Some people look at their wrecked car and think they got off lucky if they didn’t need to go to the hospital or only suffered slight pain that went away quickly. However, you may be making a big mistake by quickly signing a release of liability form. Not all California automobile accident victims experience pain or suffering immediately following an auto accident, and you may be throwing away valuable compensation rights by signing them away too soon.
Why would your injury symptoms wait to show themselves? The Huffington Post explains that immediately following an accident, your adrenaline levels are high. The resulting boost in adrenaline can mask pain or other signs that something is wrong with your body. Anyone who has just been through an auto accident should seek medical help immediately, as even life threatening symptoms might be suppressed.
FindLaw describes a variety of injury symptoms that can manifest after a delayed period of time. Some pain can indicate whiplash, which may occur in the neck, the back or the shoulders. While whiplash can occur immediately after a car crash, it can also delay itself until a few days afterward. However, neck or back pain might also tell you that you have a herniated disc or that you have suffered muscle damage. Some symptoms may indicate a life threatening injury. Dizzy spells and deep bruises can be caused by internal bleeding, and pain in the abdomen could result from damage to soft tissue or organs.
Even if you do not experience actual physical pain, the experience of going through an accident can leave emotional scarring that sometimes shows up later on. Accident victims can go through depression or anxiety. They may also be afflicted with traumatic flashbacks to the accident or experience heightened anxiety as a result of PTSD. These psychological traumas can be caused by the accident experience or physical injuries or both of them together.
The problem of delayed injury symptoms is that they can trick you into believing that you do not need any serious medical treatment or rehabilitation following your accident. To reduce the chance that you accidentally waive your compensatory rights, it is important to get medically checked out before you sign any release of liability. A doctor can tell you how long a period you should wait before certain symptoms might manifest. This will give you a better idea of how long to wait before settling a claim.