You probably never saw it coming. Your first indication that something horrific was happening came when you heard the sound of crunching metal, felt your body being jerked in every direction at once and smelled antifreeze, gasoline or motor oil all around you.
By the time you realized that another vehicle crashed into yours, your vehicle finally came to a stop. Your brain began processing the information around you, almost in slow motion at first. Then everything began speeding up and you could see and hear clearly again.
Take a moment to slow down again
More than likely panic set in, and your brain screamed at you to get out of the car. Before doing so, you may want to assess your condition. If you aren't careful, you may cause yourself further injury if you move. For instance, before you even think about getting out of your vehicle, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your back or neck in an odd position?
- Can you not feel any part of your body?
- Do you have weakness or lack of coordination in any part of your body?
- Do you feel extreme pressure or pain in your neck, back or head?
- Have you lost sensation in your feet, hands, toes or fingers?
- Are you experiencing tingling or numbness in them?
- Are you having trouble breathing?
- Did you lose control of your bowel or bladder?
If you answer yes to one or more of these symptoms, you may suffer from a spinal cord injury. In order to keep from injuring yourself further, remain as still as possible and make no sudden movements. Be sure to tell emergency personnel what you are feeling and where.
Don't dismiss these symptoms
If you happen to get out of your vehicle prematurely, is your balance off? Was walking difficult? You may dismiss these or other symptoms, especially if you can get up and walk immediately after the crash. However, that does not mean you are out of the woods. In the days that follow the accident, you could experience the symptoms listed above and others as well.
Just about everyone who suffers a spinal cord injury ends up with some permanent damage, even if it's mild and more of an inconvenience than anything. However, if you fail to undergo a thorough examination, you could end up making your injury worse and any permanent damage could become much more than inconvenient.
Even if you believe it's silly, see a doctor. Not only may it save you from a worse injury, but it begins a paper trail for any personal injury claim you may file against the driver of the vehicle that struck yours. In addition to proving the negligence of the other driver, you will need to provide a Georgia court with evidence of your injuries before you could receive compensation for them.