Not all injuries are immediately visible after a car accident. Some take time to manifest and can be more serious than they first appear. If you find yourself in an accident in Maryland, it’s often advisable to go for a thorough medical examination, even if you feel fine or don’t see any visible cuts, bruises or edema (inflammation).
Traumatic brain injuries
The brain’s internal position in the body can make it difficult to detect an injury. Concussions, contusions (bruises) and hemorrhages can occur from the violent force of an impact, even if no damage is visible on the outside. Watch out for headaches, disorientation, fatigue and irritability for mild cases and cognitive and sensory impairment for more severe cases.
The damage to the spine can be quite serious since it is composed of fragile bones and disks that absorb the shock from an impact. Symptoms may include pain or numbness in the limbs (especially after rear-end car accidents), dizziness and loss of bladder control.
When you are driving at a constant speed, your body, and everything else in the car, maintains that same speed (inertia). When you suddenly stop or hit something, your body will continue moving at a higher speed than your car, which results in what is commonly known as whiplash. Symptoms include neck and shoulder pain, headaches, fatigue and dizziness.
Internal organ damage
Liver, spleen or kidney lacerations can occur without visible signs of trauma on the outside. Abdominal pain, vomiting and internal bleeding are all potential symptoms of these injuries.
In addition to physical injuries, motor vehicle accidents can cause emotional trauma – the psychological and emotional response to a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and feeling disconnected from loved ones or everyday life.
Car accident cases are often complicated. Your insurance company or the court (if you file a lawsuit and win) will only award you for the known damages you incurred. This means if you have a hidden injury that manifests later, they may not cover it, and you may have to bear the cost of medical treatment yourself.