After a crash, an initial assessment of the damage is key. You may check yourself for injuries as well as look at the impact on your car and any others involved. During this initial assessment, you may not seem injured — does this mean you can skip a visit to the doctor and focus on other details?
Unfortunately, things may not be as they seem. The symptoms of some serious injuries may not appear for hours, days or even weeks after a crash.
1. Brain injuries
As the Mayo Clinic notes, crashes are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Subtler symptoms like confusion, emotional changes or changes to your sleep patterns may take time to identify. Other symptoms like dizziness, headache or blurred vision may take hours or days to appear.
2. Internal bleeding
Injuries deep inside your body may not be immediately apparent, but internal bleeding makes itself known over time. Dark bruises, abdominal pain, swelling and lightheadedness can all indicate that you need medical intervention immediately to treat these serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
3. Injuries to the neck, back or spine
While damage to your nervous system does not necessarily involve a visible wound, these injuries can still have serious results. You may experience pain, stiffness or limited range of motion, numbness, tingling or a variety of other symptoms.
While these injuries may take time to appear, they are still serious injuries that deserve medical attention. Visiting a doctor as soon as possible after a crash can help you identify these injuries, get the treatment you need and create documentation linking them to the crash.