Being in a car accident can leave anyone feeling shaken. At first, you may not think that you suffered any injuries, and after providing all the necessary information to the other driver and any police officers who arrived, you may still feel shaky but well enough to go home.
While it can be up to you whether to seek medical attention after a car accident, it is important to monitor yourself after the incident, even if you do not immediately believe that you were hurt. Some injuries can have delayed symptoms, and as a result, you may not feel the pain or discomfort of them until hours or days after the accident.
Symptoms for which to watch out
It is wise to have any type of pain after a car accident checked out by a medical professional. In fact, you may even want to pop in for a quick checkup after the incident, even if you do not necessarily feel unwell. After all, doctors can recognize serious symptoms more readily than others. Still, you may have particular cause for concern if you experience any of these common delayed symptoms:
- Neck or shoulder pain: Pain in these areas can indicate whiplash or a more serious injury. A doctor can perform the necessary tests to properly diagnose the cause of the pain.
- Numbness: Even if you do not experience neck or shoulder pain, you could experience numbness that could point to whiplash.
- Headache: You may want to chalk a headache up to the stress of the accident, but there is a chance that your headache could signify a more serious issue.
- Behavioral changes: If you feel different after the accident or others have commented on personality changes, you should see your doctor. A brain injury could cause such changes, and a car accident can easily cause brain trauma.
- Abdominal pain: This type of pain could indicate internal bleeding and accompany dizziness, deep bruising or fainting.
- PTSD: You may develop PTSD because car accidents are traumatic events. This condition could easily affect your daily life and deserves medical attention.
In some cases, car accident victims need to go to the emergency room immediately. In others, individuals may not feel that the trip is necessary. However, seeking some type of medical attention — whether at the ER or from a primary care doctor — is wise after a crash because it could ensure your well-being or set you on the right course of treatment. Additionally, having medical records could prove useful if you need to file a personal injury claim against the driver considered at fault for the crash.