How Long After An Accident Can Injuries Show Up?
Some car accidents are so traumatic that victims must be transported to the hospital by ambulance. They might suffer a cracked skull, broken bone, crush injury, or burn, any of which require immediate treatment. However, in many accidents, motorists might feel “okay” following the wreck, or they have some minor aches and pains that they plan to treat with maybe an ice bag and a handful of aspirin. For many of us, nagging aches and pains are simply a fact of life, so we don’t immediately connect them to a car accident.
At Naqvi Injury Law, we realize that injuries might take time to develop. Nevertheless, these injuries cost thousands of dollars to treat and often prevent people from working and earning a living. We advocate for our clients even when they have a slow developing injury.
What Kinds of Injuries are Slow to Develop?
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your adrenaline might be pumping so hard that it masks pain. It is only later that you start to realize that something is wrong.
In our experience, the following injuries might take some time after an accident to fully manifest:
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. The symptoms are confusion, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and impaired mobility or balance. Any hard shaking of the head can lead to a TBI. Unlike other injuries, you cannot see brain injuries, so many people never think that they might be suffering from one.
- Brain hemorrhage. Bleeding inside the skull occurs when a blood vessel is damaged in a crash. You might bleed very slowly. At some point, however, enough blood has collected that a victim can experience pain or even become unconscious, which are clear signs that something is wrong.
- Whiplash. This is a soft-tissue injury affecting the neck. Again, you might not immediately feel anything wrong. Over a day or two, your neck stiffens dramatically, and it becomes painful to move your head.
- Back injuries. A person might pull muscles, ligaments, or tendons in their back. Over the next several days, the pain increases and they can no longer lift anything or possibly even sit up straight.
- Spinal cord injuries. Any injury to the spine requires immediate immobilization so that things don’t progress to the point where a person is permanently disabled. A person can slowly feel numbness in their limbs or extremities, which only worsens.
- Internal organ injuries. You might have bruised an organ in a car accident, which could have permanently damaged the ability of the organ to function properly. Over time, you begin to notice pain, nausea, or vomiting, which are signs you have suffered an injury.
- Post–traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a serious condition which should not be overlooked. Sufferers often experience vivid flashbacks in which they relive the car accident over and over. Many suffer from crippling anxiety or depression which require prescription drugs. Sometimes, PTSD does not develop for a while following the triggering event.
You should immediately go to the hospital following a car accident, no matter how minor you believe it was. Some low-speed accidents nevertheless cause significant injuries. Tell the doctor you were involved in a car accident, and they can order tests to see if anything is wrong. They might also tell you what symptoms to watch out for in the coming weeks and months.
Just How Long Can It Take Injuries to Manifest?
In many situations, an injury will only take a few days to become fully manifest. You should start feeling pain or other impairment at that point. You might take a few aspirin and hope that it goes away. When it doesn’t, you know that you must see a doctor in order to get well.
In other situations, it might be months before you fully realize that the car accident has caused significant injuries. An injured organ, for example, might work half well for a long time and only shuts down by degrees over a matter of months. At some point, however, your symptoms are undeniable. You realize that something is wrong and might be taken to the hospital in the back of an ambulance.
The fact is that every case is different. There is no timeline that applies in all cases or to all injuries. Some delayed injuries will pop up in a couple of days; others could take a year. The key is to remain attuned to your body.
No matter how much time has passed since an accident, you should always go to the doctor as soon as you feel unwell. You need to know what is wrong so that you can get better, and delay only makes the pain last longer.
Nevada’s Statute of Limitations
Nevada gives injured motorists two years to file a lawsuit after a car accident. This time limit is contained in the relevant statute of limitations. The clock usually starts ticking on the day that you were injured in the crash. If you fail to bring a claim within 2 years, then you will forfeit your right to seek compensation from the defendant.
However, in some cases, the statute of limitations does not begin on the day of the accident. There is a delay because it takes injuries a while to slowly manifest themselves, so Nevada courts give victims more time. This is called the “discovery rule.”
Per the discovery rule, the statute of limitations clock does not begin to run until you know you were injured or a reasonable person should have discovered that they were injured. So if you learn six months after an accident that you suffered an internal injury in your crash, the clock will probably begin on that day.
The discovery rule does not give a person an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit. As stated above, the clock will begin when a reasonable person “should have discovered” their injury. So if you are feeling pain but do nothing, a judge might hold that the statute of limitations begins on the date you realized something was wrong with you.
Ideally, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. At our firm, we can strategize ways to ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not wait too long before bringing a legal claim.
The Importance of Medical Records
The best way to protect your right to compensation is to immediately go to the doctor after a crash, even if you feel fine. This way, you will have a medical record indicating that you did not feel any pain following an accident, so the statute of limitations should not begin running on that day.
If you don’t go to the doctor, the defendant can always claim that you would have discovered your injuries earlier had you gone to meet with a physician. The other side might also claim that you are exaggerating your injuries since you would have visited the doctor sooner if they were as bad as you claim.
Contact a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are traumatic accidents that can leave people with significant injuries. The fact that your injuries took a little longer to develop does not mean you do not deserve compensation. Instead, you deserve the maximum compensation under the law when someone else is to blame for your car accident.
Please contact us today. Naqvi Law is a leading Las Vegas law firm committed to the well-being of our clients. We offer a free consultation to those who call or contact us online.