Injuries, whether they’re from a car accident or from slipping on some ice, can be complex. You may feel immediate pain in some places, but sometimes, symptoms do not present themselves until a week or two later. If you thought you had no injuries, you probably didn’t think about filing a claim or lawsuit. But now that your back is hurting, you have severe headaches, or you have numbness and tingling, you’re starting to wonder if maybe you should.
There are several types of injuries that are known for having delayed symptoms. Just because they are delayed does not mean that they are not a result of the accident, though insurance companies may try to convince the court otherwise. This is when you need an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer who knows about delayed symptoms, and knows exactly how the accident you were in could have caused those injuries.
What injuries have delayed symptoms?
Common injuries that can present with delayed symptoms include:
- When your head is hit by, or hits, an object at force, this can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The severity of TBIs can range from mild to moderate to severe. Concussions are a mild form of TBI, but they are known for not always being immediately noticeable, with some symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia.
- When the head and neck are whipped back and forth violently, the muscles, soft tissues, vertebrae, and nerves can be damaged. You may not feel immediate symptoms, and neck pain, pain that radiates down the neck to the shoulder, headaches, numbness and tingling can all make themselves known a week or two later.
- Organ damage. Whether it’s from a car accident where the belt or steering wheel impacted your abdomen, or an injury you suffered at work, the organs are a vulnerable spot of the body. If an organ, such as your liver or kidney, is damaged, you may not see symptoms until a few days later when the damage worsens due to going unnoticed. That is when you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bruising, dizziness and fainting spells. These are often symptomatic of internal bleeding and it is important that you seek medical attention immediately.
- Spinal Spinal injuries can include back pain, muscle spasms, loss of spinal mobility, tingling, stiffness, and numbness. This is another injury that, if you notice symptoms of, you should have seen by a medical professional quickly.
- Emotional trauma. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that your mental health is any less important than your physical health. Often, the two go hand-in-hand. When you have been in a harrowing accident, it is only natural that you may feel the effects of the accident not only through physical injuries, but emotional ones too. You may experience depression, anxiety, and PTSD after the accident. These symptoms may hit you not directly after the accident, but weeks later, and they affect you for years to come. Depression and anxiety can be debilitating. When you are depressed, focusing becomes difficult. You may lose motivation for many things in your life, including activities you used to enjoy. If you’re able to continue working, work itself may worsen your depression, and it is possible you very well may lose your job if you cannot keep up with your workload due to your depression.
If you feel any symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, neck pain, back pain, or changes in behavior even two weeks after your accident, it is important to not only seek medical attention, but also the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Can an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer help me weeks after my accident?
Yes, we can. Under §12-95 of the Oklahoma civil procedure statute, you may file for a personal injury lawsuit up to two years after the date of the accident that caused the injury. But there are a few steps that you should take in any collision, even if you think you’re not injured. The insurance companies will try to blame your delayed symptoms on some other injury altogether unrelated to the accident, so this can help you in the long run.
- Report the accident. If you haven’t already, make sure you have filed a police report on the accident, and that you have reported the accident to your insurance company. (Legally, you have to do this after a car accident if someone was hurt and/or there was at least $300 worth of property damage.) This is critical and should be done as soon as possible.
- See a doctor. It is important to see a doctor as soon as you can after your accident, even if you don’t think you have sustained any injuries. If you didn’t see a doctor directly after your accident, it is important to see one as soon as possible. The insurance companies you deal with will want to see the medical documentation of your injury, so make sure you get a copy of that.
- Hire a personal injury lawyer. When it comes to delayed injuries that come from your accident, it means that the process of getting compensation on your injuries is going to be even trickier. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will know how to navigate the process, and your chances at compensation will greatly increase.
Car accidents, or any sort of accident for that matter, may seem relatively straight forward. If you’re injured, you’re injured. If you’re not, you’re not – until you begin to feel symptoms of an injury a week later, and then that line becomes blurred. If you were in an accident, and you believe you are experiencing delayed symptoms from an injury you suffered from that accident, call Cunningham & Mears in Oklahoma City. We have the resources and skill to ensure that every option is explored, and every piece of evidence is provided, so that you can get the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer, please call (405) 232-1212 or complete our contact form.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More