One of the first steps people take after a car crash is to check themselves for injury. After moving their legs and arms, they will then check in on the other occupants of their vehicle and the people in the other vehicle involved in the wreck.
Their observations during that initial check influence what information they provide when calling for assistance at the crash scene. Sometimes, people immediately recognize that they or someone else involved in the collision will require emergency medical treatment.
Other times, people don’t realize how significant the crash was and how pressing the need for treatment actually is. Why do so many people overlook collision injuries at the scene of a crash?
The body often hides early injury symptoms
The way that the human body responds to stress helps people survive dangerous situations. The flood of chemicals someone receives in a high-stress incident, like a car crash, helps them get out of a dangerous situation or defend themselves against a human attacker.
Unfortunately, the way the body achieves that is by providing a surge in energy and dampening a person’s sense of pain. People may not realize until the initial stress hormones wear off that they have painful symptoms that are an indicator of possible injury. Combine the delayed perception of pain with the possibility of delayed symptom onset, and that creates a perfect recipe for an ignored health issue.
Those with traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding, for example, may not have major symptoms until their condition has progressed for several days. The only way to spot brain injuries and other internal injuries immediately after a crash is to see a medical professional. They have the testing equipment and imaging technology to authoritatively establish whether someone has an injury or not.
Delays in diagnosis can lead to people displaying slowly worsening symptoms. They may also have a poor prognosis because the internal injury progresses without treatment. Additionally, it may be harder for them to obtain compensation through insurance or a lawsuit when there is a significant gap between when the incident occurred and when a doctor diagnoses someone with an injury.
Understanding that delayed diagnosis is a financial and medical risk might help people better respond to the aftermath of a major collision.