Most of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are full of impressive safety features. Yet, car accidents remain one of the more common causes of serious injury in the U.S. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, doctors evaluate and treat roughly 4.8 million accident-associated injuries every year.
While some accident-related injuries show up immediately and are impossible to ignore, many others have delayed symptoms. Consequently, you might not realize you have suffered an injury in a motor vehicle crash until hours, days or even weeks after the accident.
Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, are some of the more common ones in car accidents. These injuries, however, often are not uncomfortable until swelling appears. As a result, it may take a few hours after a crash to know whether you have soft tissue injuries.
Spinal column injuries
You have soft disks between each of the bones in your spinal column. Not only do these disks cushion your vertebrae, but they also help to facilitate the movement of your upper body. While car accidents can cause disks to move or break, you might not have back pain or other symptoms for days or even weeks.
Traumatic brain injuries
Car accidents are a primary cause of traumatic brain injuries. TBIs are dangerous, of course, as they can have potentially life-threatening complications. Still, the headaches, dizziness, balance issues and nausea that often accompany TBIs might not show up immediately after an accident.
Ultimately, because early diagnosis and treatment are beneficial for all accident-related injuries, it is advisable to go to the emergency room for an examination even if you feel mostly fine.