Can You Judge The Severity Of Your Injuries At The Scene Of An Accident?

Accident scenes are hardly the best places to make calm and rational decisions. Car accidents are rare for most people, and getting hit by another driver can be particularly stressful. Modern vehicles contain many features to keep you safe, but even a minor accident can still expose your body to a surprisingly large amount of force. 

As you wait at the scene for the police to arrive, you may think you can evaluate your injuries. Are you in pain? Can you walk? Do you have any severe lacerations? While these can indicate significant injuries, you may not notice the effects of more subtle trauma immediately. Understanding how accident injuries may play out can be crucial to obtaining a settlement from the insurance company.

What Is Delayed Pain?

Certain types of injuries may not cause immediate pain. You might feel relatively fine after your accident, only to develop symptoms a few days later. Unfortunately, it's easy to misinterpret these delayed-onset symptoms as "normal" muscle soreness. Assuming that the pain will go away on its own can mean delaying treatment for far too long.

Adrenaline is another potential cause of delayed pain. The rush of adrenaline from the sudden stress of an accident can mask the pain from your injuries, leading you to believe that your injuries are less severe. The effects of adrenaline can last up to an hour, so you may not begin to feel aches, soreness, or other pain until after you return home.

How Does Delayed Pain Impact Your Settlement?

When you seek compensation from the insurance company for your injuries, they will often attempt to provide you with the lowest offer possible. Some insurance companies will also look for reasons to deny settlements. Refusing to seek medical care following an accident is one common reason for insurance companies to deny a claim or reduce their settlement.

In other words, it's critical to understand that you may not feel the full effects of your injuries at the scene of an accident. If you think you may have suffered injuries, it's essential to seek medical care as soon as possible. Likewise, you shouldn't ignore EMTs or other on-site medical personnel if they recommend that you seek care.

Many painful, long-term conditions may begin with seemingly minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Seeking immediate medical care, even if your injuries don't appear severe, can provide the evidence you need for a later insurance claim. You'll also get a headstart on your diagnosis and treatment, increasing your odds of a full recovery.

Since there are so many possible missteps after an accident, contacting a good personal injury attorney is crucial to receiving a fair settlement. An experienced attorney can use the information from your initial medical visits to evaluate the worth of your case and ensure you receive fair compensation from the at-fault party.

Contact a local law firm, such as Higinbotham & Higinbotham LLC, to learn more.