Checking yourself and the passengers in your vehicle for injury is often the first thing you do after a major crash. Making sure everyone is awake and able to walk may be your first concern. You might also check for signs of bleeding, bruising or broken bones.
However, you might not notice the signs of injuries that could have lifelong consequences or that could potentially claim your life. Two of the most serious injuries that people suffer after a collision might not have obvious symptoms at the scene of the crash.
Head injuries can take days to produce symptoms
Traumatic brain injuries and concussions happen frequently in car crashes. You might strike your head on part of the vehicle or just endure violent shaking as part of the crash. If your brain bruises, bleeds or swells up, you may start developing symptoms sometime after the crash.
Headaches, sensory issues, dizziness and sleep disruption are all warning signs that you may have hurt your brain. Anyone who loses consciousness during a crash is also at risk. Brain injuries get worse if left untreated, which means that a quick diagnosis can improve your prognosis.
Abdominal bleeding may not seem obvious at first either
Internal abdominal bleeding can cause severe pain, anemia and even death. You could lose a life-threatening amount of blood without it ever actually leaving your body.
However, internal bleeding isn’t always obvious at first. If you or anyone else in the vehicle took a blow to the abdomen or feel tenderness around where the lap belt restrained you, those could be warning signs that you might have abdominal bleeding.
Rather than waiting to see if things get worse, if there is any reason to suspect a brain injury or internal abdominal bleeding, it is usually best to see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. If there are no signs of injury, you will know with confidence that you have a clean bill of health. If you are hurt, seeing a doctor now could mean that you heal better and avoid the worst risks. It might also make it easier for you to get compensation for your injuries.