See your doctor immediately if you notice bruising, lightheadedness, nausea or other ambiguous symptoms after a collision. These may be signs of gradual but dangerous internal bleeding.
Formal medical diagnosis is also critical for legal reasons. Otherwise, it may be unnecessarily hard to get maximum compensation from your insurance, other drivers’ insurance, and even other drivers personally.
What exactly is internal bleeding?
Our bodies are replete with blood vessels, from our skin to our deepest organs. Internal bleeding (often called hemorrhaging) occurs when deeper vessels rupture, but there’s no open wound for the blood to exit.
It can develop for all sorts of reasons, but trauma may be the most prevalent. Car accidents often involve blunt-force impact and rapid deceleration, both of which are common causes of hemorrhaging.
Severe blood loss can, of course, prove fatal. Depending on the location of the hemorrhage, it may also result in organ damage and necrosis (the death of tissue) due to lack of oxygen and nutrients.
How could I not notice internal bleeding?
One of the greatest dangers of internal bleeding is that its symptoms and severity don’t always match.
Blunt-force impact may leave obvious signs, such as massive bruising, broken bones, or even crushing injuries.
But deceleration can tug and tear vessels—or even entire organs—without dramatic or immediate symptoms. In less severe cases, symptoms may manifest over the course of multiple days.
That’s one of the main reasons why you should never tell others you aren’t hurt in the aftermath of a collision. In many cases, it’s simply too soon to tell.
What internal bleeding symptoms should I watch for?
Non-obvious symptoms are the overarching concern. They may happen gradually and could indicate a wide range of injuries.
Typical signs include:
- Lightheadedness (especially upon standing up) and generalized weakness
- Trouble seeing, feeling, breathing, or moving as normal
- Pain around the upper-left chest, left shoulder, or upper left arm
Seek emergency care for any of the above.
It’s worth reiterating that these symptoms have many possible causes, ranging from trivial to life-threatening. A hemorrhage isn’t the only one, but it’s one of the more severe.
How do doctors treat internal bleeding?
Doctors may give IV fluids or even blood transfusions to stabilize blood volume. It can be difficult to locate a hemorrhage, so they’ll generally use scans to look for pooled blood inside your body.
At that point, treatment is typically surgical. The details of the procedure depend on the location and severity of blood loss.
Do I need to talk to an attorney about it?
Collisions bring overwhelming aftermath. It’s stressful enough to deal with the diagnosis and treatment of suspected internal bleeding and a potentially long healing process.
But then there’s the endless documentation, insurance disputes, and sometimes more complicated legal matters.
At Bridge Law, our team of auto accident specialists is here to fight for you and for every penny you deserve. If you’ve suffered a hemorrhage in a car accident, then contact us to discuss your case and options.