After you’re in a car crash, one of the things you may notice is that you feel okay. You may not have any significant pain or bruising. Since that’s the case, you probably feel like going to the hospital isn’t necessary, but stop and think before you make that decision.

There are injuries known as delayed-onset injuries. They’re delayed because of several factors. First, you have adrenaline and endorphins pumping through your body as a result of the collision, meaning that your own body is masking the very injuries that threaten it. Second, the body requires time to send out the “pain signal.” If you have suffered an injury to your head or neck, it may have trouble doing so in an appropriate manner.

What should you do after you’re in a collision?

The first thing is to remember that you have to go to the hospital. It doesn’t matter how you feel, because there is a risk that internal injuries or head injuries are keeping you from understanding the full extent of your injuries.

In the case that you do decide not to go to the hospital, keep in mind that your injuries may develop over the next 24 to 48 hours or even longer. During this time, the adrenaline from the collision dissipates. If your body chemically concealed your injuries in the hope of giving you time to get to safety, it takes time for those chemicals to leave the blood. That’s when you’ll start noticing pain, deepening bruising and other possible injuries.

While many people don’t want to go to the hospital following a crash, it’s a bad idea not to go. Why? Here are a few injuries that could be concealed by your body.

  • Whiplash
  • Head injuries
  • Organ injuries (internal bleeding)
  • Broken bones

These can be significant injuries, with some even becoming life-threatening over time. Going to the hospital right away helps medical professionals have the time to look for and treat slow bleeds and other injuries you haven’t recognized yourself.

If you don’t go to the hospital following a car accident, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your right to do so or that you hurt your legal rights to compensation. What you must do is go to the hospital as soon as you recognize that there is a problem. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the better. This is true for your potential legal case and for your own health.