The average number of car accidents per year is approximately six million, and approximately three million individuals are injured in those collisions. While car accidents are common, they can be terrifying and leave you confused, anxious and overwhelmed. Most people feel unsettled even following a minor “fender-bender.” If the accident was not catastrophic, most people refuse the offer to call an ambulance and believe they have no injuries. However, injuries from car accidents often do not appear immediately, and it is imperative that you are seen as soon as possible by a medical professional.

Car Accidents and Adrenaline

Even in minor accidents, the human body releases epinephrine (or adrenaline) as a fight or flight response to the event. This hormone suppresses pain receptors, making you feel as if you have no pain. Therefore, you may feel perfectly fine after a car accident, and only after the adrenaline subsides and your body calms down, do you realize that you are in pain.

A lot of force is transferred when vehicles collide, even if the accident is minor. Waiting for this hormone to subside, instead of seeking the expertise of a medical professional immediately, can be detrimental to both your health and your personal injury lawsuit.

How Long Should You Wait

Seeking medical attention in the case of a car accident is a time-sensitive issue. Seek the advice of a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible after any accident. The best course of action would be to have a medical professional examine you immediately or at least the same day. At the very latest, you should not wait more than 72 hours to be evaluated for your personal injuries. Some medical issues can be identified by a doctor or medical professional without you noticing symptoms, such as:

  • Internal bleeding

Doctors can often determine if someone has internal bleeding that is not perceptible to the untrained eye. Evaluation by a medical professional can ensure proper and quick treatment for this serious condition.

  • Fractures

Bones (as well as muscles) may hurt after a car accident, but a medical professional will be able to determine if those aches and pains are minor, or are fractures of your bones, which need to be treated immediately.

  • Concussion

Typical symptoms of concussions can be the inability to concentrate, blurred vision, dizziness and nausea, lack of energy, confused or clouded thinking, difficulty remembering information, headache, or changes in sleep patterns.

  • Soft-tissue injuries (oftentimes “whiplash”)

Specifically, in the case of soft-tissue injuries, pain may not be noticeable until much later. It may take days, or even weeks to show pain. Getting properly evaluated will not only aid your recovery, but can demonstrate to the court that your injuries occurred as a direct result of the car accident, and someone else’s negligence.

While having a medical professional evaluate your physical and mental condition is important to your health, it can also preserve any legal claim you may have regarding the car accident and your personal injury, and allow you to receive the maximum amount of compensation you are legally entitled to.

Do NOT Settle Immediately After A Car Accident

Attorneys for insurance companies are working hard for their side and may attempt to have you sign a release exculpating them from any kind of liability. Insurance companies may even attempt to entice you to sign by offering you a lump-sum compensation. Never sign a release with an insurance company without being seen by a doctor or medical professional and speaking with a personal injury attorney.

You should wait until your doctor or medical professional has completely cleared you from any kind of injury resulting from the car accident before you consider settling with the insurance company. If you sign a release, you are waiving all of your legal rights to pursue compensation that you may be owed due to the negligence of another party. Contacting a car accident attorney will help you understand your rights and assist you in your personal injury case to receive the compensation you are owed.

Contact an Attorney

A collision between vehicles can be physically damaging, even if symptoms do not appear right away.  It is important to visit a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible to get the best care and establish the best foundation of evidence for your personal injury claim.

Additionally, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after the car accident.  An experienced car accident attorney can assess your case and determine what legal actions you may have. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in the Houston, Texas area, contact a Houston accident lawyer at (832) 761-9306 to begin discussing your options, rights, and concerns.