What To Do If Your Accident Injuries Don’t Show Up Right Away
Traffic accident injuries are often latent or hard-to-detect injuries. Keep reading, and learn how to protect your rights – as well as your health and your future – after a traffic collision in Texas and how a McAllen car accident lawyer can help.
Any traffic collision can be traumatic, but when an accident seems to be minor, many people will not notice any of the symptoms of an injury – that is, at first.
Traffic accident injuries can be similar to sports accidents when athletes don’t realize that they’re injured. That’s because forceful collisions – of all kinds – generate endorphins and adrenaline.
HOW DO ENDORPHINS AND ADRENALINE AFFECT US?
Endorphins and adrenaline “charge up” the body and can mask the immediate pain of an injury.
If you feel fine after a traffic crash, you may or may not be fine. You may begin to feel the pain of a latent or hard-to-detect injury as the endorphins and adrenaline fade from your system.
WHAT ARE SOFT TISSUE INJURIES?
Even at the lowest speeds, a traffic collision generates a force that places stress on soft and less-protected parts of the body. “Soft tissue” injuries are injuries to tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
In traffic accidents, the most frequently reported soft-tissue injury is whiplash. Whiplash happens when the head is suddenly, forcefully thrown forward – and then back again.
Soft tissue injury symptoms can include swelling, pain, and limited mobility. The problem for many people is that these symptoms may take days or weeks to emerge.
Soft tissue injuries cannot be detected on X-rays, so identifying and documenting these injuries can be tricky.
The first step is a comprehensive medical exam. The second step may be a legal consultation.
CAN BRAIN INJURIES BE DIFFICULT TO DETECT?
The human brain is protected by the skull, but a jolt or a blow to the head can cause the brain to violently slam against the inside of the skull. That’s how a traumatic brain injury happens.
Researchers have found that there is an increase in the risk for epilepsy after even a mild brain injury, and that risk can linger for as long as ten years after the initial injury.
Brain injuries, including concussions, may not be immediately detectable. A brain injury that is not immediately detected can remain latent for months and become a serious medical condition.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A BRAIN INJURY?
The first detectable symptoms of a brain injury may include but are not necessarily limited to:
1. a persistent or sporadic inability to think clearly, concentrate, and/or remember
2. headaches, nausea, blurred vision, and/or dizziness
3. low energy, a feeling of constant fatigue, and/or abnormal sleeping patterns
After a traffic accident, any of these symptoms could indicate a brain injury. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should be examined by a doctor immediately.
Soft tissue injuries and brain injuries are not the only hard-to-detect injuries. Some bone fractures can only be detected by a doctor. What you think is a sprain might in fact be a fracture.
WHY IS IT IMPERATIVE TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
It is never a good idea to turn down medical attention after a traffic crash. Some worry about the cost. Others just do not trust doctors. Still, it is imperative to seek medical attention at once.
In fact, even if you feel better than ever, you should be examined within 24 hours of any traffic accident, for several good reasons. If you’re fine, an exam will give you peace of mind.
But if an injury is detected, you’ll create medical records that you may need later, and you can be treated. Your doctor can tell you what to look for and how to monitor any emerging medical condition.
If, later, you choose to file a personal injury claim, it is imperative for you to be able to show that you sought medical treatment immediately after the accident.
If you delay seeking medical attention, the insurance company will argue that you must not have been injured very seriously.
HOW CAN AN INJURY LAWYER HELP?
Speaking of insurance companies, do not even speak with one if you’ve been injured in a traffic accident and the other driver was negligent.
Instead, in south Texas, put your case directly in the hands of an experienced Edinburg personal injury attorney.
An injury attorney will review your case, explain your legal rights and options, and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company – while you concentrate on regaining your health.
If an acceptable settlement is not offered, your lawyer may recommend going to trial, but these cases are usually resolved through private, out-of-court negotiations that lead to settlements.
HOW SHOULD YOU DEAL WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
In such cases, don’t speak to an insurance company, sign any document, or accept any settlement until you have legal advice. If you are contacted, refer the insurance company to your lawyer.
Never accept an insurance company’s first settlement offer, because you will also be forfeiting your right to take any further legal action. Let your lawyer do the talking.
A personal injury attorney is a trained negotiator who routinely deals with insurance companies and obtains the compensation that the injured victims of negligence need and deserve.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR TAKING LEGAL ACTION?
For personal injury cases in Texas, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury, the date the injury is discovered, or the date that the injury should have been discovered.
Thus, while the law makes an allowance for injuries that are not immediately detected – or detectable – an injured victim of negligence still must act as quickly as possible.
In other words, if you’ve been injured by negligence in any kind of accident in Texas – whether the injury is detected immediately or sometime later – don’t wait two years to seek legal advice.
If you wait, evidence that your attorney may need could deteriorate or disappear, and the memories of witnesses will fade. A victim must put a good injury lawyer on the case at once.
ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
If the injury victim was a minor at the time of the injury, in most cases, the two-year statute of limitations period begins on the victim’s 18th birthday.
If you don’t seek medical attention after a traffic accident, the negligent party could allege that you were in fact injured before or after the accident or that you weren’t actually injured at all.
Seek medical attention first, and if a doctor finds a latent or hard-to-detect injury, then seek legal advice at once. It’s your health, your future, and your right.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.