What to Expect Physically After a Car Accident

Car accidents are often traumatic experiences. Victims may sustain a wide range of injuries varying in severity from broken or fractured bones to serious head injuries. The shock resulting from a violent collision can leave injured victims scared and confused. An understanding of common accident injuries and their symptoms may strengthen a victim’s ability to inform medical professionals of the full extent of their injuries. After a negligent driver causes serious injuries in a collision, victims should consider a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer.

Injuries With No Visible Signs or Symptoms

Immediately following a car accident, if able, drivers should check themselves and their passengers for injuries. Any actively bleeding wounds are obviously injuries that need immediate medical attention. Other injuries may be more difficult to detect because they may not have apparent signs or symptoms. However, serious and even life-threatening injuries may develop symptoms with time. Seek a medical evaluation after suffering trauma even if your injuries are not immediately evident.
Examples of injuries that can display symptoms hours, days, or possibly weeks after the accident include:


Whiplash is most commonly sustained by victims involved in rear-end collisions. The forward force of a rear-end collision often causes a vehicle occupant’s head and neck to move rapidly in a back-and-forth motion. As the injury’s name suggests, the swift and violent movement of the head and neck resembles the cracking of a “whip.” Whiplash may result in damage to the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and soft tissues in your neck.
Symptoms of a possible whiplash injury include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of motion in the neck
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in the arms

If left untreated, whiplash can develop serious complications and result in chronic pain and discomfort. Patients with severe cases of whiplash often experience ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and/or depression.
Whiplash is just one type of injury that may not exhibit immediate signs or symptoms. However, due to the risk of complications that may develop, injured victims should never undermine neck pain they experience following a car accident.

Hypovolemic Shock

When an accident causes sudden and significant blood or fluid loss within the body, hypovolemic shock may occur as a result. Shock occurs when there is not enough blood to sufficiently supply your whole body. While hypovolemic shock is a life-threatening condition, symptoms are often difficult to interpret and may be dismissed as insignificant.
The following are common symptoms of hypovolemic shock:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Cold, clammy, or pale skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Blue lips or fingernails

Internal bleeding is one type of injury that can lead to hypovolemic shock. Abdominal pain, blood in stool or urine, or vomiting blood after an accident are possible indications of internal bleeding. Depending on the severity, internal bleeding can lead to organ failure, coma, and even death. You should never dismiss seemingly minor symptoms, such as an increased heart rate. Make it a priority to get medical attention immediately.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies a concussion as a type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion can occur when there is a forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. A concussion occurs when an impact causes the brain to move back-and-forth within the skull disrupting normal brain function.
Traumatic brain injuries may not exhibit symptoms for hours or days after the accident. A concussion is more than just a headache and may be associated with a loss of consciousness or an altered mental state. If you experience any trauma or impact to your head, be aware of the symptoms of a brain injury, including:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly or communicating
  • Changes in mood, behavior, personality
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness and changes in usual sleep patterns

Silent injuries resulting from a car accident are fairly common and particularly dangerous. After experiencing trauma, even if you lack visible injuries and seemingly feel fine, you should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Visible and Serious Car Accident Injuries

When a negligent driver causes a collision, those involved frequently experience visible and life-changing injuries. The type of vehicle, the speed, and the force of impact can contribute to the severity of the resulting damage. Examples of life-changing injuries that can result from a collision include:

Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord serves a vitally important function in controlling movement and sensation. When injured, the spinal cord loses its ability to effectively communicate with the brain. Depending on the severity, a spinal cord injury can severely limit victims’ mobility and sensation. Severe injuries may cause permanent paralysis, requiring a power chair for mobility as well as home modifications to accommodate the power chair.
The unanticipated costs associated with home and vehicle modifications required to accommodate limited mobility can be significant. The costs of required medical equipment and ongoing medical care can easily reach into the millions of dollars each month.

Broken Bones

With more than 200 bones in the human body, car accidents could break several of them. An open fracture occurs when a severe break results in the bone penetrating the skin. Open fractures are particularly dangerous because they increase the risk of infection. Multiple broken bones can result in the need for daily personal care, numerous surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation.


