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What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident and Why You Need an Attorney

Car Accident Aftermath Expectations

A car accident is a traumatic event that can change your life in an instant. The force of a violent collision can leave you dazed and confused about what just occurred. The reckless actions of another driver can result in serious injuries that may—or may not—exhibit immediate signs or symptoms. Knowing what to expect physically is key to identifying trauma, wounds, and other physical damage before they worsen. If you experienced serious injuries due to a reckless driver, you may want to consider scheduling a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer.

Car Accident Injuries With Delayed Symptoms

One of the first things you do once the impact is over is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Visible signs such as blood are alarming yet important indicators of the need for immediate medical attention. Other injuries may not exhibit any signs or symptoms yet can result in serious health implications and possibly death.

Examples of injuries that can display symptoms hours, days, or possibly weeks after the accident include:


This type of injury is generally associated with a rear-end collision. The forceful impact of a vehicle crashing into the back of your stopped vehicle causes the neck to move rapidly in a back-and-forth motion—like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash can cause damage to the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and soft tissues in your neck.

Symptoms of a possible whiplash injury include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of motion in the neck
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in the arms

If left untreated, whiplash can develop into serious complications and result in chronic pain and discomfort. Patients with more severe cases of whiplash often experience ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and/or depression. Whiplash is just one type of injury that may not exhibit immediate signs or symptoms. The risk of complications is why you should never underestimate a sore neck after a car accident in the hopes it will get better with time.

Hypovolemic shock

When an accident causes sudden and significant blood or fluid loss within the body, hypovolemic shock can occur. A life-threatening condition, symptoms are often easy to misread or ignore as insignificant. The following are common signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Cold, clammy, or pale skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Blue lips or fingernails

Internal bleeding is one type of injury that result in hypovolemic shock. Abdominal pain, blood in stool or urine, or vomiting blood after an accident are possible indicators of internal bleeding. If left untreated, such an injury can result in organ damage. Your rapid heartbeat following a car accident may indicate more than an adrenaline rush, making immediate medical care essential for protecting your life.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a concussion as a type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion can occur when there is a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the brain to move back-n-forth within the skull.

FL Personal Injury LawyerThis type of injury may not exhibit symptoms for hours or days after the accident. A concussion is more than a headache and anyone who experiences a blow to the head during a crash should watch for the following signs of a brain injury:

  • Answers questions slowly
  • Exhibits changes in mood, behavior, personality
  • You or a loved one becomes easily confused

A concussion can range in severity, with different effects for each level. The more severe the concussion, the greater the impact on your daily life.

Silent injuries from a car accident are extremely dangerous. Whether you experience severe neck pain, abdominal pain, or a concussion, always seek immediate medical attention. Never underestimate the violent impact a serious crash had on your body. While you may want to feel fine, the truth is that less obvious injuries can put you at risk for death.

Visible and Serious Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents caused by a negligent driver can result in serious and often catastrophic injuries. Depending upon the type of vehicle, the speed of the crash, and the force of impact, you may experience permanent injuries. Examples of life-changing injuries that can result from a drunk or aggressive driver include:

Spinal cord injury – The spinal cord serves an important function in controlling movement and sensation. When injured, the spinal cord loses its ability to effectively communicate with the brain. This results in limited or no movement and sensation. Paralysis is often a permanent outcome, requiring a power chair for mobility and home modifications to accommodate the power chair.

Vehicle modifications or the purchase of an accessible van are new and unexpected costs. Additionally, replacing vehicles or power chairs, along with medical and personal care, can easily reach into the millions of dollars each month.

Broken bones – With more than 200 bones in the human body, it is quite possible to experience several broken bones. When a violent crash results in the bone penetrating the skin, it is an open fracture. This type of break is especially dangerous due to the risk of infection. Multiple broken bones, such as a broken arm and leg can result in the need for future surgeries and the need for personal care.

Burns – When a car accident results in serious burns, a patient may require specialized care at a burn center. If the burn occurs near the area of your face, neck, nose, or mouth, inhalation may result in swelling, making it difficult to breathe. Burn patients often experience depression and require plastic surgery.

Experiencing one—or more—of these types of serious injuries due to the negligence of another driver isn’t fair. When your commute to work or your trip to the store turns tragic due to a driver who fails to share the road, you deserve justice.

