Jan 31, 2024 Michael M. Day Law Firm

What if My Injuries Don’t Appear Until Long After the Accident?

Even if you don’t notice any pain or symptoms of injuries, it is always a good idea to get a complete medical exam after an accident. With their advanced training, doctors are often able to detect indications of injuries that are not obvious, even though they may be severe.

There are times, however, when serious injuries are not detectable even by doctors and medical tests. Certain injuries develop over time, worsening gradually until symptoms become noticeable. Other injuries might occur right away but take time to manifest. So when that happens, can you still seek damages for your injuries? Will you still be able to receive compensation if your injuries did not appear right after the accident?

If you have just encountered symptoms and you suffered a fall or were in an accident several days or weeks ago, you can give yourself the best chance of recovery by first seeing your doctor and then contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. You will need evidence to support a claim, and the doctor can provide some of that valuable evidence, as well as treat your injuries. An attorney can help you gather the additional evidence necessary to receive damages to provide for your future needs.

The Importance of Documenting Your Injury Quickly

As soon as you notice symptoms, you need to get to the doctor. Explain that you were in an accident so that the doctor knows to look for injuries that could be associated with the trauma your body experienced. If the doctor does not seem to take you seriously, it is worthwhile to talk to a different doctor. Your future is at stake, and you cannot afford to take chances on missing a traumatic brain injury or other condition that could have serious long-term effects.

Your medical exam not only protects your health but also your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. The records from the doctor serve as critical medical evidence. In addition, you can build on that evidence by recording your observations about the symptoms you are experiencing and how those symptoms impact your ability to function on a daily basis.

If you believe that your symptoms are related to other factors and you’ve just noticed the connection, take notes about that as well. Records and notes taken in the early days of your injury can be much more persuasive as evidence than your recollections of the effects months or years later.

Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations, But Don’t Wait For It

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases usually gives accident victims two years from the date of the accident and injuries to file a legal claim for damages. Many people learn about that limit and decide that there is no hurry to think about legal action. That can be a huge mistake.

To begin with, there are certain cases where the statute of limitations is shorter or where you need to file certain paperwork to preserve your right to a claim. But in every situation, early assistance from an experienced attorney can mean the difference between receiving the recovery you deserve and being left with nothing. Insurance companies and investigators often try to trick accident victims into saying something that allows them to deny the claim. If you have a lawyer in your corner, you can refer all questions to your legal advisor, preventing misstatements that could jeopardize your case. Your attorney can also provide advice about steps to take and what to avoid to maximize your potential for recovery.

Another reason you need to act quickly is that it is vital to gather evidence about the causes of the accident so that you can prove that another person is liable for causing your injuries. You will need to show that someone acted negligently and their actions led to your delayed onset injuries. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to locate evidence to prove causation. 

The accident or actions leading up to it could be recorded on a security camera or traffic camera, but that footage could be lost if you don’t take steps to preserve it. Witnesses become harder to find and their memory is less reliable. The accident scene itself will change, and skid marks will fade. Your attorney can work with you right away to gather evidence to build your claim.

Types of Injuries That Are Not Immediately Apparent

When injuries take time to develop or become apparent, it can be much more difficult to prove that the accident is what caused those injuries rather than some other event that occurred afterward. To recover compensation, you need to find a lawyer who knows how to make the necessary causal connection in a delayed onset injury case.

Some of the injuries that often take days or weeks to manifest include:

Sometimes the most serious injuries to the brain and spine are not noticeable until considerable time has passed. These injuries often worsen over time and can lead to lifelong impairment.

Beyond these types of injuries, sometimes minor injuries can become infected in a way that poisons the body and causes severe damage including organ shutdown. After any type of slip and fall, motor vehicle collision, or other accident, it is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you in the days and weeks afterward. If something doesn’t seem right, get it checked out.

Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC Helps Victims of Delayed Onset Injuries

If your injuries don’t appear until days or weeks after the accident, it can be harder to recover compensation, but the right attorney knows how to overcome the challenges and get the damage award you need and deserve. At Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC, our team works tirelessly to help you achieve maximum physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out what your case may be worth.