Most injuries that result from a car accident are immediately apparent. Sometimes, however, problems and pain don’t begin to show for hours, or even days, after the accident occurs. Often referred to as delayed pains, these symptoms should not be taken lightly and can indicate serious internal injuries.
One of the most common delayed-pain symptoms arising from car accidents is abdominal pain. In fact, this type of injury is known in medical circles as “seatbelt syndrome”.
Wearing a seatbelt can save your life in the event of an accident by keeping you from hitting the steering wheel or being thrown through the windshield, but the shock and trauma suffered by the body are still significant. When a sudden stop occurs at a moderate to high rate of speed, a large amount of force is exerted on the abdominal area by the lap portion of the seatbelt.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and begun suffering from abdominal pain, it is not something to be ignored or dismissed as unimportant. Whether the pain starts immediately or develops a few hours or days later, you should seek medical attention right away.
Possible Causes Of Stomach Pain After A Car Accident
The pressure placed on the body by the lap restraint in an auto accident can be immense. It can cause all kinds of injuries ranging from internal bleeding to fractures of the vertebrae. While bruising or cuts on the outside of your body are easy to see, serious internal injuries are not always so apparent.
One of the most common injuries caused by seatbelt syndrome during a car accident is internal bleeding. Internal bleeding is just as serious as having an external wound that causes too much blood loss. Bleeding inside the body will strain the circulatory system and can cause a minor to a major drop in blood pressure. It’s also possible that internal bleeding can lead to a systemic infection that could spread throughout the body and potentially cause death.
In addition to stomach pain, some other symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Stiffness in the neck
- The feeling of dizziness or weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of vision
- Low blood pressure
- Blood in stool or urine
- Rectal bleeding
If you experience any of these symptoms after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Organ damage can go unnoticed for some time and then slowly present itself as increasing pain. When an organ in your body becomes damaged from trauma, it is almost always impossible for the body to heal on its own.
Without proper and prompt treatment, the organ will eventually fail. When one organ fails, it will lead to the failure of other organs and bodily functions and, eventually, death. Even when a damaged organ is treated, it is possible that it will never reach 100% of its functional capacity again.
Common organ injuries include:
- Bowel obstruction – damage to the small intestine from blunt force trauma
- Peritonitis – Inflammation of the peritoneum which is a silk-like membrane that covers the abdominal wall and protects the organs inside
- Traumatic appendicitis – caused by compression of the abdominal area by the lap belt
- Liver damage – Possibility of rupture or laceration of the liver and/or bile ducts
- Kidney trauma – One of the most common seatbelt syndrome injuries
- Ruptured spleen – particularly vulnerable to seatbelt-related injuries
Any of the above injuries can be potentially fatal. Again, the only way to know if you are suffering from any of these injuries is to see a doctor immediately.
Protect Your Rights, Consult A Pennsylvania Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, you’re entitled to compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered. The first thing you should do after an auto accident is to see a doctor. Then, before you speak to anyone else, you should consult with a qualified auto accident attorney. Don’t talk to any insurance representatives or sign any paperwork until you do.
The team at Solnick & Associates is ready to go to work for you to make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive all the proper treatment and compensation that you are entitled to. Don’t make the mistake of signing away your rights without speaking to a qualified lawyer. Your consultation is free and confidential. You can contact us online anytime or call (877) 415-6495 to schedule an appointment.