Injuries as a result of an accident can sometimes appear long after the accident occurred and the obvious injuries, like grazes and broken bones have healed. In these cases, you shouldn’t miss out on the full amount of your claim for personal injury compensation. You may have a legal right to be compensated for the financial hardship that has resulted from the time it takes you to fully recover from an accident that was not your fault.
Almost all car accidents are traumatic events. Typically, this is because they happen unexpectedly, when neither the driver nor passengers can foresee what is about to happen. There is tremendous force associated with a vehicle collision, whether it is with another vehicle or with a stationary object. Along with the shock of the accident, not all injuries are apparent straight after the accident has taken place.
Many people walk away from accidents with no apparently noticeable injuries. This is often because the shock of the accident distracts them and without an obvious problem, like an arm that won’t move or blood pouring down their face, they don’t notice any pain. . Unfortunately, this may not be the end of the story for many accident victims, as some injuries creep up on the unwary accident victim at a later time. This is particularly the case with soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) injuries which aren’t easily noticeable, but can result in long term pain.
One of the most common injuries is “whiplash.” Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck muscles when the head is abruptly thrown in one direction and then thrust back. These injuries typically in swelling and a reduction in mobility accompanied by steady or periodic pain, but the symptoms may not show up immediately. It can take many days or even weeks before an accident victim becomes aware of the symptoms of whiplash. Also, soft tissue injuries do not show up visibly on an X-ray, making them particularly hard to diagnose.
After a car accident, even if you think you are fine, you should see your doctor. Once you have described what happened to you, your doctor can determine whether you are likely to experience any further signs of injury. Several days or weeks may pass before an injury such as whiplash starts to reveal its cruel effects, which often means you have to seek medical help to ease the pain and take time off work to recover. If you fail to see your doctor in a timely manner you may miss out when it comes to filing a personal injury claim. The insurer for the at-fault driver will raise questions that challenge the validity of your claim and that the injury occurred as a result of the accident if you didn’t see your doctor immediately following the accident.
If you are ever approached after a car accident by the other driver’s insurer to try and get you to put your signature to a document that releases your right to make any claim, don’t! . You might even be offered some form of payment to help persuade you. You might be told that you won’t get a better deal. The point is, you should never sign a release until your health status has been fully evaluated by your doctor. There is time before your entitlement to make a claim expires. The usual timeframe is around two years, so there is no rush. Ensure that your doctor is comfortable to report that any injuries likely to arise from the accident should have either appeared or not. Your doctor will let you know what waiting period you should allow.
You lose any legal right to pursue a compensation claim if you have signed a release.