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Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries in the United States. They can cause broken bones, concussions, cuts, bruises, and soft tissue injuries, among others. Unfortunately, in addition to being physically dangerous, car accidents are psychologically exciting, which means that they can leave us feeling so anxious and filled with adrenaline that we don’t immediately notice our injuries.

Here’s the problem: when you’re in a car accident, all the legal experts recommend seeing a doctor immediately to ensure that you receive a prompt diagnosis of any accident-related injuries. When your injuries don’t appear immediately, though, that can lead to difficulties linking those complaints to your accident.

That’s why it’s important for both individuals and their legal teams to recognize what types of injuries take time to show up after an accident. This knowledge can protect your case and help accident victims fight for full compensation.

The Problem Of Whiplash

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury affecting the muscles of the neck, and it is one of the most common car accident injuries, in part because it can happen even at low speeds; whiplash is also particularly common in rear-end collisions. What makes whiplash significantly different from a bone break or other immediately evident injury, though, is that it can take time for the pain to emerge, which means it may not be caught during an initial exam.

Is there a way to catch whiplash sooner, rather than waiting for the pain to emerge? Ideally, early x-rays, CT, or MRI can detect signs of whiplash. Such early identification not only makes it easier for your lawyer to link your whiplash injury to your car accident, but it also means that you can begin receiving proper treatment earlier, preventing lasting pain and disability.

Detecting Psychological Damage

While injuries like whiplash are infamously hard to diagnose because of delayed onset, they’re hardly the only type of car accident injury that can take time to emerge. Other injuries, particularly psychological damage like injury-related anxiety and PTSD, can take months to diagnose. What, then, are you supposed to do? As one Waukegan accident lawyer notes, in order to account for the delayed emergence of symptoms, your lawyer needs to perform a thorough investigation, which includes researching the long-term impacts of being in a car accident.

One way that lawyers develop a case despite delayed diagnosis is by working closely with medical experts. For example, your treating psychologist or psychiatrist may be able to attest to the development of PTSD related to your car accident, while a more general expert may testify to the greater patterns of mental health issues related to car accidents. Having a strong stable of experts can make a big difference in the success of your case.

Why Delays Matter

Why does it matter that your car accident-related injury doesn’t receive a prompt diagnosis if that’s normal for the particular condition? That may seem strange, given the normal pattern of the injuries, but the opposing legal team will always use delays to their advantage because delays break the causal chain. How can you know, they’ll argue, that the injury was caused by the car accident when you could have incurred the injury some other way in the intervening days or weeks? The opposing lawyer will use this against you, but your lawyer can help you connect the dots.

Whiplash and psychological issues are just two of the common car accident injuries that can take time to diagnose, so it’s important to keep track of the progression of your health issues. Such careful recordkeeping, along with a determined lawyer, can help ensure your case is successful. It’s all about having the right information on your side.

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