Whether commuting to work, running errands, going on vacation or merely cruising on a sunny afternoon, driving is a convenient way to get around. For many, it’s almost second nature, and most people don’t expect to be involved in an accident. Nonetheless, there are thousands of accidents across the Nation every day, sometimes leading to serious injuries and death.
Being in an automobile accident is a frightening experience, and victims are often not immediately aware of their injuries because of shock. In the minutes after an accident, many people may feel all right, or think they haven’t been injured at all. Then, symptoms such as pain, discomfort, dizziness and numbness appear, sometimes days or weeks later.
What to do After an Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing to do is stay calm and don’t panic. Although you may feel as if you haven’t been injured, it is crucial to immediately seek medical attention. Not only is this the best way to get needed treatment, it will help to build your case if you decide to pursue an injury claim. Ultimately, delaying medical care may worsen your condition and make it harder to prove that the accident caused the injuries.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Even a minor fender bender can lead to a serious injury and one of the most common is whiplash. This results from a sudden force that causes the neck to stretch or twist and abruptly snap back into place. Whiplash can cause damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, or vertebrae in the neck or back or injure the spinal cord. While many victims suffer chronic pain, whiplash can also lead to permanent injuries to the neck, spine or extremities if it is not properly treated.
For this reason, it is crucial to be examined by a doctor or chiropractor who has expertise in diagnosing and treating these injuries. These medical professionals can readily assess soft tissue damage, joint and nerve function, muscle strength and range of motion. By making certain chiropractic adjustments, bones can be restored to their proper position which allows the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints to heal.
Further, car accidents also often lead to injuries in the lower back, such as sprains, herniated discs, or fractured vertebrae. A force to the spine resulting from a collision can lead to severe pain and significantly limit a victim’s mobility. After making a diagnosis, chiropractors can perform adjustments to help the spine work correctly, enable the nervous system to function properly, heal disc and soft tissue damage, and alleviate pain.
In addition, accident victims are also prone to brain and head injuries, ranging from mild concussions to skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Concussions are the result of the brain striking against the skull. While these injuries are often hard to diagnose, concussions can often be treated with rest and over the counter pain medication. On the other hand, more significant brain injuries can lead to bleeding, swelling or tissue damage that require extensive medical treatment.
Other Steps to Take After an Accident
Obviously it is important to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional immediately after an automobile accident. It is crucial not only for your health, but also because many state’s impose strict time limits for bringing injury claims. Moreover, in order to have a successful claim, it is essential to have sufficient evidence.
Building a case starts by taking detailed notes of your injuries and any treatment your receive from doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and any other medical professionals. In addition, you must retain receipts of prescribed medications and assistive devices such as crutches, copies of medical bills and any related expenses such as copayments. You should also keep copies of any correspondence with your medical team including emails, notes of phone calls and medical appointments. Lastly, you should document your injuries and treatment in a journal, and record details of your pain, suffering and any hardship you endured.
In the end, the best way to avoid automobile accidents is to drive safely, obey traffic laws, and wear a safety belt. In the event of an accident, however, seek medical attention as soon as possible; your well being matters more than anything else.