Car accidents and other dangerous situations can cause severe or even fatal wounds, but not every injury is immediately apparent. Certain injuries take time to manifest symptoms, and abdominal trauma is one such injury. Any blunt force trauma to the abdomen can damage internal organs, cause internal bleeding that pools in the abdominal cavities, and other complications that may not be visible or noticeable until much later.
What is Abdominal Trauma?
Abdominal trauma is a blanket term used to describe wounds to the internal organs of the abdomen, such as the kidneys and intestines. Abdominal trauma is common in car accidents when passengers do not wear seat belts correctly. Instead of having the belt rest across the lap, some people have them rest across their bellies because it is more comfortable. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous. During an accident, all of the force acting on a passenger’s body will cause them to bend at the seat belt, and the force of impact causes the belt to impact the tender abdominal area.
Symptoms and Complications of Abdominal Trauma
Abdominal trauma describes any major blunt force acting on the tender area of the abdomen, so abdominal trauma can define many possible things. Some of the most common examples include:
- Internal organ damage
- Internal hemorrhaging
- Intestinal ruptures
- Abdominal distension
- Splenic and hepatic injuries
- Peritonitis, or inflammation of the abdominal wall membrane that covers the abdominal organs
- Diaphragmatic injuries
Always check for abdominal trauma anytime it could be a possibility. This is especially true after car accidents, which are one of the most common causes of abdominal trauma. If left untreated, some types of abdominal trauma can turn fatal in a short time.
Date of Discovery
In personal injury lawsuits, injured plaintiffs only have a limited time to file a lawsuit for an incident. This window, known as the statute of limitations, typically begins on the date of the incident. Depending on the defendant and the state in which the incident took place, the statute of limitations can vary, but the law accounts for injuries that are not immediately noticeable. For these injuries, the statute of limitations technically does not start counting down until the injured person discovers the injuries. This is the “date of discovery.”
After an accident, it’s vital to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you believe your injuries aren’t severe or that you were not injured. Some wounds and medical conditions take time to develop. What you assume to simply be a headache and some lightheadedness after a car accident could actually be a concussion. What you assume to be a pulled muscle could be internal organ damage. It’s essential to seek medical care so you can be sure.
What to Do Next After Visiting Your Doctor
After seeing a doctor, you should receive a medical report that outlines the extent of your injuries, any possible long-term complications, and your doctor’s treatment plan. This document will be valuable when it comes to protecting your rights and interests. If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who injured you, this report will help you make your case. If your doctor overlooked the symptoms of abdominal trauma or allows another significant issue to pass unnoticed in your medical report, you may be able to file a malpractice claim later.
Remember that if an injury takes a long time to manifest noticeable symptoms you can still file a lawsuit to recover your losses and hold the responsible party accountable. The statute of limitations begins on the date you discover your injuries, so if you’re unsure about your options, speak with a qualified and reliable personal injury attorney about your situation.