What if my accident injuries don’t show up right away?
After a car accident, your priority should be to ensure you and your passengers are safe. If anyone in your vehicle has sustained injuries, seeking the appropriate treatment should be the first thing on your list. Many injuries, like cuts and broken bones, are immediately obvious to you and any medical professional that treats you.
Unfortunately, not all car accident injuries are immediately identifiable. Often, these injuries only become apparent days, weeks, or even years after a crash. There is no way to predict when they might occur, as no two traffic accidents are the same. The injuries you suffer could be dramatically different compared to another person.
While there is always a road to recovery, they can, however, provide a real legal challenge. There are strict deadlines for the filing of any suit, and a delayed discovery of an injury could limit your ability to seek compensation. Thankfully, a New York Car Accident Attorney might be able to help.
Injuries that develop over time
Some injuries simply do not develop right away. This is especially common with soft tissue injuries. The term can be misleading, as it also includes severe injuries like whiplash which are not related to damage in the bone. Other examples of soft tissue include muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
There is a tremendous amount of force generated by a car accident. This is true even when both vehicles are moving at a relatively slow speed. These collisions can put tremendous pressure on the human body, which can strain vulnerable soft tissue areas.
In some cases, your body will attempt to address an injury on its own. This often involves masking the pain and stress of an accident with adrenaline. Adrenaline does not reduce the impact, however. When the adrenaline runs out, the injuries you did not notice will suddenly become acute.
Inflammation is another common factor. Some injuries occur immediately, but only result in swelling or inflammation as time goes on. It is not uncommon for a person to go to sleep the night of an accident feeling fine, only to wake to debilitating pain the next day.
Injuries that are hard to detect
In addition to soft tissue injuries that become worse over time, other conditions are simply difficult to identify. The most common example of these conditions is traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The most common form of TBI is a concussion.
These do not respond like most other injuries. The symptoms are often hard to identify, and they can differ dramatically from one person to another. They can include subtle shifts in a person’s personality or mood that might initially be difficult to link to a head injury.
Over time, however, they can be debilitating. This is especially true if you receive a second concussion in short order after the first. Given the difficultly of diagnosing these symptoms, it could be a long time before you are aware that your medical issues resulted from your car accident.
How an attorney can help
The problem with these injuries is that they can lead to a significant delay in filing a civil lawsuit. In every jurisdiction, there are laws regarding the time limit to file a lawsuit which are known as the statute of limitations. If you file a lawsuit after this deadline expires, you could forever lose the right to file a claim. Thankfully, most states have some exceptions to the statute. In many cases, these are only available under limited circumstances. To discuss whether your late-developing injuries could fall under these exceptions, contact Douglas and London right away.