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Home 9 Car Accident Questions 9 I didn’t think I was hurt, but now I feel horrible. What do I do?

I didn’t think I was hurt, but now I feel horrible. What do I do?

Car accidents are unnerving. Even if its just a fender-bender, the blow happens out of the blue and can be devastating. There is a lot of force rendered when a 4,000 pound vehicle strikes another object.

Because car wrecks are traumatic, a person may not acknowledge an injury until the event is well-over. This is because bodies facing fear are pumping out adrenaline to increase energy and to minimize pain. Many people don’t feel pain directly after an accident.

“I’m just fine!” And a strong desire to leave the scene may overcome good judgement.
This doesn’t necessarily mean an individual is really fine. Once those chemicals released to compel survival start to wear off, pain can set in.


Whiplash is a well-known injury after an accident. Whiplash can take days or weeks to manifest. It is a soft-tissue injury so whiplash cannot be viewed on X-ray. Numbness in hands or arms is another late symptom of whiplash injury. This is an indication of injury to the neck or spine. Rear-end collisions often cause whiplash.


Concussion can have serious consequences, but may not present with unconsciousness or disorientation. Later a person may experience:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Foggy thinking
  • Difficulty remembering information
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Inability to stay awake during normal waking hours

Back pain

Back pain is another injury response that can take a week or more to manifest itself. It is common to feel a little stiff after an accident, so a person may ignore this until the pain becomes unbearable.

Abdominal swelling and pain

Large areas of bruising may occur hours or days after an accident. If internal bleeding is occurring, a life-threatening situation needs to be attended immediately through emergency medical treatment.


‘Feeling horrible’ with you-are-there memories and flashbacks is typical of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is just as intrusive and debilitating as a physical injury. Children are particularly vulnerable to PTSD.

Medical evaluation

It is very important to get a medical examination as soon as the police finish investigating an accident. The doctor will evaluate and document any injuries, as well as the potential for problems in the future. This is the most pertinent way to protect your interests. Many auto accident injuries need professional treatment to get better. Take responsibility for your well-being.

Release forms

An insurance company may attempt to get a release signed shortly after an accident. Many people find that, through a casual phone conversation with an adjuster, they lowered the value of their claim. Remember, the insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible. For their protection, insurance claims adjusters will often record phone conversations, so it is wise to be very careful with words.

The signed settlement may look good to cover perceived immediate claims. However, a great deal of thought needs to go into the valuation of a car accident case. Medical bills, damage to a vehicle, lost wages and future disability or treatment need to be considered. The problem with a knee-jerk sign-off is that, if post-symptoms do occur, an individual will be forced to pay for medical treatment that the insurer now will not cover.

Failure to receive medical evaluation after an accident

People get hurt in all sorts of ways, and many times just go home and attempt to take care of themselves. This is often the first impulse. It is more difficult to prove a medical claim if injuries are not treated immediately. This does not mean a person is not entitled to compensation.

Having a record of the accident or potential injury is very important. It is best at this point to consult with a personal injury lawyer about the information to convey to a physician. Providing the doctor with a clear history of the accident and the time when you began to feel injured and in what bodily area you felt pain will be advised.

The insurance company will contend that the latent injury may not be related to the accident in question. These are contentions that must be overcome for an individual to receive satisfactory medical compensation. Proper legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney is important.

The Lamber Goodnow legal team and their Chicago partner personal firms are experienced in these matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.

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