How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

April 22, 2020 | David Abels
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury? A car accident happens in a second, yet your injuries may not become unbearable until later. That’s why if you sustain injuries you should see a medical provider within a day or two after the accident, but preferably the same day.

Types of Injuries That Can Exhibit Delayed Symptoms

A sudden and traumatic accident can result in such an adrenaline rush that it masks any symptoms of a serious injury. You may breathe a sigh of relief that you only have a headache or stiff neck, not realizing that both are signs of something requiring medical attention. Here are just a few examples of what can result from a car accident without exhibiting any immediate symptoms: Internal injuries - Perhaps the most dangerous injuries are the ones that show no visible symptoms. Internal injuries, particularly internal bleeding, are extremely dangerous and often life-threatening. Internal bleeding occurs when damage to an artery or vein allows blood to collect inside the body. Symptoms may only appear when the blood compresses an organ, preventing it from functioning properly. Other symptoms of internal bleeding include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rectal bleeding or blood urine
  • Lightheadedness
Doctors may use lab tests, imaging tests, or both to diagnose internal bleeding. The risk of internal bleeding is why you need immediate medical attention following an accident. Despite feeling only moderate pain, you might have a serious injury hiding in your body. Concussion - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a concussion as a form of traumatic brain injury. Any bump, blow, or jolt to the head can result in a concussion that may not exhibit symptoms until much later. Symptoms that signal a concussion include:
  • Drowsiness or an inability to stay awake
  • Uncharacteristic behavior, including confusion or bouts of anger
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea, vomiting, or convulsions
The headache that won’t go away after a blow to the head may, in fact, signal a serious concussion. If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms following a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. Neck and back injuries - The forceful impact of a rear-end collision can also injure disks in the back, bones in the spine, and your neck muscles. Severe neck or back pain following a car accident might signal more than just a simple soft tissue injury, and it’s possible to exhibit additional serious symptoms long after the accident. Spinal injuries in particular are highly serious, and need medical evaluation as soon as possible. Despite the understandable desire to hope the pain goes away on its own after a car accident, refusing medical care can not only leave you with future health complications, but can also make future litigation difficult. Always accept medical transport to a hospital following an accident if the EMTs offer it, then contact a car wreck lawyer to discuss the circumstances of your accident.

How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help

When you experience an injury that results in delayed symptoms, it can make negotiating a settlement challenging, but not impossible. Insurance companies might resist paying out the full value of your claim and question why you didn’t document your injuries sooner. When you experience injuries with delayed symptoms due to no fault of your own, you deserve justice. A car crash attorney can negotiate on your behalf, and if your attorney can’t reach an out-of-court settlement, he or she should prepare to take your case to trial. Generally, the statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims in Illinois is two years, but in certain claims the statute only provides one year, so consult an attorney immediately. The clock starts ticking the moment you sustain your injury. The statute of limitations is the formal, legal deadline you must meet to seek compensation. As a practical matter, however, your deadline is much sooner. For example, evidence and witnesses that can support your claim can disappear. Seeking immediate medical attention following a car accident is important for your health. Further, documentation of your injuries by a medical professional can serve as important evidence in your case. Waiting to talk to a doctor, however, can cause the insurance company to allege that some intervening event caused your injuries, not your accident. This makes time of the essence for contacting a car accident lawyer. Most injury lawyers offer free case evaluations. You have nothing to lose by learning your options for moving forward. If an insurance company offers you a settlement, don’t sign it without consulting an experienced attorney first. While the settlement offer may seem like a large amount to you and your family, chances are it isn’t enough to cover your medical needs. Insurance companies like to settle cases quickly and for the least amount possible. They are looking out for their company’s bottom lines and not for you. Don’t speak with insurance representatives without securing legal representation, and don’t try to negotiate with them on your own. Insurance companies are too highly skilled at what they do. Trying to handle your case alone will only leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed, and most of the time you will damage your own case. Leave dealing with insurance companies and fighting to recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries to a car accident lawyer. Personal injury attorneys understand the law and how insurance companies work. Having a lawyer on your side means someone is protecting your best interests. Dealing with your injuries and adjusting to the changes in your life takes time. Pursuing a fair settlement also takes time. Trying to do both at the same time is nearly impossible, especially when you have no or little experience and you're up against a skilled insurance adjuster. That’s why you need a personal injury lawyer. No one should suffer out-of-pocket expenses and financial stress due to the negligent actions of another driver. If this happened to you, give careful thought to discussing your case with an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact an attorney to determine your eligibility to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Securing the services of a personal injury lawyer can provide you with peace of mind during this difficult time. By scheduling a free case evaluation, you can determine if you have a case and what your options are for pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Abels & Annes 100 N LaSalle St #1710 Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 924-7575
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David Abels


David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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