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What are delayed symptoms from a car accident?

When you're in a car accident, you'll know if you're hurt initially. You may feel sore from bruising or know you're bleeding from lacerations. What you may not be aware of are injuries that you'll suddenly discover or develop after the initial injuries are suffered. You may find that you have delayed symptoms, so it's harder to know how badly you were hurt.

For example, if you're in a car that stops quickly, the belt may cut into you and cause bruising. Initially, the burst of adrenaline you face may cover the fact that you're in pain. Later, once you're calm, you may find it hard to breathe or find that your chest hurts badly. That's when you may discover the bruising.

It's also not uncommon to leave the scene of an accident thinking you're okay but finding you aren't later on. For instance, if you suffer whiplash, you may not feel the swelling or tension from the injury to your neck initially. However, after you have a night to rest, the stiffening of muscles and development of inflammation can be a shock in the morning. That's why some people think they're fine following an accident and refuse treatment, even though they have suffered a relatively serious injury that needs treatment hours or days later.

When the body is in pain or overly stressed, endorphins are released. This helps the body manage that pain and stress, but it can also cover injuries. Once endorphins reduce in the body, pain may return. This is why it's always important to go to the hospital and speak with your attorney following an accident; you may find you need medical treatment and information on making a claim when you didn't think you would.

Source: Ankeny Patch, "Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know," Dr. Aaron Martin, accessed Dec. 31, 2015

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