If you watch enough TV and movies, you’ve probably seen a certain character. That character is the person who is involved in an auto accident and, in the immediate aftermath, is walking and talking and seemingly unaffected by the crash, only to re-emerge several days or weeks later sporting a gigantic neck brace. This may make for good comedy but it isn’t very realistic at all. The truth is that people may suffer injuries in auto accidents, including very serious ones, and not notice any symptoms for days or even weeks after the accident. Just because you did not show symptoms right away or you declined treatment at the scene doesn’t mean that you weren’t hurt and aren’t entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options for recovering damages, talk to an experienced San Mateo injury attorney.
A recent car crash case (San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2015-00037880) from Southern California is a good example. S.K. was an 18-year-old driver who was driving through Carlsbad. As he approached an intersection, his light was red. When the traffic signal turned green in his direction, he advanced forward. As he passed through the intersection, a cement dump truck broadsided the teen’s Nissan car.
At the scene, S.K. refused an offer of treatment. There are many reasons why an injured driver or passenger might say that he is “OK” and refuse treatment at the scene of an accident, even if he is injured. An injury, potentially even a serious one, can be masked in various ways. Especially for a young driver, there might be a very massive “dump” of adrenaline experienced as a result of the shock and stress of the accident. That uptick of adrenaline can sometimes mute pain receptors and make one think that they are not in pain, even though a significant injury has taken place.
Even more commonly, though, an adrenaline rush is not the explanation, but rather inflammation is. Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself when it has suffered damage. With many soft-tissue injuries, it is the onset of inflammation that is the event that triggers serious pain (and lets you know that you’ve been hurt), not necessarily the underlying injury itself. Sometimes, this can take days or even longer.
Despite all of that science, if you did not report pain or an injury at the time of your accident, you still have to be prepared to face an argument in opposition to your claim that focuses on timing. The fact that you did not report a problem until later is proof that you were hurt elsewhere or were not hurt at all, the defense may argue.
Additionally, if you have undergone conservative treatment in the past but will need a more invasive procedure later, it is important to have ample evidence in that regard. It is possible that the nature of your injuries is such that your past medical expenses may be relatively small but your future medical expenses will nevertheless be very large
S.K. had that kind of proof in making his case. He had evidence that he incurred a back injury as a result of the crash. At first, doctors diagnosed him with a lower back sprain/strain. Later on, however, doctors discovered that the accident had actually inflicted two disc herniations and that the herniations would ultimately require back surgery.
Based on that evidence, the jury concluded that S.K. was entitled to a damages award of $1.55 million. This included $52,000 in past medical expenses damages and $300,000 in future medical expense damages.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact the knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured people for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Overcoming Evidence of Your Pre-Existing Medical Problems to Establish Causation and Get an Award of Damages in Your California Injury Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 8, 2018
California Brothers Obtain $52M Verdict For Injuries Suffered in Crash with Commercial Truck, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 25, 2018