3 Hidden Injuries After An Accident

Personal injury lawyers in Kitsap, Thurston and Seattle.
Witt Law Group 
Attorney Ryan Witt
Attorney Jennifer Witt

These Injuries May Not Be Immediately Apparent

  1. Shoulder Injuries

The forces of a car accident often throw a person forward. However, when only one side or shoulder is pinned back with a seatbelt, it can contort the body and lead to intense forces on the shoulder. 

This injury usually appears as part of the “whiplash” diagnosis because nearly everything in the neck and shoulders is achy and sore after a collision. However, it should not take long for a chiropractor or physical therapist to realize there is a separate injury from the soft tissue injuries of the neck.

While the shoulder should be treated separately from the “whiplash” treatment, that does not mean it can’t be treated through physical therapy. Generally speaking, most doctors will start with several attempts at PT before referring a patient to a surgical consult. If you are in debilitating pain or cannot use the arm due to shoulder pain, a doctor will typically order an MRI prior to requiring physical therapy.

Shoulder injuries after a car accident or slip and fall.

2. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

These injuries are often overlooked in the initial diagnosis due to the lack of an obvious presentation. Symptoms may not fully present for days or weeks after the accident. Additionally, if a person previously had migraines, she might not realize that they are slowly increasing in frequency.

Additionally, since most people have some type of soft tissue or “whiplash” injuries, headaches are often attributed to the tightening or muscle spasms in the cervical region rather than a TBI. During the initial emergency care visit, the injury victim is not educated that TBI symptoms can be subtle and include something as basic as mood changes. 

Be aware that medical providers can often fail to recognize a TBI for various reasons. Sometimes, the patient is not very clear on the symptoms and attributes headaches, dizziness or confusion as symptoms of poor sleep due to neck pain. Other times, the doctor simply fails to ask the patient if there are symptoms in addition to the headaches, such as confusion or personality changes. This miscommunication can lead to unnecessary delay in treatment for injury victims and, in some cases, long term irreversible damage.

Traumatic Brain Injuries such as concussions and migraines or common after a car accident or other injury accident.
Witt Law Group Personal Injury Law Firm
Attorney Ryan Witt
Attorney Jennifer Witt

3. Herniated Discs

During a car accident or other intense trauma, the body rapid deceleration and directional changes. This can lead to compression of the spinal discs and cause the outer layer of the disc to tear or rupture. This leads to the inner core to bulge or herniate out of its normal position. This is why people often interchange the terms bulging and herniated disc.

This injury often occurs in rear-end collisions as the head is whipped backward and forward. Additionally, in any high speed impact, the spine may experience shearing forces that cause the discs to compress unevenly and lead to herniation. However, the force of the impact need not be great. If the injury victim may has pre-existing conditions, such as weakened or degenerated discs, a small impact can cause significant injury.

Herniated or bulging discs after a car crash or other injury accident are painful and can take time to properly diagnose. They are often included as a whiplash diagnosis at first but, eventually, an MRI will lead to a proper diagnosis.
Witt Law Group Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorney Ryan Witt
Attorney Jennifer Witt

The Challenge With Hidden Injuries

Car collisions can be very traumatic events that cause many types of injuries. Often one injury will mask another. So, as a more painful or significant injury heals, you suddenly notice that your vision is worse or your hand grip is weaker. Injuries can manifest for months and even years after a serious injury accident.

It is important that you maintain regular contact with medical professionals following an accident to make sure all injuries are documented as related to the accident. Additionally, it is a good idea to hire an experienced personal injury attorney early in the case to weigh in on the best providers for injury cases. 

For example, some chiropractors may offer amazing care but they are terrible at preparing medical reports that would be required if the case has to go to trial. And, some doctors do not want to be involved in any type of legal action. In our experience, they tend to downplay injuries or provide poor treatment notes. This can hurt an injury case in the end. Unfortunately, that can have costly consequences if you do not prevail and there are many thousands of dollars of outstanding medical bills. 

If you have been in a car crash or other personal injury accident caused by someone else’s negligence, reach out to our lawyers to see how we can help. (360) 792-1000

Please note, our firm does not take medical malpractice cases or cases involving injuries that occurred on the job. If you are in western Washington, we may be able to suggest a referral depending on the circumstances and location.

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

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