When a car accident results in serious burns, a patient may require specialized care at a burn center. When burns occur near the face, neck, nose, or mouth, the victim may also suffer from smoke inhalation. Inhaling harmful smoke particles and gases may cause swelling of the lungs and airways, making it difficult to breathe. Victims experiencing extensive burns that cause disfigurement often require plastic surgery and report feelings of depression.
Suffering from one—or more—of these serious injuries due to the negligence of another driver isn’t fair. When the commute to work or a trip to the store turns tragic due to a reckless driver, injured victims deserve justice.
No one should suffer physical, financial, and emotional stress due to the reckless actions of another person. If you are the victim of a car accident, and you experienced serious injuries, consider contacting a car accident lawyer. Experienced car accident attorneys regularly fight for the right of injured victims to recover compensation.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Common causes of car accidents that can result in serious injuries include:

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, talking on a cellphone while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by up to four times. Those who text while driving are up to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash.
Every time you get behind the wheel, you share the roadways with dangerous drivers with unpredictable behavior. You will likely be unaware that the driver next to you had a few drinks before driving until they cause an accident. If you are involved in an accident with an impaired driver and you are permanently injured, you may be entitled to compensation.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You

Insurance companies aim to settle cases quickly for the lowest amount possible. Representatives from the other driver’s insurance company may contact you soon after the accident. Avoid speaking with insurance representatives for the following reasons.
First, insurance company representatives may attempt to get you to admit fault for the accident. If you contributed to causing the accident, the insurance company can justify less financial responsibility. While representatives will likely seem to be friendly, their ultimate goal is to protect the company’s best interests and not yours.
Typically, insurance companies will propose a settlement offer that may initially seem like a lot of money to you and your family. In reality, initial settlement offers are almost always insufficient to cover injured victims’ future medical needs. Victims should avoid accepting an offer or signing an agreement before discussing the offer with an attorney. Upon accepting a settlement, victims waive their right to seek any further compensation for their injuries.
Most car accident attorneys offer free case evaluations to help injured victims determine the best way to proceed. While no one knows what the future holds, your injuries may take months, if not years, to heal. Other injuries may leave you permanently disabled and cannot participate in hobbies or a career you once loved.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Protect Your Best Interests

The sudden and traumatic experience of a car accident can have devastating consequences. Injured victims may face extensive medical procedures, lost wages, and anxiety about the future. Immediately following an accident, injured victims should devote their focus and energy to healing. If necessary, an attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company on injured victims’ behalves to ensure they receive adequate compensation.
An experienced car accident attorney can look out for injured victims’ best interests and relieve stress. Hiring a trustworthy and compassionate attorney can provide injured victims with the peace-of-mind they need to focus on their health and their family.
A driver’s license is a privilege and not a right. When someone abuses that right and causes serious harm to others, they must be held accountable. A car accident claim is a civil action. If the responsible party faces criminal charges for the accident, the proceedings and outcome have no impact on your civil claim.
An experienced car accident attorney who is familiar with Washington law will have an in-depth understanding of the legal process. If negotiations with the insurance company prove to be unsuccessful, a qualified attorney will be ready and willing to go to trial, if necessary.
Planning for your future medical needs and calculating the impact of your loss of income is important for your future. An attorney may help injured victims by preparing your case according to predictions of future costs and losses. Injured victims may protect their future and increase their quality of life by pursuing the financial compensation they deserve.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations defines the time period within which a victim may file a personal injury claim. Under Washington law, victims must file a personal injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. While victims have a legal right to pursue a car accident claim, if the statute of limitations expires, they will likely be barred from seeking compensation.

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Car Accident Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

While three years seems like a long time, it can pass quickly, especially when victims are focused on their health and recovery. After you experience a serious injury, the days, weeks, and months can become confusing. A car accident attorney can keep your case on track by scheduling negotiations and ensuring court procedures are adhered to.
A car accident claim involves research. For example, when appropriate, your attorney will most likely want to interview witnesses and review police reports. Police reports are especially important documents for your claim. While you should always speak with the police, it is best to avoid communicating with the other driver. It is also important to share any evidence of the accident you may have, including cellphone videos and possibly social media posts by the other driver.
When an attorney is handling the legal complexities of a car accident claim, victims can focus on their health and recovery. Car accident lawyers experienced with car accident cases have compassion for victims because they understand their stress. Car accident attorneys are familiar with the challenges car accident victims  encounter with medical treatments and procedures. Through their work, they also understand the emotional and financial toll a car accident has on a family. By contacting an attorney, you can learn how they approach cases like yours and how they communicate with you throughout the process.

Consider Pursuing Legal Action Without Delay

While each case is different, injured victims may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It can be difficult for victims to navigate negotiations with an insurance company on their own. Insurance company representatives are too experienced and too skilled at what they do for you to experience a successful outcome.
Injured victims should contact a car accident attorney experienced in car accident claims. Car accident attorneys strive to defend the rights of those who experience serious harm caused by others. Working with a trustworthy attorney can be essential for injured victims seeking to recover compensation.
No one anticipates being involved in a traumatic car accident. We all make choices when we get behind the wheel. If someone’s poor choices lead to an accident causing you injury, a car accident attorney may help you. By holding irresponsible drivers accountable, your claim may prevent similar behaviors and additional injuries in the future.

Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

February 17, 2020
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