3 delayed-onset injuries you may not notice after you get hurt

Maybe you just slipped in some spilled coffee at your accountant’s office and hit your head on the counter as you fell. Perhaps you were in a car crash caused by someone who ran a red light. Most people check themselves quickly for signs of injury after an unexpected experience, like falling.

There are many kinds of injuries that you will notice immediately. For example, a spinal cord injury could leave you unable to exit your vehicle, while a broken arm suffered in a slip-and-fall might not be able to bear weight at all.

Other people have invisible injuries with delayed onset symptoms that they won’t notice right when they get hurt. What are some of the most common medical issues you may not notice right away?

A stable fracture

Broken bones aren’t always obvious. Sometimes, people have a stable fracture where the bone, although technically broken, remains in position as it should.

It may only be when that individual tries lifting something heavy at work or running on the treadmill at the gym that they realize there is something wrong with part of their body. Stable fractures are easy for people to ignore, especially if they have a chemical response to the injury. Your fight-or-flight response will make it harder for you to notice the pain of a stable fracture.

Internal bleeding in the chest or abdomen

Especially if you slip down a flight of stairs or are in a car crash, you could potentially have internal bleeding in your torso that could put your life at risk. Depending on the location of the injury, blood could pool in your abdomen between your organs or put pressure on your lungs.

In extreme cases, internal bleeding left untreated can put someone’s life at risk. Individuals may notice inflammation, tenderness and symptoms of blood loss, such as dizziness. Emergency medical care is usually necessary to resolve internal bleeding.

Traumatic brain injuries

Someone who slips and falls could hit their head on the floor, and a car crash could cause blunt force trauma or shake someone’s body so violently that their brain suffers serious injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often have symptoms that get worse after the initial injury. You may develop new symptoms, or a mild early symptom, like a consistent headache, may slowly get worse.

Especially if you are medically vulnerable or if you lose consciousness, seeing a doctor after you fall or get into a car crash is a smart, common-sense decision. Doctors have the equipment and education necessary to spot the warning signs of an invisible injury before the symptoms worsen.

A prompt diagnosis will also make it easier for you to pursue a personal injury claim, regardless of whether you need to file a premises liability insurance claim or take an uninsured driver to civil court. Realizing your own limitations when evaluating yourself after an incident can help reduce the lasting consequences of the injury and also put you in a better position for a personal injury claim.


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