minute to get things started.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Even minor car accidents can lead to painful or life-changing injuries. If someone else was at fault, you should not have to bear the costs. An injury might leave you with costly medical bills, lost income, and much more.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help fight for the recovery you deserve. Our attorneys have been helping accident victims for over 20 years. As one of Georgia’s largest law firms, we know what it takes to win cases. Call or contact us online for a FREE consultation. We don’t get paid unless we win your case.