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Posted On July 13, 2022 Auto Injury

Are Your Car Accident Injuries Serious Enough to Pursue a Lawsuit?

A car wreck can bring about some of the most horrific injuries you can suffer. If you (or your loved one) sustained devastating spinal cord damage, a severed limb, or a serious blow to the head, then you already know how drastically a car accident injury can change your life. You were likely rushed straight from the scene of the crash to the hospital, possibly for a lengthy inpatient stay.

Your need for an attorney is most pronounced in the case of such serious injuries. Even if you haven’t already retained a lawyer, there’s a good chance that you have been thinking – if not about legal action directly – about the future implications of your injury and how you will afford to pay for medical care and extended time away from work.

Based on my experience over decades of handling car accident cases, I recommend that you always speak to an attorney if your car crash involved:

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a head injury of any kind
  • A serious spinal cord injury that may lead to partial or complete paralysis
  • Severed limbs or damage to extremities that require surgical amputation
  • A miscarriage or loss of pregnancy
  • Broken bones, especially displaced fractures, which often require surgery to treat
  • Wrongful death, meaning the death of a loved one as a result of an auto accident or truck accident

Serious Injuries That Don’t Appear Serious At First

Some injuries are more of a gray area. They might not have been as dramatic as life-threatening medical emergencies.

Perhaps you turned down an ambulance to the hospital, thinking that your injuries weren’t that serious or, even, that you weren’t really injured at all. You didn’t want to make a big fuss over nothing, not to mention incurring high medical bills and letting your day get even farther off track than it already was.

In the hours, days, and weeks after the accident, though, you may find that you don’t feel right. Those initial aches and pains continue or worsen. Strange new symptoms may arise that keep you from sleeping, affect you while you’re working, or otherwise interfere with your life.

Among the most common car accident injuries that first appear as “not serious” are herniated discs and closed head injuries.

Herniated Discs

Your spine is more than just bone. Soft discs full of a gel-like substance act as cushions for your vertebrae. The impact of a collision can damage these discs – causing them to weaken, rupture or bulge in a way that impinges on nearby nerves.

Back pain, leg pain, tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, sudden weakness in your hands – a herniated disc may be the culprit for all of these mysterious symptoms. Because herniated discs are a type of damage to the soft tissues of the body, rather than the bones, they won’t show up on an X-ray. They may, however, make it difficult for you to work, to live your active life, to raise your family, or to enjoy your favorite hobbies.

Make no mistake. A badly herniated disc, the kind that causes you pain and interferes with your life, is a serious injury. Although mild herniated discs may not even need treatment, the fact that yours is causing you problems must be addressed. You shouldn’t have to live your life in pain.

Whether treating your herniated disc means physical therapy, steroid injections, or a grueling surgery, you can expect your recovery to take a great deal of time and incur significant expenses. For a conservative course of treatment like physical therapy, the medical bills will likely add up to $1,000 or more. If you end up needing microdiscectomy surgery, you’re looking at costs between $15,000 and $50,000, according to Healthline.

All the while, you’re falling behind at work, in your finances, and in your life.

Too often, car accident victims have no idea what could be causing pain, tingling, and weakness in an arm or leg that didn’t even sustain the force of the impact. All they know is that something changed because of the accident – but, not being able to put their fingers on what that something is, they put off going to a doctor. Only after speaking to our experienced car accident lawyers does it become clear what’s going on – and why it’s so important to get the best possible medical care right away.

Closed Head Injuries

If you have an open wound on your head, you may be more likely to take matters seriously. But serious damage can occur inside the brain, even if you’re not bleeding on the outside.

This type of injury is called a closed head injury – opposed to an open head injury – and it can include serious injuries like:

  • Concussions
  • Contusions (bruising) of brain tissue
  • Hematomas (potentially life-threatening bleeding around the brain)
  • Diffuse axonal injury (widespread lesions within the brain capable of causing comas and vegetative states)

In a closed head injury, you may look perfectly fine. The damage may occur when the impact of an accident throws your head into a car window or steering wheel, even if you didn’t suffer a visible cut.

You can also sustain a closed head injury even if you didn’t hit your head in the crash. The force of a powerful impact can be strong enough to cause the soft tissues of your brain to collide with the hard bone of the skull surrounding it.

Closed head injuries can be life-threatening, but just because you walked away from the accident doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. If you find that you’re feeling confused, dizzy, or excessively sleepy, you could be dealing with a concussion. Vomiting, seizures, problems with memory or coordination, and ringing in the ears are other symptoms of concussions, according to Harvard Medical School.

Concussions can take months to heal, and it’s possible to sustain post-concussion syndrome, a medical condition in which certain concussion symptoms last even longer. No matter how much you want this to all just go away, there’s a very real chance that you could need help, rest, and time to recover – and that the financial implications of a closed head injury can threaten your family’s security.

The #1 Reason Car Accident Victims Choose Not to Sue

Among car accident victims, the #1 reason for not pursuing a claim is not knowing if their injuries are severe enough to warrant a lawsuit.

That’s not just anecdotal evidence from what I’ve seen in decades of practice. More than 1 in 4 survey respondents – more than half of those who had reported being injured due to someone else’s negligence – said they chose not to sue because they didn’t think their injuries were bad enough.

That’s the same sentiment many of our clients expressed when they first called our office, a little doubtful but not knowing where else to turn for help. Injuries that resulted in only a quick emergency room visit, or no immediate medical care at all, couldn’t possibly be severe enough to pursue a claim… right?

When I listened to the troubling symptoms they described, I was able to answer their questions and direct their next steps in seeking the medical care they needed. And, as they started working towards recovery, they realized just how long and difficult that journey can be, and how the lost wages and medical bills can pile up over time. Any injury that significantly impacts your life, especially on a long-term basis, is serious enough to warrant speaking to an attorney about whether or not to move forward with a claim.