Delayed Pain After an Accident
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the odds of a driver being involved in an accident is once every 17.9 years. Depending on what age you start driving, this equates to about three to four accidents in your lifetime. Of course, not all of these events necessarily result in injuries or in severe property damage.
When it comes to accidents, you can be the safest, most law-abiding driver on the road and another driver can come crashing into you. Depending on where your vehicle is struck and at what speed, various injuries can result. A rear-ender, for instance, can lead to injuries to the neck and spine, often resulting in whiplash.
The problem that many victims of car accidents face is that sometimes the injuries don’t reveal themselves for days, weeks, or even months later. The victim may initially just shrug everything off with the thought, that: “Well, I lucked out. I don’t feel any pain.” That can be a mistake. You must always get a medical evaluation after being involved in an accident. Even the symptoms of whiplash can take a good deal of time to surface.
If you wait for the symptoms to appear for whatever injury you have suffered, making an insurance claim can be complicated by the passage of time. The insurance company and its claims adjusters will be skeptical, thinking that you’re just making things up to cash in. At this point, perhaps months after your crash, you will need experienced legal counsel to help you navigate the claims process and achieve the just compensation due you.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries with delayed symptoms from a car accident in Maui, Hawaii, contact us at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law. We will examine the circumstances of the accident and your resulting injuries and help you file your claim. From that point on, we will negotiate with the insurer, answer their questions, and provide the medical and other proof necessary to justify your claim. If need be and warranted, we can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurer and/or the at-fault driver.
Injuries That May Result in Delayed Pain
As mentioned above, even whiplash, which results from neck and spine injuries to the soft tissue, may not even become physically evident for weeks or months after your accident. In any type of accident, another factor to consider is an adrenaline rush that will mask pain and other symptoms. At the scene of the event, you may feel you’re fine, only to have painful symptoms appear hours, days, weeks, or even months later.
That’s why, for the sake of your own health and well-being – and for any claim you may need to file with your insurance company – you need to start your medical evaluation and treatment immediately. Here are some types of injuries from car accidents that can take time to reveal themselves:
ABDOMINAL INJURIES: There can be bruising, pain, swelling, or tenderness in the abdominal region, which should not be ignored, for they can be signs of internal bleeding. Such injury occurs when a driver or passenger makes contact with the steering wheel or dashboard.
BACK INJURIES: If you feel pain in the back, whenever the onset, this could be a sign of damage to the nerves, muscles, or ligaments. Both rear- and side-impact collisions can result in injuries to the back.
NECK AND SHOULDER INJURIES: Pain and stiffness in the neck or shoulder are generally associated with whiplash, which as mentioned earlier, can take time to reveal itself.
GENERALIZED NUMBNESS: One in every five victims of car crashes will experience delayed tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling in the extremities due to damage to the neck or spinal column.
PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is generally associated with victims of vicious crime or those involved in combat situations, but it can also result from a frightening and painful car accident experience and can last for months or longer. PTSD can interfere with a person’s ability to work and carry out the functions of daily life.
In addition to these, there may also be changes in your personality or impaired physical functions as the result of a car accident. If you suddenly experience changes in vision or memory, seek medical evaluation immediately.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit
If you are injured in an auto accident on Maui, Hawaii’s no-fault auto insurance laws require you to make your first claim to your own insurance provider under your policy’s personal injury protection (PIP) provision. You generally cannot sue the other driver unless your injuries are severe enough or they exceed your PIP limits. You can, if the insurer puts up too many obstacles to your claim, also sue your insurer. A lawsuit for personal injuries in Hawaii, however, must be filed before two years have passed from the date of your injuries.
This statute of limitations does not mean your insurer is going to wait two years for you to make a claim on your PIP. Insurance policies generally have prompt-reporting requirements, so as soon as you are aware of your injuries, you should start the claims process, but don’t face the challenges alone. Insurers employ professionally trained claims adjusters to find justification for low-balling any settlement they offer. Let our dependable team deal with the claims adjusters and fight for the best settlement available.
Don’t Settle or Sign Anything Without a Legal Review
Your insurance company may ask you to sign a medical release or other papers that they deem necessary to pursue your claim. Don’t sign anything without having your attorney review the document. Also, do not sign any settlement without your attorney’s review. Once a settlement is signed, you cannot go back and seek more compensation even if your injuries worsen or resurface later.
Don’t Face Your Challenges Alone
Wherever you are on Maui, reach out to us immediately at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, if you have been injured in an auto accident. Let us handle all the insurance company questions and requests. We are well aware of the tactics employed by claims adjusters and will respond accordingly. While you recover, we will fight for your just compensation.