What Does Stomach Pain Mean after a Car Accident?
With emergency phone calls, witness interviews, and police reports, the events following a car accident can be overwhelming. Often, the shock of the accident is so traumatic that a person may not feel as though they have suffered a personal injury. This is especially true for a stomach injury. The symptoms of abdominal pain may not surface until several hours, or even days, following an accident. Some people may choose to skip what they believe is an unnecessary visit to the doctor. But, if left untreated, what may seem like minor stomach pain can manifest in something far more serious and, sometimes, deadly.
When in a vehicle, the human body travels at a specific speed while being restrained by a seat belt. Should the car get into an accident, the abrupt force subjects the body to a trauma that it is simply not meant to withstand, even at low speeds. The seat belt causes an injury to the abdomen known as seat belt syndrome. With the sudden loss of inertia, the seat belt instantly locks and keeps the body from propelling forward. This can cause a myriad of injuries to the abdomen such as internal bleeding or even spinal cord damage.
What are the Signs of Internal Organ Damage?
Passengers involved in a car accident are likely to suffer an injury to the abdomen, simply because of the force applied from the seat belt locking. But the severity of any stomach injury may depend on the location of the crash, the speed of which the car is traveling, and other factors. It is worth noting that children may experience a more severe stomach injury because the lack of development of muscles and their small size; the body’s musculature is used to help protect internal organs.
Blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) commonly occurs from any form of accident, not just vehicular. The abdomen is surrounded by several vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, and kidneys. Any amount of forceful impact can compress these important organs and may also cause internal lacerations or bleeding. With this being the case, it is important to be aware of the signs of BAT or other stomach injuries:
- Visible bruising or bruise-like pain
- Stomach pain or pain in pelvis
- Blurry vision
- Neck stiffness
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Bloated or pressured feeling
- Low blood pressure
- Pale skin
- Painful or sensitive to the touch
- Blood in urine or stool
If these symptoms occur in the hours or days following a car accident or any trauma to the body, it is highly recommended that victims seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, several complications can occur from a stomach injury, some of which may be life-threatening. Injuries such as lacerated organs or liver and kidney damage can lead to a lifelong impairment. If the stomach or intestine is damaged, the rupture could also cause internal bleeding, which could lead to a systemic infection.
A ruptured spleen injury commonly occurs because of the violent nature of a car accident and the location of the spleen itself, which is the upper left portion of the abdomen. Though a spleen injury may not be felt in that area at all, it is possible that it can radiate in the body’s shoulder area as well. The spleen helps the immune system and the body’s creation of white blood cells, which is essential to a healthy body. Though the spleen is not necessary for living, it is particularly important nonetheless, and could lead to death if it is ruptured and untreated. Victims of a ruptured spleen may have to undergo emergency surgery, extensive treatments, and possible removal of the spleen itself.
What to Do Following a Car Accident
There are a few things to do immediately following a car accident, such as checking on the passengers of any involved vehicles, contacting the police, and contacting the insurance companies. But perhaps the most vital step is to seek medical attention.
It is always recommended to seek medical help following any accident, whether it would be a car accident, motorcycle, bicycle, or even a household accident. A victim of an accident may not truly ever know if they had suffered an injury, or the extent of an injury, without visiting a doctor. This is especially true for those in a car accident; the high speeds and suddenness may produce enough shock that it will mask any injury or pain. It will then likely manifest itself later.
That is how minor stomach pain can turn into a serious or fatal injury: lack of medical treatment. For instance, if a patient is suffering from internal bleeding and it is left undiscovered, it could cause an infection that could enter other organs through the blood.
Car Accident Laws in New Jersey
Car accident laws in New Jersey are different than other states in the country. If ever in a car accident, a driver needs to understand these laws when seeking compensation from the at-fault party.
Firstly, New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. This means that each party in an accident contacts their own insurance company for covering their damages, not necessarily the at-fault party. If the injury were severe enough and met other guidelines, such as expenses exceeding the insurance company’s personal injury protection limits, the victim may seek further compensation from the at-fault party.
New Jersey is also considered a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if the court finds the plaintiff over 50 percent responsible for the accident, then they do not get a reward. Furthermore, if the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, their compensation would only be 75 percent of the ruled amount.
The fear of medical bills may cause one to be hesitant to making a doctor’s appointment. But that should not sway a victim of an accident. Medical attention should be sought regardless of the severity of the accident. It is best to let a doctor tell a person they are injury-free than the victim assuming they are instead.
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Protect the Rights of Those Suffering from Stomach Injuries
Suffering an abdominal injury can lead to financial and medical complications that may last for several years or an entire lifetime. The best way to be compensated for the losses experienced in a car accident is to seek legal help. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr right away. Our experienced lawyers will go through the details of your case and fight to get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-537-8570 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.