People often think of “shock” as an emotional or psychological response to a traumatic event. However, the body can go into physical shock, which is something completely different.
This happens when blood isn’t flowing through the body the way it should be. This can result from internal bleeding, which is one of the too-often undiagnosed and very serious injuries that people can suffer in a collision.
Internal bleeding can occur in any number of parts of the body. It can be extremely serious and even fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated right away. Two common types of internal bleeding after a crash are bleeding in the brain and the digestive tract. Joints and muscles can even experience internal bleeding.
Recognizing the signs of shock
When the body is in shock and blood isn’t flowing normally, oxygen doesn’t make its way to the organs as it needs to. If it’s not treated, a person can suffer organ failure.
A person who is suffering from shock can experience any number of symptoms, including:
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Enlarged pupils
- Rapid breathing and/or pulse
- Changes in skin temperature and color – usually involving cool, pale skin
- Fingernails that turn bluish or grey
- Decreased urination
Even if you felt relatively fine after a car crash and declined first responders’ offer to take you to the hospital, it’s always wise to seek medical treatment from your physician or even go to an emergency room as soon as possible to be fully checked out. If you or a loved one can describe what happened to you in the crash, doctors will know what kinds of diagnostic tests to perform to check for any damage or injuries that may not be readily detectible.
Even a relatively minor crash or one where airbags deployed and seatbelts worked properly can have a serious effect on the human body. You can’t always know the full effect in the first few hours or even days. That’s just one reason why you don’t want to accept a settlement from an at-fault driver’s insurance company until you know the full extent of your injuries and damages.