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How To Identify and Document Hidden Medical Problems Caused By A Car Accident

Car accidents can cause medical issues

Traffic accidents are horrible to experience. Not only is there usually very evident physical damage to property and passengers but often there are hidden or lingering issues that you might not recognize immediately. That's why it is always important to document the scene of an accident and report anything that you might feel - even if it seems minor at the time.

People are involved in car accidents every day, and although some are very serious and result in a hospital stay and a variety of procedures, others are much more minor, resulting only in some damage to the vehicles involved, and not much more. At least, that’s what you might initially think, but the truth is that many different problems can occur after a car accident that might mean you need additional medical treatment, and it’s useful to know what to look out for, just in case.

While there are things you should do at the scene of an accident, oftentimes you don't even realize you are injured into days or weeks later.

Medical Problems and Injuries That May Persist After The Accident

Read on to find out what just some of the issues might be so you can look after yourself fully. 


Delayed onset headaches can occur days, weeks, or perhaps even months after your initial car accident, and could be related to a wide range of different issues including whiplash, concussion, and muscle tension. 

If you find that you are suffering from headaches much more than you did before the car accident, this could be the reason, and it’s worth discussing this with a medical professional as you may need to undergo some tests to ensure all is well. 


Psychological Trauma

I know a person who once loved to drive but after being in a bad accident, he now simply refuses to drive and doesn't like to even ride in cars as a passenger now. Psychological trauma is a real thing and it can lead post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depending on the specific events and severity. Even light to moderate cases can impact your life by reducing your ability to enjoy road trips or causing you to not want to visit friends and family.



Temporary tinnitus is another issue that some people develop after a car accident. Otherwise known as ringing in the ear, tinnitus is an indicator that damage has been done to either the ear itself or, in some cases, the brain. 

If the tinnitus isn’t temporary, you should see a doctor or specialist hearing professional for advice. It could well be that your tinnitus is entirely innocent, but since it could relate to the brain, and brain injuries should never go untreated, it is wise to have it checked out. 



By its very nature, bruising is something that occurs hours, sometimes days, after the initial incident. Bruising is essentially damaged blood vessels or tissue that bleed under the skin, and the bruise is the result of that bleed. It will be tender to the touch and, depending on where the bruise is, it can cause mobility issues as well. 

Internal bruising can be fatal if left untreated, which is why unusual or unexpected bruising should be brought to the attention of a doctor as soon as possible. Danger points to look out for include anywhere on the abdomen or face. 


Abnormal Swelling

Swelling, also called inflammation is a sign that your tissue is attempting to heal itself after it was damaged. Inflammation can take some time to become apparent, but you’ll notice it due to the redness of the skin and the tenderness, plus it will usually be warm to the touch. 

Although swelling is normal to some extent if it doesn't go away after a short while then it could indicate a bigger problem, including broken bones. You might think that a broken bone would be something you would immediately be aware of, but this is not always the case; smaller bones such as those in the feet or hands can be difficult to diagnose as being broken, and even larger breaks can be hidden through shock and a rush of adrenalin.

How To Document Your Medical Issues

While some folks make this more complicated than it needs to be due to watching too many episodes of CSI and medical dramas, the process is actually pretty straight forward and easy. The goal here is to simply have as much verifiable documentation of symptoms related to potential injuries that you received during the car accident.

Take Plenty of Photos But Video Is Even Better

Photos and videos are going to be your friend and luckily this is extremely easy to capture today. Virtually everyone has a mobile phone that they can use at the scene of the accident as well as afterwards. For instance, if your hip is sore from the accident, take a photo of the fresh bruise or swelling and if it gets worse then the visual evidence can be linked back to the incident - even if you need to seek medical attention later.

Similarly, if you have issues such as problems walking or an inability to move your arms fully, video documenting this can help your claim.

If there are areas where you are unable to document yourself - back injuries for instance. Get a friend to check those areas for you and have him or her document any bruising or red spots that you might miss.

File A Police Report As Well As Medical Report

Photos and video are wonderful to have but police and medical reports are even better. This is because they can be trusted and verified sources and generally, filing false reports can be considered a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity. Even if you don't think you need to set a doctor appointment at the initial stage, sending your healthcare provider an email with how you are feeling and any initial symptoms will create a trail of evidence that can help you later if needed. 

Keep A Diary Of Your Symptoms

In addition to any police report or engagement that you have with your doctor, you should document any symptoms that you have. This can be as simple as emailing yourself any updates on how you are feeling on a daily basis. Not only will this help you write things down and help YOU understand your recovery process but you are both creating a verifiable time stamp and backup of the documentation. 

If you prefer to not do this on the computer, simply purchase a notebook and write updates on a daily basis about both your physical and mental recovery process.

Save All Your Medical Records and Receipts for OTC Items Too

 Should you get to the point where an award amount is being discussed, there will be big as well as smaller expenses to consider. Some items such as an MRI or counseling session may run hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, smaller items such as having to use a rideshare vehicle instead of driving or purchasing pain relievers or adaptive items so you can reach a top shelf easier may all be reimbursable as part of your personal injury claim.

Recovering from a car accident can be a complex and challenging process. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help address the legal side of receiving compensation, and law firms like JJS Justice can assist, but that starts with you being able to identify and document it. The earlier you can do this and the more specifically you can tie it to your accident, the more likely you will be to be able to win in court - should it come to that

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