Most people are shocked to learn that even minor traffic accidents can have delayed, major, long-term effects. For instance, you can get a brain bleed from being smacked in the face by an air bag. The pressure against your face throws your head back to meet the headrest, and you could have some internal injuries in your skull. Even if you can walk away from an accident and feel fine, you may not be. Here are some other delayed long-term effects of minor accidents and why you should still sue the other driver(s).
Not all concussions knock you out immediately. Some take a few hours to build up pressure in your head before you pass out. In the meantime, you could experience a bad headache and shake it off as just a side effect of the auto accident. The long-term effects could put you in the hospital and require surgery to alleviate pressure, so it is always important to see a doctor after a "minor" traffic accident.
With enough force from the driver's side of the car, you can dislocate a shoulder, hip, or knee. A second whack to the same joint could cause it to pop back into place, but by then the fluid has spilled out of the joint cavity and the swelling from the dislocation has already begun. You might think it is just a bruise or soft tissue injury, but it can be much worse. Eventually, you could lose movement in that joint if enough synovial fluid escaped while the joint was out of position. Arthritis in that joint later on is very possible. See a doctor right away for any joints that have swelling and bruising after an accident.
The human spine is not meant to absorb the amount of force experienced in any sort of car accident. This is why so many of the delayed injuries reported by patients are neck and back injuries. These are also the hardest injuries to treat, because the nerves and blood vessels of the spine are so close together. The delayed long-term effects include intense pain and paralysis.
Why You Should Sue after the Fact
Even if you did not seek medical treatment after the accident, most auto accident attorneys will tell you that you can, and should, still sue. The reason for this is that your auto insurance has already filed your claim, and it is difficult to file a second claim for physical injury on the same accident when the claim is considered "closed." That means your long-term care bills are often deemed your responsibility. The other driver and/or your insurance company should be sued to help cover the newly-discovered injuries.