Experienced Local Attorneys

Why people may overlook injuries after being involved in a car wreck

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Most people likely don’t have a plan for how they might handle a collision caused by another driver. Despite the lack of advanced planning, many motorists engage in the same conduct immediately after a crash. They instinctively check themselves and then the other people in the vehicle for signs of serious injuries.

They may then relay any concerns that arise during that cursory analysis to whoever answers the phone when they call to report the incident to local authorities. Although most people check for physical injuries, many people only discover their injuries the next day or even later after a crash.

Why is it so easy for people to fail to notice physical injuries following motor vehicle collisions?

Injuries may inspire delayed symptoms

Some of the worst injuries possible after a car crash aren’t physically visible. Someone with a severe fracture might feel intense pain and notice the distortion of the injured body part. However, someone experiencing internal bleeding may not have any significant symptoms until their blood loss reaches a dangerous point.

Brain injuries, internal bleeding caused by safety restraints and even certain types of fractures are easy to overlook after a crash because of the lack of immediate symptoms. Without a medical professional conducting a thorough evaluation, the average person may not notice the warning signs of these potentially serious injuries until their symptoms worsen.

The stress response hides symptoms

The human stress response, which people call the fight-or-flight response, is a powerful chemical reaction. The brain responds to stress or trauma by helping the body survive. It does this by giving someone a boost of energy to fight off or flee a predator.

The chemical reaction that occurs during the stress response also covers up the sensation of pain. People in life-and-death scenarios can sometimes extricate themselves and their loved ones because of how their bodies help them overlook their physical limitations.

It may be hours later when the chemical reaction subsides that they begin to feel intense pain and muscular tension. While that stress response could save someone’s life in an emergency, it also prevents them from recognizing the signs of a serious injury.

Given how easy it is for the average person to overlook the warning signs of conditions that could worsen without treatment, people may need to see a doctor after a crash that disables their vehicle or causes injuries to other people. A doctor can diagnose someone with certain injuries or rule out others.

Vehicle occupants who receive a rapid diagnosis after a crash are in a better position if they need to seek compensation from the driver at fault. Realizing how easy it is to overlook potentially serious injuries can help people better respond to a recent wreck, both medically and legally.