ZocdocAnswersHow do I know if I was injured in a car accident?

Question

How do I know if I was injured in a car accident?

I was riding in a car with my cousin when we got rear ended. It has been three days but I feel fine. I've heard people get injuries late after an accident though. How do I know if I was injured if I don't feel any pain?

Answer

Trauma can have consequences that are long lasting, even when everything feels fine in the immediate period after the event. The majority of major traumatic damage (such as broken bones and cuts) are obvious and can be readily addressed, the problems of soreness and decreased function can become more of an issue as time goes on. Many of the problems that are present after car accidents are of this second type, and develop over time. They often involve the core muscles of stability, such as the muscles of the spine or abdomen, because these are the muscles that are holding us erect and are often not prepared for the trauma of an accident. Due to their relaxed state, they are sometimes more prone to injury and are obviously not as able to protect the spine and other body systems. For that reason, it is generally considered to be a reasonable idea to be evaluated by a physician after automobile accidents of any sort. Xrays may or may not be necessary, but it is good to document that there has been no damage. Additionally, insurance providers will often require an evaluation by a medical professional prior to reimbursing for problems that may arise in the future. Please discuss these issues with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.