5 Hidden Injuries From Car Accidents
New Mexico has a reputation for having some of the most dangerous roadways in the nation. It regularly ranks in the top 10 of lists of states where drivers need to pay extra attention while behind the wheel.
It’s not uncommon to see drivers swerving in and out of lanes or flying down the interstates at 100 miles-per-hour in and around Albuquerque. Hundreds of traffic fatalities happen each year in the state because of careless and dangerous driving habits.
Car crash victims who survive can experience serious injuries. Broken bones and lacerations can be obvious. However, there are hidden injuries that can sometimes be life-threatening that do not have immediate signs.
If you’ve been the victim in an automobile accident, you should get checked out by a medical professional right away, even if you feel fine. You could be suffering from one of the five hidden injuries below. The sooner you get treatment, the better the outcome.
Visiting a healthcare provider for a full medical evaluation after a car accident also provides your personal injury attorney in Albuquerque with the documentation needed to pursue a personal injury claim.
Whiplash can cause severe injuries in car crash victims, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It’s possible to experience a concussion without losing consciousness. Symptoms often are delayed. Those you do have may be unrecognizable in their early stages.
Some of the signs you have a concussion include:
- Memory loss.
- Ringing in your ears (tinnitus).
Concussions and TBI share some symptoms, including confusion. However, TBI has lasting cognitive effects that can impact your daily living. Some warning signs you may have an undetected TBI include:
- Decreased awareness of yourself and other people.
- Failure to follow commands that involve more than one or two steps.
- Inability to understand abstract concepts.
- Shortened attention span.
A medical professional can order CT scans or MRIs to determine if you have hidden brain injuries from a car accident. If you lost consciousness in the accident, most medical professionals do these specialized scans as part of your emergency treatment. If they don’t and you suspect you might have brain trauma, you can request one.
Internal bleeding is a life-threatening injury. Sometimes, it goes undetected after a car crash if you’re not exhibiting symptoms. You might be walking around and think you’re uninjured but be bleeding inside.
Abdominal bleeding can be common after an auto accident because of the pressure from the seatbelt designed to hold you in place. You also could have a brain bleed and not realize it.
Warning signs you need to be evaluated for internal bleeding can include:
- Chest pain.
- Low blood pressure.
- Severe abdominal pain.
- Severe headache.
- Weakness on one side of the body.
- Vision problems.
If you’re having any of these hidden injury issues after a car crash, get to an emergency room for immediate evaluation by a medial professional.
Whiplash is a common car accident injury. It’s aptly named because of the whipping action it creates between your head and beck, especially during rear-end collisions. Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that might not hurt at first but becomes more evident in the days following a crash.
You won’t have to wonder if you’ve developed whiplash if you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms:
- You’re dizzy.
- You have headaches, mostly at the base of your skull.
- You have neck pain and stiffness.
- Your shoulders, upper back, or arms feel tender or painful.
- You have lost the range of motion in your neck.
Prompt treatment that includes physical therapy and pain management can mean the difference between quick relief and suffering that extends for weeks or months.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries are easy to overlook after a car accident. They most often affect your ankles, back, feet, and knees and can take a few days to rear their ugly head. You also might experience soft tissue injuries in your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.
It’s also quite possible you might not associate the pain you’re feeling with your car accident. Here are some of the most common indicators that you have a soft tissue injury that needs medical attention:
- Inability to bear weight on the injured area.
- Joint instability.
- Knots or lumps at the site of the injury.
- Limited range of motion.
- Muscle cramping and spasms.
Injuries to your spine can be difficult to spot right away. If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident – especially a rear-end collision – you should always assume that you may have a spinal cord injury. Going to the nearest emergency room might seem like overkill, but it’s worth the effort if you have damage to your spinal cord.
Bleeding and swelling around the spinal cord can happen from the trauma of impact in a car accident. Symptoms include numbness in your limbs and eventual paralysis if the damage goes untreated. Other warning signs are:
- Changes in sexual function.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Exaggerated reflexes or muscle spasms.
- Loss of movement or altered sensation (includes ability to feel heat, cold, touch).
- Pain or intense stinging sensations from damaged nerve fibers.
How to handle car crash hidden injuries
If you suspect you have one of these hidden injuries from car accidents, it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately. A medical professional can run the necessary tests, document your injuries, and advise the best treatment.