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Don’t Ignore Fever After a Car Accident

It could be an underlying sign that you are seriously injured

A car accident can leave victims with many types of injuries that have a significant impact on their lives. Some injuries are obvious, such as broken bones, burns, and cuts. Others are not obvious. That’s why paying attention to any symptoms you experience after a crash is important. One of those symptoms is fever.

Fever is the body’s defense mechanism and is part of the body’s overall immune response. If you have a fever following a car accident, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Left untreated, an injury could get worse and, in some cases, be life-threatening. That’s why it’s essential to take a fever seriously and get medical attention as soon as possible.

Why do people get fevers after car accidents?

You may get a fever within hours of a car accident – or several days later. Fever can also range in severity. There are low-grade (99.1 to 100.4° F), moderate-grade (100.6 to 102.2° F), and high-grade (102.4 to 105.8° F) fevers. But any fever after a crash – with or without other symptoms – should not be ignored. It could be a sign of:

  • Internal bleeding: Fever following a car accident could be a sign of internal bleeding, a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. Internal bleeding occurs when blood vessels inside the body are damaged, leading to blood leakage into surrounding tissues or body cavities. However, symptoms are often delayed. If left untreated, internal bleeding can lead to shock, organ damage, or even death. Internal bleeding can occur as a result of injuries to the spleen, liver, kidneys, intestines, bladder, or aorta.
  • Infection: Open wounds or fractures sustained during the accident provide entry points for bacteria or pathogens. The body raises its temperature to create an inhospitable environment for these pathogens and activates the immune system to fight off the infection.
  • Inflammation: Fever might be a sign of inflammation that is part of the body’s natural response to trauma. Injuries sustained in the accident can trigger inflammation as the immune system works to repair damaged tissues. Mild inflammation is a normal part of the healing process; excessive or prolonged inflammation can delay recovery and contribute to complications.

What other symptoms can accompany fever after a car accident?

You may also experience other signs of injury. Here are some symptoms that can accompany fever:

Signs of Internal Injuries

  • Intense and persistent pain, especially in the abdomen, chest, or pelvis.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • External bleeding from the nose, ears, or other areas, depending on the injury.
  • Confusion, disorientation, or loss of consciousness.

Signs of Inflammation

  • Increased pain or swelling around the injury site, possibly accompanied by redness and warmth.
  • Reduced flexibility and difficulty moving the injured area.
  • Fatigue and muscle aches.

Signs of Infection

  • Chills and sweats.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pus or drainage from a wound site.
  • Redness and increased swelling in the injured area.

How is the cause of a fever diagnosed and treated?

If you were in a car accident, be sure to get medical attention – even if you feel fine. You could have injuries with delayed symptoms. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and begin treatment.

If you have a fever, a doctor will ask you some questions, such as how long you’ve had it and whether you had other symptoms. Your temperature and vital signs will be taken. The doctor will ask about any injuries or pre-existing conditions you have. Next, the doctor will conduct a physical examination to look for signs of inflammation, infection, or injury.

Some diagnostic tests may also be ordered. Depending on your situation, these could include blood tests to look for signs of inflammation, X-rays or CT scans to check for internal injuries, and other tests. These can help the doctor identify the source of your fever.

Treatment for fever depends on the underlying cause:

  • Infection: Antibiotics are often prescribed to target the specific infection. The choice of antibiotic depends on the type of bacteria and the severity of the infection. In some cases, draining abscesses or surgically removing infected tissue might be necessary.
  • Inflammation: Medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe a short course of corticosteroids. Physical therapy can help reduce stiffness and improve mobility in areas affected by inflammation.
  • Internal injuries: Pain medications may be prescribed. Internal bleeding or organ damage often requires surgery to repair the injury and control bleeding. After surgery or other treatments, physical and occupational therapy can help regain strength, mobility, and function.

It’s also important to see a doctor if you have a fever after an injury has been diagnosed and treated. It could be a sign of complications.

Can I recover financial compensation for a fever after an accident?

While it is unlikely that you can recover compensation for the fever itself, you may be able to recover compensation for the underlying cause of the fever. Examples include internal injuries suffered in a car accident, infections that occurred as a result of the injury, and any complications you experienced.

If a negligent driver caused the accident that left you injured, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. You can seek damages for all medical expenses related to your injury, including treatment of the fever you experienced. Other damages may include lost wages if you couldn’t work, and pain and suffering.

However, negligent drivers often deny responsibility, even if they were clearly speeding, texting, or engaging in other dangerous behavior. They may even try to blame you.

Insurance companies may also dispute the extent of your injuries to try to limit the amount of compensation you receive. They often offer a settlement soon after the car accident, promising quick payment. However, these initial settlement offers typically fall far short of covering all of the damages suffered.

Do I need a lawyer?

There is no requirement to have legal representation when seeking financial compensation after a car accident. However, it is usually in your best interests to have a lawyer. Insurance companies handle car accident claims every day and have the advantage. They use many different tactics to try to justify paying you less.

An experienced car accident lawyer will know these tactics and how to fight back. An attorney can also determine the total value of the damages you suffered in the crash and guide you through the legal process every step of the way.

How can a lawyer help?

Many car accident cases are complex, and dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and confusing. An experienced car accident lawyer can:

  • Gather evidence to support your claim.
  • Interview witnesses.
  • Consult experts who can help prove negligence.
  • Handle all communication with the insurance company.
  • Negotiate a settlement that meets your needs.
  • Fight for you in court, if needed.

If you were hurt in a crash in Texas and experienced fever as a symptom of a serious injury, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Smith & Hassler fights for the injured in the Houston area and has a long history of getting results. Our dedicated legal team is ready to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact our Houston law firm today to schedule a free consultation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, "Don’t Ignore Fever After a Car Accident."

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