Many car accident injuries are immediately obvious. You may notice pain, swelling or bleeding right away. Other injuries, however, can remain hidden or have delayed symptoms that don’t arise until hours or even days later. This is especially common after a traumatic accident, as your adrenaline can mask pain. It is still possible to recover compensation for delayed car accident injuries in Texas if you take the correct steps.
Common Delayed Injuries in a Car Accident
Many different types of injuries to various parts of the body can have delayed symptoms. Some injuries may not show immediate signs due to your adrenaline, while others may slowly cause more damage over time, leading to more noticeable symptoms a few hours or days after your car accident.
Examples of car accident injuries that can come with delayed symptoms include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back pain
- Herniated or ruptured disks
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Muscle strains or sprains
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
The possibility of delayed injuries or injuries without immediate symptoms is why it is critical to go to a hospital right away after a car accident, even if you feel fine. If you suffer bleeding or swelling in the brain, for example, your brain injury may not show symptoms until the situation is dire. Prompt medical care can allow a doctor to quickly diagnose your injury and begin treatment – preventing more serious symptoms or even saving your life.
How Long After an Accident Can I File a Claim for Injuries?
In Texas, the statute of limitations on all personal injury claims, including car accident cases, is two years (Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003). In general, you have two years from the date your car accident took place to file the paperwork for an injury claim.
Although it is important to file within your two-year deadline, you also do not want to file too quickly. You must fully understand your injuries and how they will impact your future before completing your claim. If you move too quickly to answer an insurance company’s questions or settle your claim, you may accept less than you deserve for your injuries and future medical care.
Do not settle your injury claim after a car accident right away. Instead, wait a few days to see how you feel. You may notice delayed symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, swelling, numbness or tingling later. Wait until you have visited a doctor and are sure you do not have any additional injuries with hidden or delayed symptoms before accepting a settlement.
Can I Recover Compensation for Delayed Injuries?
Yes, you can recover financial compensation for delayed injuries after a car accident. Although insurance companies often require claimants to report car accidents within 24 to 72 hours, you have more time to report whether or not you are injured. It is important, however, to take certain steps to protect your right to recover in the meantime.
An insurance company will look for any chance it has to diminish or deny a payout. If you wait too long to see a doctor, this can give the insurance company a reason to blame you for failing to mitigate your losses or allege that you suffered your injuries in an accident other than the crash. If you speak too quickly and tell the insurance representative that you didn’t suffer any injuries, only to discover injuries later, this could also hurt your chances of recovery by positioning you as an unreliable witness.
When speaking to an insurance claims adjuster, do not answer any questions about your injuries until you have seen a doctor and confirmed whether or not you are injured. Rather than giving the adjuster a recorded statement over the phone, submit a written statement later with help from a San Antonio car accident lawyer. If the insurance company tries to take advantage of you or wrongfully deny your injury claim due to delayed symptoms, a lawyer can help you fight for a fair recovery.