I Feel OK After a Chicago Car Accident. Do I Really Need a Doctor?

Seeking prompt medical attention after a car accident is crucial, even if immediate injuries aren’t apparent. Delayed symptoms may manifest days or weeks later, indicating underlying issues that, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications. Conditions like internal bleeding, spinal injuries, or concussions may not present immediate signs, which is why getting immediate medical attention is critical. Early diagnosis and intervention not only ensure that you are taken care of after an accident but also contribute to better outcomes and a smoother recovery process. In the aftermath of a car accident, prioritizing medical attention is a proactive step towards safeguarding one’s health and preventing potential long-term consequences.

What are delayed injury symptoms?

Delayed injury symptoms are just what they sound like: symptoms that show up a while after you sustain the injury. So if you hit your head during a car accident, but you feel no pain in the hour or so following the crash, but feel pain later, that is a delayed injury symptom.

After you are in a car accident where you think “boy, I’m surprised I’m not injured,” the reality of the matter is that you probably ARE injured, but you have yet to feel any pain or discomfort. This is likely due to a few key hormones that your body produces when you are in danger: adrenaline and endorphins.

Adrenaline, the hormone responsible for heightened alertness, increased heart rate, and improved muscle function, floods the system during a car wreck. This surge results in enhanced energy and awareness, often creating a surreal, hyper state after a collision.

Secondly, after the adrenaline is released, comes the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers. Endorphins not only dull pain responses but also induce a sense of well-being, offering a seemingly paradoxical feeling of comfort amid the aftermath of a car accident.

Why do our bodies do this? Well, our ancestors faced off against more prolonged dangers like wolf or bear attacks. If you were injured by one of these beasts, but still alive, you want to have energy and your wits about you to either fight off or get away from the hungry animal. So, our bodies developed ways to help give us a boost of energy and to keep pain from distracting us during critical moments.

These days, we’re dealing with faster paced dangers like cars and trucks. While we’re not generally having to defend ourselves from bear attacks anymore, our bodies still send out the same hormones in moments of extreme danger and distress, such as after a car accident.

What delayed symptoms could mean after your car accident

After your car accident, it is important to go to the hospital to get checked out even if you do not feel any pain immediately after the crash. However if you choose to go home instead, and feel unusual symptoms, it is important to know that these might be the result of a serious injury that you suffered during your accident. These symptoms may show up hours, days, or even weeks after the accident.

Symptoms that may indicate a more severe injury include:

  • Headaches: While common, persistent headaches post-accident could signal underlying issues such as a blood clot, concussion, or head/neck injury. Traumatic brain injuries are serious, and could mean life or death if not treated immediately, so it is important to go to the hospital if you feel head pain after your accident.
  • Neck pain: Whiplash, a common neck injury in accidents, can cause stiffness, soreness, limited range of motion, and headaches. Neck pain and stiffness may even mean a broken neck. Consult a doctor to rule out spinal cord injuries, which could mean serious, life-altering damage.
  • Back pain: Potential causes for your back pain include whiplash, spinal injuries, herniated discs, or soft tissue damage. Misaligned vertebrae may lead to pinched nerves, causing pain, numbness, or tingling.
  • Abdominal pain: Stomach pain might indicate internal bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition. Look out for purple bruising, dizziness, or fainting, and consult a doctor promptly.
  • Numbness and tingling: Whiplash may cause numbness or tingling in extremities, indicating nerve damage. Nerve damage can be a life altering injury.
  • Changes in mood or behavior: Subtle behavior changes post-accident could signify a concussion or brain injury, leading to personality changes, memory problems, or depression. Early diagnosis is crucial for the recovery process.

With all these symptoms in mind, and what they might mean, the best thing you can do is stop these symptoms before they can even start. Head to the hospital after your accident. If you hate going to the hospital or seeing doctors, we have a list of questions that you can ask your doctor when you get there. These might help you feel a little more in control of the situation, and help you to better understand what’s going on.

Going to the hospital is the best thing for your health (and for your claim or lawsuit)

After a car accident, it is clear the best option is to go to the hospital and get checked over by a medical professional. In best case scenarios, there will be little to nothing wrong with you, and you can go home secure in the knowledge that you have a clean bill of health.

If the doctors find that you did indeed suffer an injury that you were not aware of, then it’s a good thing they are there to offer you prompt medical attention so that your injuries don’t worsen and cause further complications.

It’s also a good idea to get immediate medical attention if you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you choose to go home instead of seeing a doctor at the hospital after your accident, it makes it more difficult to prove whether or not an injury that you discovered later was actually caused by the accident. The opposing legal team could use the time between the accident and you discovering the injury as evidence that the injury could have been caused by something else, and not by their client’s negligence.

If you have been in, or are ever in a car accident, seeking prompt medical treatment is critical to not only your physical wellbeing, but to your personal injury case as well. When someone else’s negligence causes your injuries, having an experienced attorney who understands how injuries work is important to securing just compensation. At Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers, our attorneys know exactly what to do, and they will handle your case with skill and care. To schedule a free consultation, call us in Chicago, or use our contact form.