Watch out for neck pain, brain injuries after a car accident

Let's imagine the concept of a "moderate car accident" -- a wreck that does a fair amount of damage to the cars involved, and probably leaves one or two people with some injuries. Those injuries could be severe, but probably aren't. However, they are still injuries that will affect the person's life.

Now, this context is a common result after a car accident. Most wrecks aren't the headline-grabbing, metal-twisting accidents that you hear about online or on TV. But even these more mundane accidents can cause serious problems for the victims. For example, there are many injuries that can be suffered in a car accident that are not immediately apparent.

Neck pain and whiplash are common types of this kind of injury. A brain injury or concussion could be suffered as well, and even if it is a minor form of such an injury, the effects can still be debilitating. Headaches, memory issues, vision problems, changes in behavior -- these are all symptoms of neck or brain injuries in the wake of a car accident, and they may not present themselves until many hours, days, or even weeks after the crash.

The interesting thing about this, according to a study, is that most people don't seek legal compensation for these injuries. The study found that 70 percent of respondents reported "musculoskeletal pain in one or more regions of the body" six weeks after a car accident. However, only 17 percent said they had contacted a lawyer or planned civil legal action six weeks after a car accident.

These types of injuries, though mysterious and hard to quantify, can still be referenced in a civil lawsuit. You have to take care of yourself after a crash, and if whiplash or a brain injury has changed your life, then you need compensation for that.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "Study: post-accident neck pain is common," Mark Huffman, Jan. 21, 2014

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