Because of crumple zones, airbags, seat belts and other safety features, cars are not as deadly as they once were. Still, with upwards of 4.4 million Americans suffering injuries in car accidents every year, safety features clearly do not eliminate your risk of injury.
If a car accident leaves you with deep lacerations or broken bones, you are likely to have immediate pain or other noticeable symptoms. Sometimes, though, injury symptoms do not show up until hours or even days after a collision. Here are three things you should know about delayed car accident injuries.
1. Your brain’s stress response may trick you
Your brain signals the release of adrenaline, epinephrine and other hormones to help you cope with stressful situations, such as car accidents. This fight-or-flight response may blunt your body’s pain receptors. Consequently, even though you may feel fine after a car accident, your brain’s stress response may be hiding your injury symptoms temporarily.
2. Some injuries are painless
Even if your body’s pain receptors are working normally, some injuries simply do not cause much pain. If you have organ damage, internal bleeding or injuries to parts of the body that have few pain receptors, your life may be at risk without any warning.
3. You need a full medical examination
Because you are not an experienced medical doctor, you probably cannot differentiate between minor injuries and major ones. By going to the emergency room for a full medical evaluation, you take advantage of everything modern medicine has to offer. Doctors have access to blood tests, diagnostic scans, x-rays and other tools to determine if you have suffered serious bodily harm.
Delaying medical treatment following a car accident can lead to catastrophic outcomes. Ultimately, regardless of how you may feel, you simply cannot leave your health to chance after a car accident.