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Car accident: Delayed injury symptoms may lead to high expenses

Injuries suffered by California victims of accidents that involve vehicles are often ignored because no broken bones or bleeding wounds are evident. However, there are several injuries that are known to present delayed symptoms that could ultimately lead to high medical expenses. Regardless of whether a person was in a car accident, bicycle or motorcycle accident or a pedestrian accident, medical evaluations immediately after the incident may ensure timely care.

Common delayed symptoms that may appear days or even weeks after an accident include headaches, stiffness or pain in the shoulders and neck, back pain, numbness in hands and arms, and abdominal swelling and pain. Headaches can be an indication of a head or neck injury, concussion or even bleeding or a blood clot on the brain. There may be an undetected traumatic brain injury, in which case there may also be memory problems, impaired hearing or vision, depression or even personality changes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents cause a third of all traumatic brain injuries.

Whiplash results from different types of accidents and typically causes soft tissue injuries. Muscles, nerves and ligaments in the neck, back and shoulders can be damaged in ways that only becomes evident later. In fact, vertebrae can be damaged, or the spinal column could have been injured, and whiplash injuries may require CT scans, x-rays or MTIs to facilitate an accurate diagnosis. Abdominal swelling or pain can indicate internal bleeding that may cause large areas of bruising, dizziness or fainting, and it may be fatal even if it goes undetected for days.

One more delayed effect of accidents is PTSD, and it is not uncommon for a victim of a car accident — or any other accident involving a vehicle — to suffer many years of flashbacks or nightmares. While some people file personal injury claims if they suffered injuries caused by the negligence of others, others may decline medical treatment at the time of the accident. They may not realize the potential financial losses that can be brought about by delayed injury symptoms. If injuries are not identified soon after the accident, it may be tricky to prove that the accident caused the injuries and resulting expenses if personal injury claims are later filed in a California civil court.

Source:, “7 delayed injury symptoms after a car crash“, Dr. Alex Bigham, Aug. 31, 2015