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woman holding her neck after car accident with smoke emitting from vehicle

Partner with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Personal Injury Law Firm

In 2021, 38,488 car accidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths took place in Virginia. After a car accident, if someone shows obvious symptoms of an injury, such as being unconscious or bleeding, you know they need immediate medical attention. However, many car accident injuries, although not immediately visible, can be just as severe. In fact, many injuries resulting from traffic collisions do not present symptoms until many hours or even days after the crash occurred. By the time you start experiencing symptoms, your injury may have worsened into something long-lasting, debilitating, and even fatal. In these cases, being diagnosed and receiving medical treatment before symptoms become obvious is the best way to circumvent tragic physical and financial outcomes. Even if you think your pain is minor or insignificant from a car accident, you should go to the nearest emergency room or visit your closest urgent care doctor to document any potential injuries. Once you have done that, contact an experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to find out how we can help you protect your right to compensation.  

What is an Invisible Injury?

As its name implies, invisible injuries are physical wounds that are not visually observable. Invisible injuries do not display any outward symptoms and some do not show up on medical imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Despite their apparent invisibility, these injuries are quite real and, unfortunately, often cause a variety of issues for their victims.  

What Types of Invisible Injuries Are Caused by Car Accidents?

Some invisible injuries commonly sustained by Virginia car accident victims include: 

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a neck injury that, although it can occur in any type of accident, most commonly occurs in rear-end collisions. When your neck and head snap violently back and forth during an accident, whiplash is usually the result. Whiplash injuries require immediate medical attention. If left untreated, whiplash can cause serious long-term problems including stiffness, chronic pain and headaches, and a greatly decreased range of motion.
  • Head Trauma: Most people think that if they did not lose consciousness during a car accident, they managed to escape a serious head injury. Sadly, this is untrue. You can sustain a
    concussion, traumatic brain injury, or another type of head trauma and still be conscious. Head injury symptoms to be aware of include nausea, headaches, confusion, tinnitus, and vertigo. 
  • Internal Injuries: Like whiplash, internal injuries can happen in any car accident, but they occur most often in high-speed collisions. A strong jolt or blow can cause internal bleeding and damage vital internal organs. Internal injuries can quickly turn deadly so seeking medical attention immediately after an accident could save your life. 

While invisible injuries do not display outward signs like bleeding or bruising, they can have a major impact on a car accident victim’s life. If you experience immobility, pain, or simply don’t feel right even though you can’t quite put your finger on the reason, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room, tell them what happened, and explain your symptoms.  

How Can I Prove My Invisible Injury if I Plan on Filing a Claim?

One aspect of recovering compensation in a Virginia personal injury claim is proving to the insurance company that you were injured and that your injuries were caused by the accident. The problem that often arises with proving invisible injuries is the lack of strong visual evidence. However, with the right combination of expert testimony, medical records, and skilled representation by a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer, you can still present a compelling case.   

One form of evidence that is heavily relied on in cases involving invisible injuries is the plaintiff’s medical records, including imaging (CT scans, MRI, x-rays). Although your injury may not show up on a medical scan or test, it can still be medically proven that it exists through the use of documentation like the doctor’s notes regarding your symptoms, as well as MRI findings. If you did receive an official diagnosis, your medical records can be used to support your claim. Expert witnesses also play an essential part in proving your invisible injury claim since they can testify that, despite the absence of physical evidence, your injury is real. A vocational rehabilitation professional can testify that you are no longer able to perform duties related to your job due to your injury. If you are unable to work at all, or can only perform in a limited capacity, this testimony can be crucial in justifying a lost wage or reduced capacity claim.  

Lastly, you can also ask family and friends to give testimony about your post-accident condition. Those closest to you can vouch that you are constantly in pain or otherwise affected by your injury. When physical proof of an injury is lacking, testimonies can also act as vital evidence in an invisible injury claim.

All We Do Is Injury Law

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers have more than seven decades of combined experience helping those injured in car accidents compile strong evidence and build compelling cases for significant financial recoveries. One example of this is the $1 million settlement we reached for a woman who was left permanently disabled after a negligent driver forced her motorcycle off the roadway. 

If someone else’s negligence led to your injuries, invisible or otherwise, and you would like to discuss your case with a reputable lawyer and find out what legal options are available to you, schedule a free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our simple online contact form. Virginia imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims so time is a factor. To better serve our clients, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Norfolk. 


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