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Why Delayed Symptoms After a California Car Accident Happen and What They Mean for You

Back on New Year’s Day, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s website published some useful information that knowledgeable San Mateo car accident attorneys, as well as those who’ve been in a crash, already know: that the injuries you suffer in an accident – even a low-speed one – will not always trigger immediately apparent symptoms.

Sometimes, it may take days or even weeks for the symptoms to appear. Our bodies are programmed, in the immediate aftermath of serious trauma, to dump large amounts of adrenaline into our systems. That adrenaline helps our bodies deal with the blow we’ve just been dealt. That physiological reaction may also cause certain people not to feel pain for an extended period of time.

The reality is that each person is unique, and each person’s body’s responses to a crash are also unique. Just because Person A experiences significant pain almost immediately after their crash while Person B takes days or weeks for their problems to lead to the perception of pain doesn’t automatically make Person B’s harm any less authentic or any less serious.

That delay in the onset of symptoms also doesn’t mean that you are any less entitled to compensation for the damage you have incurred. As the article pointed out, these delayed symptoms can vary from headaches to neck/back pain to abdominal pain to dizziness and fainting, and they can be signs of serious conditions like concussions, internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, whiplash or psychological trauma.

As a result of delayed symptoms, some people may not seek out medical care for days or weeks after their crash. Again, the delay in seeking medical treatment is not necessarily proof that that person’s injuries are trivial or are not genuine.

A $750K jury award, even after a 2.5-week delay in seeking treatment

Here’s an example: a 19-year-old woman in Bakersfield who was injured in a 2015 rear-end crash. Seventeen days after the accident, the woman traveled to an emergency room, complaining of back pain and leg pain. During the course of the woman’s treatment, her doctors discovered a disc herniation and the need for a discectomy/laminectomy.

The woman sued (Kern County Superior Court Case No. BCV-17-100175), alleging that these conditions were the result of the rear-end accident and that they would necessitate the woman’s undergoing multiple surgeries to treat fully.

So, did that two-and-a-half-week delay in seeking treatment harm the woman’s case? No, it did not. The jury heard the evidence and ordered the defense, who had offered only $225,000 in a Section 998 settlement offer, to pay a total of $750,000 in damages.

There are many situations where people may try to convince you of things that aren’t true. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident but didn’t experience pain until days or weeks after the crash, some people may try to tell you that you cannot possibly recover compensation for your injuries from those responsible for your crash. Don’t believe them. Instead, contact the knowledgeable auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to get the reliable advice and strong advocacy you deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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