Many injuries from a car accident can cause immediate pain. But as an accident victim, you may also suffer from pain that develops hours and days later.
It’s important to know how to address pain after a car accident. After all, treating and managing it is critical to recovering and improving your quality of life. It’s also important to know how to address pain in the context of the amount of compensation that you deserve for your damages from the car accident.
Our experienced car accident attorneys at Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC know that pain is an important concern for any car accident victim. Let’s talk about what to do about pain after a car accident.
10 Things to Know About Pain Following a Car Accident
1. Pain may develop in the hours and days after a car accident
Acute pain occurs immediately when the car accident happens. However, pain may continue to develop in the hours and days after the accident. It’s common, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. In fact, delayed onset of pain may be a sign of serious injury.
Source: WebMD, Whiplash
2. Delayed pain may be a sign of serious injury – seek medical attention
Seek medical attention for delayed pain following a car accident. Even if you initially sought medical attention, have a healthcare professional evaluate and document your injuries.
There may be many causes of delayed pain after a car accident. When the shock and adrenaline ease over time, the pain can become apparent. Possible causes are:
- Brain trauma including concussion
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Injury to tendons, nerves and ligaments
- Whiplash and pulled muscles
- Other soft tissue damage
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
Delayed pain may be a sign of life-threatening injuries including internal bleeding because of trauma. It can be life-threatening when there is intracranial hemorrhage or damage to the lungs, heart, blood vessels, liver or spleen. If you experience abdominal pain, dizziness, swelling, headaches or loss of consciousness, seek emergency medical attention.
Source: WebMD, Internal Bleeding Due to Trauma
3. Behavioral changes may be a sign of physical injury
Pain can change your thoughts and behavior. You may not immediately recognize it as pain, but you may notice that you are unusually irritable. Pain may appear as depression, anxiety or mood swings.
If you see changes in your behavior or mood, be sure to explore pain as a possible cause. A healthcare plan following an accident should address your physical, mental and emotional well-being, with an appreciation of how they are all interrelated.
Source: Family Caregiver Alliance, Coping with Behavior Problems after Brain Injury
4. Compensating for pain may cause additional injury
One injury can lead to another. Compensation injuries are injuries that occur when you are favoring another part of your body that is experiencing pain. Know that a compensation injury is a possibility, and watch for soreness and pain that may develop. Speak to your healthcare provider about how to avoid and address compensation injuries.
Source: Banner Health, How Can I Avoid Compensation Injuries?
5. Pain is a car accident injury and deserving of appropriate compensation
Pain – even delayed pain – is a type of recognized damages in a car accident. If you suffer from pain, it’s important to know that you can claim compensation for it along with other damages that are available under the law. In fact, pain is often a significant portion of compensation.
S.C. Code § 15-32-210(9) lists “pain” as a type of non-economic damages that may be claimed in personal injury. In addition, various South Carolina court cases affirm a victim’s right to claim fair compensation for pain: Thomasko v. Poole, (S.C. Ct. App. 2002) (the victim experienced delayed pain beginning one day after the accident); Edwards v. Lawton, 244 S.C. 276, 136 S.E.2d 708 (1964) (recognizing pain and suffering as compensable damages in a car accident claim and discussing methods for determining the appropriate amount).
Don’t make the mistake of excluding pain and suffering from your car accident claim. Experienced legal counsel can help you determine the appropriate amount to seek for your situation.
6. Keep a diary to build evidence
Knowing that you can receive compensation for pain and suffering, you need to know how to build the evidence to support your claim. Like the other elements of a car accident claim, it’s the burden of the plaintiff to prove their right to compensation.
Many times, the victim accomplishes this task by keeping a pain journal. The journal creates a timeline of the severity of the pain, the location of the pain and how it limits the person’s daily activities. Your legal counsel can help you understand how to keep your journal.
7. Seek medical attention to document your pain and course of treatment
Another important part of building the evidence of your pain is documenting your injuries with medical attention. Healthcare providers can speak to your injuries and how they are contributing to your pain.
8. Do not ignore doctor’s advice or fail to follow your medical plan
When it comes to car accident pain, it’s important to follow doctor’s orders. Follow your medical restrictions and other limitations.
If you don’t receive needed medical care, or if you don’t stay within your restrictions, the other side may argue that you didn’t take your recovery seriously. They may say that you failed to mitigate damages and ask to reduce your compensation. Be sure to follow your care plan as you address your pain.
9. Don’t do too much too soon
After car accident injuries, it can be easy to want life to return to normal. However, trying to do too much too soon can result in recurrence of injuries. Speak with your doctor about the timeline to expect for healing and when to remove restrictions and increase activities.
10. Understand how to value pain and suffering as part of your claim for compensation
You may receive compensation for pain and suffering as part of a car accident claim. However, you must value it and claim it in the right ways.
Our experienced attorneys help victims receive fair compensation for their car accidents. Contact our car accident attorneys for a consultation and to begin your case today.