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Attorney Van O'Steen

Accident Injuries Often Show Up Later

Van O'Steen

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People who are involved in accidents, especially automobile accidents, sometimes impair their rights under the law by assuming they are not injured and telling this to witnesses and investigating police officers.

The problem with telling people immediately after an accident that you are not hurt is your statement can be used against you if you discover later that you actually were injured, and you are seeking compensation for your injuries.

Many accident injuries do not show up for days, or even weeks, after the accident.  Just as a new jogger may not feel pain in his legs until a day or two after running, an accident victim often will have no symptoms until days later.  In fact, some of the most painful and prolonged injuries that can be received in an accident are those for which there may be no symptoms immediately after the accident.

If you are involved in an accident and the investigating police officer or some other official asks you if you are injured, you should answer affirmatively if you know that you are.  Then, of course, go directly to a doctor or hospital.

If you are not sure whether you are injured, you should say that you want a doctor to examine you.  It is always a good idea to get a check up after an accident.

However, you do not lose your claim for compensation for injuries received in an accident by saying at the scene that you were not injured.  If you later discover that you were injured, you can still make a claim against the other driver or his insurance company.  Your earlier statement, however, raises a question that could, and should, have been avoided.