Exploring the Impact of Delayed Onset Injuries on Car Accident Claims
Accidents in Philadelphia can occur in a split second. Car accident victims are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. This is true even when you believe you are not injured or have suffered what seem to be only minor injuries. It isn’t uncommon for the symptoms of some injuries to show up hours or even days after a car accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and are wondering ‘how long after a car accident can injuries appear’ you should seek medical attention right away. We at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin have witnessed cases where car accident victims failed to recover compensation because they took too long to seek treatment for their injuries. Below, we discuss how some injuries take longer to manifest and how this can affect the success of your claim.
Common Delayed Onset Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Injuries that manifest late after a car accident, sometimes referred to as "delayed onset injuries," can significantly impact the legal aspects and success of a personal injury claim following a car accident. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can take hours, days, or even weeks to become noticeable. Common delayed onset injuries include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common delayed onset injuries after a car accident. It occurs when the head and neck are suddenly jerked forward and backward, causing strain or injury to the neck muscles, ligaments, or discs. Symptoms may not appear for several hours or even days and can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can take time to manifest. These injuries may result in chronic pain and discomfort that becomes evident in the days following the accident.
- Concussions: Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that can have delayed symptoms such as headaches, confusion, memory problems, and mood changes. Symptoms may not become apparent until hours or even days after the accident.
- Internal Injuries: Damage to internal organs, such as the spleen, liver, or kidneys, may not cause immediate symptoms. Internal bleeding can be life-threatening and may not be diagnosed until days after the accident.
- Psychological Trauma: Emotional and psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can also have a delayed onset. Victims may not realize the extent of their emotional distress until some time has passed.
- Fractures and Dislocations: Some fractures or dislocations, especially in small bones, may not be immediately evident and may only become apparent after the adrenaline from the accident has worn off.
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The Impact of Delayed Onset Injuries on Car Accident Claims
The impact of these delayed onset injuries on the legality and success of a personal injury claim can be significant:
- Causation Issues: Insurance companies may dispute the connection between the delayed injury and the accident, especially if there's a gap in time between the accident and the appearance of symptoms.
- Evidence Challenges: Gathering evidence to prove the connection between the accident and the injury can be more difficult as time passes. Medical records, photographs, and eyewitness accounts become less reliable.
- Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations (the time within which a legal action must be filed) may be an issue if an injury becomes apparent after the time limit has passed. This can severely impact the legal recourse available to the victim.
- Claims Adjusters: Insurance adjusters may attempt to minimize the value of your claim if you delay seeking medical treatment or if you don't promptly report the injury.
To protect your legal interests and ensure the success of your personal injury claim, it's crucial to seek prompt medical attention after a car accident, even if you don't immediately feel injured. Additionally, it's advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help navigate the legal complexities associated with delayed onset injuries and ensure that you have the necessary evidence to support your claim.
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How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help
An experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance in handling a personal injury claim, especially in cases involving delayed onset injuries after a car accident. They can assist you with:
- Understanding the Legal Process: Personal injury attorneys are well-versed in the legal process, including statutes of limitations, filing deadlines, and the intricacies of the legal system. They can ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and within the required timeframes.
- Thorough Investigation: Attorneys can conduct a comprehensive investigation into the accident, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts if necessary. This helps establish the causation between the accident and the delayed injuries.
- Medical Documentation: Experienced attorneys can work with medical professionals to document and establish a clear connection between the accident and the delayed injuries. This is critical for proving the extent of your injuries and their relation to the accident.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may try to offer low settlements or deny claims outright. Attorneys can negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Litigation if Necessary: If negotiations fail, a skilled attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court. They can build a compelling case, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence effectively to a judge and jury.
- Understanding Legal Principles: Personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable about relevant legal principles and can use them to your advantage. They understand liability, negligence, comparative fault, and other legal concepts that impact the outcome of your case.
- Mitigating Contributory Factors: In cases where the victim may have contributed to the accident or their injuries, an experienced attorney can help reduce potential liability and ensure that you still receive compensation.
- Navigating Complex Laws and Regulations: Personal injury law can be complex, with specific rules and regulations that vary by jurisdiction. Attorneys know how to navigate these intricacies to maximize your chances of a successful claim.
- Managing the Stress: Dealing with a personal injury claim can be emotionally and mentally challenging. An attorney can alleviate some of this stress by handling the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
- Maximizing Compensation: An experienced attorney can help you obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to, considering all your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
- Advocacy for the Future: If your delayed injuries result in long-term or permanent disability, an attorney can ensure that your future needs and ongoing medical care are accounted for in your settlement.
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Get the Help You Need
In cases involving delayed onset injuries, having a skilled attorney is particularly important because they can help establish the connection between the accident and the injuries, address the challenges related to the delayed symptoms, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin have successfully represented accident victims in some of the most complex cases. You can rely on us to provide expert guidance and advocacy to protect your legal rights and interests throughout the claims process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you.