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After a wreck, don’t delay – seek medical attention immediately

By Ken Gibson on September 29, 2017

With our busy schedules and hectic lives, we may have a tendency to want to push things aside and move on. Particularly after a minor car accident or fender-bender, we may think, “That was just a little jolt. I’ll be fine.”

But what we’re really thinking is, “I’ve already wasted 30 minutes assessing the damage and exchanging insurance information. I need to get to work, get to the gym, and get home…” And so on.

The reality is that even a seemingly insignificant injury from a car accident—your head bouncing off a headrest, or your body being yanked back by a seat belt—can develop into something more serious.

Men in particular are reluctant to seek medical care for minor injuries. Many of us grew up playing sports and were taught, “Shake it off, and get back in the game.” But as we’ve all seen with professional athletes, getting hurt and then staying in the game can have long-term consequences, even years down the road.

If you are in a motor vehicle accident, here are eight post-accident symptoms that doctors recommend that you NOT ignore or take lightly:

  • Headaches: Headaches, even several days after the accident, may be a sign of a concussion, blood clot in the brain, or serious head or neck injury.
  • Blurred vision: Blurred vision is likely a sign of a brain injury, usually concussion. However, it could be as serious as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you have trouble focusing, sensitivity to light, double vision, or difficulty reading (the words seem to “move”) after your crash, get checked out immediately.
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck and shoulders: These are the classic delayed symptoms of whiplash. Most whiplash injuries are caused by rear-end collisions happening at less than 14 miles per hour. Seek immediate medical treatment because proper diagnosis may require an MRI, CT scan, or X-rays.
  • Pain and/or swelling of the abdomen: This could be a sign of internal bleeding. Internal bleeding is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can go unnoticed for hours or days. Other indicators of internal bleeding include dizziness, fainting, and deep purple bruising. If you have abdominal pain or swelling after a wreck, go to an emergency room immediately.
  • Back pain: Back pain after an auto accident can be a result of injuries to the ligaments, nerves, or muscles of the back. It can also indicate damage to the vertebrae.
  • Numbness: Numbness of the arms and hands is another symptom of whiplash, or possibly damage to the spinal column.
  • Personality changes: Personality changes may be the result of traumatic brain injury. Other symptoms include depression, and impaired vision, hearing, memory, thinking, or motor control.
  • PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological injury caused by a motor vehicle accident. PTSD sufferers may have vivid, disturbing memories of the accident or reoccurring nightmares and flashbacks. Children are particularly vulnerable to PTSD.

For more about the dangers of not getting the medical treatment you need, check out our book 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Virginia Auto Accident Case. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys at (804) 413-6777. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and give you advice on your best options moving forward.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.