No one should suffer physical, financial, and emotional stress due to the reckless actions of another person. If this happened to you, and you experienced serious injuries, you might want to contact a car accident lawyer.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

There were more than 400,000 crashes along Florida highways and city streets in one recent year. The crashes resulted in 3,174 deaths and more than 250,000 injuries. Common causes of car accidents that can result in serious injuries include:

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, those who talk on a cellphone while driving are up to four times more likely to crash. Those who text while driving are up to eight times more likely to become involved in a crash.

Other risky behaviors behind the wheel include running red lights, driving without proper rest, and feeling invincible after a few beers. There is no way of knowing what behavior one participated in before joining you and your family on the road.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies like to settle cases quickly. Representatives from the other driver’s insurance company may contact you soon after the accident. Don’t speak with them for the following reasons.

For one, insurance company representatives may try to get you to admit fault for the accident. They may appear friendly, however, their ultimate goal is to protect the company’s best interests and not yours. If they make a settlement offer, it may seem like a lot of money to you and your family. The reality is that initial offers of settlement are often low dollar amounts that will do little to cover your future medical needs.

It is in your best interest to not speak with insurance company representatives and to contact a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers offer free case evaluations and some collect no fee unless they secure compensation for you. While no one knows what the future holds, your injuries may take months, if not years, to heal. Some injuries may leave you permanently disabled, and unable to return to hobbies or a career you once loved.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Protect Your Best Interests

The sudden and traumatic experience of a car accident turns your world upside down. You now face medical procedures, lost wages, and anxiety about the future. The time immediately following an accident is no time to deal with insurance companies. Knowing your case is in qualified hands and that someone is looking out for your best interests is invaluable. It provides you with the peace-of-mind you need to focus on your health and your family.

A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. When someone abuses that right and causes serious harm to others, accountability is a must. A personal injury claim is a civil action. If the responsible party faces criminal charges for the accident, the proceedings and outcome have no bearing on your claim.

Personal Injury Attorney Settlement Negotiation

An attorney familiar with Florida law and personal injury cases can best negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If they are unable to settle a case out-of-court, they should be ready and willing to go to trial. Medical costs continue to rise. Planning for your future medical needs and calculating the impact of your loss of income is where an attorney can help. When you experience a serious accident due to the negligence of another person, you deserve justice.

With more than 14 million licensed drivers in Florida and 120 million visitors every year, it is not a matter of if but rather when you will experience an accident. No matter how defensively you drive, it only takes a second for a distracted, drowsy, or drunk driver to cross your path.

The Law Limits Your Time to Pursue a Claim

Pursuing a personal injury claim is your right under Florida law. The statute of limitations, however, limits how long you have to file your claim. You must file your claim within four years, and the clock starts ticking the date of the accident. While four years seems like a long time, it can pass quickly. Once you miss the deadline for filing, you do not have another opportunity for pursuing litigation. Doctor appointments, therapies, surgeries, and more can result in you losing track of time. A personal injury lawyer can handle the details of your case while keeping an eye on the calendar.

There is often much work to do with a personal injury claim. For example, your attorney may need to interview witnesses, and review police reports and accident scene photos. It is important to share any evidence of the accident you may have, including cellphone videos and possibly social media posts by the other driver. Once your case is in good hands, you can focus on your new normal. While your injuries were not expected and not your fault, the support of friends and family can help you through this difficult time.

Personal injury lawyers experienced with car accident cases have the compassion you need during this time of uncertainty. As a client, you can expect open communication and respect from your legal team. At the same time, a highly skilled attorney will aggressively fight for your right to the compensation you deserve.

While each case is different, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Trying to navigate negotiations with an insurance company on your own is never a good idea. Insurance company representatives are too experienced and too skilled at what they do for you to achieve the best outcome.

Contacting a Florida personal injury attorney experienced in car accident claims makes good sense. Personal injury attorneys have the education and knowledge it takes to take on insurance companies that try to deny or delay a claim.

If you experienced serious injuries due to a negligent driver, it can be difficult to know what to do next. A car accident attorney can help you discuss your options for pursuing justice, and set you on the right path to a positive outcome and promising recovery.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Florida Car Accident Attorneys