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Delayed Shock Symptoms After an Accident

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Posted on September 26, 2023

If you get involved in an accident, you may not immediately notice the physical and emotional trauma the event inflicted. Delayed shock is a common medical condition suffered by accident survivors. You may experience the symptoms of delayed shock hours or even days after a car accident or another harmful event.

What Is Delayed Shock After a Traumatic Event?

A state of traumatic shock is a medical condition where a source of physical or psychological trauma causes a sudden decrease in blood flow throughout the body, resulting in a subsequent loss of oxygenated blood cells reaching the organs. If shock is not treated promptly, the loss of blood and oxygen can cause permanent organ damage, organ failure or even death.

Delayed shock describes a case where an accident victim experiences shock sometime after the traumatic accident occurs. This may happen due to the brain’s protective mechanism blocking out a traumatic event, or the fight-or-flight response masking initial feelings of shock. Once the victim is in a safe place, his or her brain may recall the traumatic event, and shock can set in.

What Are the Symptoms of Delayed Shock?

It can take the body and brain time to catch up on what you have lived through as an accident survivor or witness to a traumatic event. Once you have had time to fully acknowledge what happened, you may experience the various symptoms of shock. These can include:

  • Pale, gray or ashen appearance
  • Cold, sweaty or clammy skin
  • Rapid pulse and heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation or confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

A common example of delayed shock is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This is a type of psychological shock that can arise hours or days after an accident. The symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, increased blood pressure, muscle tension, nausea, headaches and body aches.

How Long After an Accident Can Shock Set In?

There is no precise timeline for a case of delayed shock. Every patient is unique. How long it takes to notice the signs and symptoms of shock can depend on the amount of physical pain or emotional trauma inflicted in the accident and the individual’s coping mechanisms.

Some patients experience traumatic shock just moments after an accident, while others feel the symptoms of shock hours later. In some cases, delayed shock can take one or two days. Once the symptoms of psychological shock appear, they can last for weeks, months or even years after a car accident or traumatic event.

Pursuing Compensation for Delayed Shock After an Accident in Florida

Delayed shock is a diagnosable medical condition with physical, mental and emotional effects that can impact a victim’s daily life – sometimes, for many years at a time. Shock from a traumatic event could result in medical bills from professional treatments and psychological counseling or therapy, lost wages from the inability to work, and other financial losses. It can also inflict significant pain, suffering and emotional distress.

You may be entitled to financial compensation for all of the symptoms and effects of delayed shock after an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence in Florida. Even if you initially said you felt fine after an accident, if you are later diagnosed with delayed shock, you may still be eligible for compensation. Discuss a potential personal injury claim involving delayed shock with an accident attorney at Vanguard Attorneys for more information.