Countless factors contribute to the severity of the injuries vehicle occupants suffer after a collision. From the speed of the vehicles to the angle of the collision, drivers and passengers can face catastrophic injuries and lifelong conditions. Unfortunately, many injuries can remain undiagnosed for hours, days or weeks after a crash.
It can be difficult to diagnose and treat an injury that remains undetected for such a long period after a vehicle crash. Numerous factors can mask an injury and its severity, including:
- The release of chemicals: In times of stress or injury, the body’s first attempt at protection generally involves the release of adrenaline. A surge of this hormone will often result in increased energy, increased oxygen flow, increased strength and reduced pain. Additionally, the body will release endorphins that act as an analgesic. Not only do they diminish the perception of pain, but they allow the victim to remain mentally in control of the situation.
- Physical reactions: In addition to being flooded with helpful chemicals, various body parts will react and protect themselves. For example, inflammation and swelling generally occur to provide additional support and protection to the impacted body part. A dramatic shift in momentum or the pressure of the physical restraints of the vehicle such as seatbelts could lead to damage. Inflammation, swelling and general body stiffness could all mask the symptoms and severity of the true injury.
Additionally, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) might not become apparent for quite some time. Damage to the brain’s function could occur gradually. While some symptoms such as blurred vision or cognitive impairment might be readily visible, other changes could occur later. Personality changes or mood swings could indicate damage to the brain but might not be recognizable for days after the crash.
After a motor vehicle collision, it is wise to seek a thorough medical examination. Even if you do not feel your injuries are significant, numerous factors might be masking the severity and extent of the damage you are facing.