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Common Car Accident Injuries that Might Go Undetected

Hidden injuries, also known as delayed onset injuries, are conditions that initially go undetected after an auto accident. Injuries can be deceptive, as the shock and trauma of an auto accident can mask pain and other symptoms. Even if you seek medical attention immediately after the accident, the medical team may miss certain injuries and ailments. If you were involved in an auto accident and have subsequently developed delayed onset symptoms, you may need a car accident attorney to help you seek the fair compensation you deserve.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help with serious injuries and symptoms that appeared after a car accident, you’ve come to the right place. The New Jersey car accident attorneys of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. have over 40 years of experience helping the injured, and we’ve recovered over $1 billion in successful results for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about your rights. 

Symptoms of Delayed Or Undetected Injuries

Many people notice numbness or tingling as the first symptom of delayed or undetected injuries, especially in the back, arms, and legs. This numbness or tingling may be the first manifestation of nerve damage or compression, a herniated disk, or other soft tissue injury. 

After this initial numbness, an accident victim may begin to experience:

  •  Pain 
  •  Headaches
  •  Extreme stiffness
  •  Difficulty standing or sitting 
  •  Muscle spasms
  •  Changes in memory and cognitive abilities
  •  Changes in personality or mood regulation

What Car Accident Injuries Can Be Delayed Or Go Undetected?

The most common delayed onset or undetected accident injuries are spine injuries, brain injuries, emotional trauma injuries, and blunt force injuries.

Spinal Injuries 

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Database. The extreme force unleashed by a traffic collision can crack vertebrae, sever the delicate spinal cord, and damage the soft tissue protecting both. Some of the most common delayed onset spinal injuries include:

  • Fractures – The blunt force of a collision may cause the bones in the spine to break, crack, or hairline fracture. Spinal fractures often occur in the upper spine, around a seat belt restraint.
  • Herniated Discs – Spinal discs protect the vertebrae and absorb shocks and injuries before they can damage these bones. A herniated (or damaged) disc allows fluid to leak into the spinal area, leading to numbness, tingling, and pain, especially in the lower back.
  • Whiplash – Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the neck and head are whipped forward and quickly backward. This whipping movement can damage the soft tissues of the neck and the highest portion of the spine, leading to pain and dizziness. 

Brain Injuries

Traffic accidents are also the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. TBIs may show up months after a car accident and are often overlooked during medical evaluations after the accident.

Among the most common car accidents are:

  • Direct Impact Injuries – This type of injury involves the direct impact of the head by a foreign object. It may involve a visible contusion (cut) and bruise, though sometimes damage may occur without external injury.
  • Coup and Contrecoup Injuries – Sudden stops or changes in direction during a crash led to coup and contrecoup brain injuries. As the accident occurs, the brain will “crash” into the skull at the point of impact (coup) and then swing into the opposite end of the skull (contrecoup). 
  • Diffuse Axonal Injuries – The whipping motion that leads to whiplash can also damage the brain, especially when the motion is severe. Whipping injuries can cause a shearing of the brain’s connecting fibers, called a diffuse axonal injury (DIA). 

In describing the severity of brain injuries, medical professionals will assess the injury as mild, moderate, or severe, as follows:

  •  In a mild brain injury, the patient either does not lose consciousness or only briefly. 
  •  In a moderate brain injury, the patient loses consciousness for a few minutes to hours.
  •  In a severe brain injury, the patient loses consciousness for several hours or more. 

Depending on their severity, a traumatic brain injury can lead to long-term effects such as:

  •  Loss of cognitive function, including memory, speech, and language
  •  Mood disorders, including depression, anxiety, and rage
  •  Changes in movement and coordination, as well as the ability to see, hear, and taste

Emotional Injuries

Not all injuries are physical. Some of the most impactful might never show up on an imaging test. The trauma and distress of a severe accident lead many victims to develop debilitating emotional injuries like the following:

  • Anxiety – Anxiety is common after a car accident. Those affected might be afraid to travel in a car, drive at high speeds on the highway, or go down a particular route. They may become very anxious about a loved one being harmed or having an accident.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that occurs after a traumatic event. People with PTSD may have flashbacks and scary thoughts long after the incident. They may also feel anger, sadness, fear, or detachment. 
  • Depression – Depression involves constant feelings of sadness and the loss of interest in activities and relationships. 
  • Insomnia and other sleep issues – Insomnia involves difficulty falling or staying asleep. Changes in sleep habits are among the most common symptoms of underlying emotional injury following a collision.

Other Injuries

Any organ or body part can be damaged by the extreme force of a collision, including:

  •  Knees
  •  Shoulders
  •  The back
  •  The abdomen

This might mean a fracture, a shoulder injury, an internal organ injury, or another internal injury. If you find that you are feeling pain and disability after a car accident, your best course of action is to seek medical care. 

What To Do If You Suffered a Delayed Injury After an Accident

If you begin having symptoms after a car accident, your top priority should be getting medical attention. Next, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The longer the delay between the accident and the development of your symptoms, the harder it will be to connect the two and claim fair compensation. A good lawyer will know how to investigate the incident thoroughly, work with experts to explain what led to the delay and pursue the money you deserve through a settlement or lawsuit.

Can I Claim Compensation for Delayed Auto Accident Injuries in New Jersey?

You can claim compensation for delayed onset injuries as you would for any other injury. You must make your claim within the period set by the statute of limitations on personal injury claims, which is two years.

Talk to an Experienced Injury Attorney in New Jersey Today

Are you dealing with delayed symptoms following a car accident in New Jersey? If so, contact Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. today for a free consultation. With over $1 billion recovered for our clients, our winning track record of success gives us the experience you can trust with your case. We have offices in New York and New Jersey and can meet with you wherever you prefer or virtually via Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime. Our attorneys speak Spanish, and we offer translations for over 11 languages, including Russian, Polish, Portuguese, and more. We’re ready to get to work for you. 

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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.