Are You in Pain After a Car Accident?
Houston attorneys who will fight for your rights
When the force of a vehicle weighing several tons hits a human body, painful injuries are common. The collision itself may have been over in moments, but you might feel the effects in your body for days, weeks, months, or even longer.
It’s normal to feel pain after a car accident, but it’s not something you can ignore. Get checked out by a doctor right away. Even fairly minor pain or discomfort after a crash could be indicative of a deeper injury. Then, talk to a car accident attorney about your legal options.
Car wrecks can cause all types of pain
Some of the most common painful injuries after car accidents are neck injuries like whiplash. When a car comes to a rapid stop, the head keeps moving, and the violent forward and backward motion of the head can hyperextend the neck. Neck pain after being rear-ended, for example, is often a result of whiplash. Whiplash may go away on its own in some cases, but it can also lead to much more severe complications and even permanent damage.
Back pain after a car accident is another common consequence of a wreck. Since people in a car are usually in a seated position, the force of impact goes through the seat and into the back and torso. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower back may stretch or tear, leading to sprains, strains, low back pain and muscle spasms.
Bone pain is one of the most intense types of pain, and car accidents can break nearly any bone in the body depending on the location of impact. Lacerations from broken glass and sharp objects can also be intensely painful. Other significant injuries that can be sustained in car crashes include burns, skin damage, and internal injuries. People also commonly experience shoulder, abdominal and stomach pain.
The dangers of delayed pain after a car accident
Not all the effects of a car accident injury are always felt right away after the wreck. When you’re involved in a car accident, your body’s acute stress response (the “flight or fight” reaction) causes your system to be flooded with adrenaline and noradrenaline. Among other things, this dulls your perception of pain. Furthermore, it takes time for symptoms like inflammation to set in, which again can lead to delayed pain after a car accident. Under some circumstances, you may not feel your back or neck pain for days or even weeks after the car accident.
This is dangerous for two reasons. First, pain is your body’s warning system letting you know that you have an injury. If you don’t notice the pain, you may have a hidden injury that’s getting worse on its own or is in danger of being aggravated if you’re involved in another accident. Second, if you don’t notice and document your pain for several days after the car accident, an insurance company might argue that you’re faking your symptoms or that something happened in the intervening time to cause them. In other words, this can jeopardize your claim to compensation.
This is why you need to see a doctor right away after a car crash and tell the doctor about all your symptoms, even minor pain or discomfort. You’re not being weak or needy; you’re giving a medical professional all the information they need to diagnose, treat and document your injuries. It’s also why you need to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Even if your injuries don’t seem serious now, you want to protect your rights in case you turn out to have more severe damage than you thought.
How pain affects car accident compensation
There are several ways your level of pain can affect the value of your car accident injury claim. First, your claim should cover the full cost of your medical expenses, which includes pain medication, treatment such as physical therapy to help you manage pain, surgery, and any reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the underlying condition. If you’re going to have chronic pain and need medication for the rest of your life, this can be quite significant.
Second, you can pursue compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident. This is a legal term for compensation for the cost of “going through” an injury-causing accident. There’s no set formula for pain and suffering awards in Texas; it’s a highly individualized matter that depends on how strong a case you can make to a jury.
If your pain affects your ability to do your job, then that should be taken into account for your award for lost wages and related expenses such as vocational training to help you change careers. More broadly, you should be compensated for every effect the pain caused by the accident has had on your quality of life. What happened wasn’t your fault, and under Texas law, you deserve to be made whole again.
Contact a Texas car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured
You’ve been hurt badly enough by the accident, and you shouldn’t get hurt again by the insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer at Smith & Hassler can listen to your story and build a case to pursue full value for your pain and suffering and other costs due to the car accident. That may include poring over medical documents, hiring expert witnesses, and helping you tell your side of the story in negotiations and, if necessary, at trial. We will investigate, negotiate, and pursue full compensation on your behalf while you focus on healing.
The key is to act fast. In Texas, the statute of limitations (legal deadline) for most car accident claims is two years from the date of the wreck, but you shouldn’t wait that long. We need to start our investigation as soon as possible before evidence disappears, and the sooner we get involved, the more effectively we can protect your rights. Schedule your free consultation with a Houston car accident attorney today.