Surviving a car accident without injuries is a great blessing, especially considering how horrific such injuries can be. Unfortunately, too may people assume that they are injury-free after a car accident simply because they don’t feel any pain and don’t see visible indications that any part of their body is broken or damaged.

If victims of car accidents assume that everything is fine because they don’t feel significant pain afterwards, they put themselves in serious danger. Delayed pain injuries, which you may not feel at first, can still result in debilitating pain and even long-term damage that lowers your quality of life or possibly kills you. Don’t make a bad day worse by avoiding proper medical care after an accident — it may be the last serious mistake you ever make.

After any car accident, it is wise to seek a full medical examination, preferably from your own doctor, as soon as possible. If you cannot see your own doctor within a day or two, seek some other medical professional that you trust, to ensure that any injuries you may have suffered do not get any worse while you wait.

Injuries you don’t feel can still kill you

If you haven’t yet sought medical attention after an accident and begin to feel pain in your abdomen, you must seek medical attention right now. This does not mean “call a doctor after lunch in a couple of hours.” It means you must stop what you are doing, even if it is important, and seek out emergency medical care.

Both internal blood loss and damage to organs can cause delayed abdominal pain after an accident. While these are very different injuries, they are both equally deadly, and are very painful deaths to experience.

Internal blood loss threatens the function of your organs, and also presents an opportunity for infection to set in. Because the circulation system feeds every part of your body, an infection that develops at the site of bleeding can spread throughout the body, just like one could poison a water supply that flows to many homes. Once an infection spreads, it quickly turns deadly.

Organ damage poses a completely different threat — systemic organ failure. If your body cannot repair the damage done to an organ, the organ will fail, and all other organs will follow.

Protect yourself first

After you identify and treat any injuries, you can step back and assess the legal side of your circumstances. If some other party is responsible for your injuries, make sure to build a strong claim that protects your recovery and safety while preserving your rights. With a clear legal strategy and your health already addressed, you can face your recovery with confidence while you work to get back to your normal life.