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Car Crash Injuries: Why Second Opinions Matter?

October 30, 2023

Probably not, especially if you saw a random ER doctor or a family physician. The medical misdiagnosis rate is above 10 percent. Most of these incidents cause serious injury. The misdiagnosis rate might be even higher for many crash-related injuries. More on that below.

A 10 percent misdiagnosis rate may seem insignificant. In high school, 90 percent is not only a passing grade. It might be the highest grade in the class. But diagnosing and treating a car crash injury isn’t like passing a history test. Car crash injuries, unlike Medieval history, are life-and-death matters. Therefore, doctors have a fiduciary duty, which is the highest level of legal responsibility in California law. 90 percent simply won’t cut it.

A Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer connects victims with doctors who focus on injury-related conditions. A car crash is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, but some doctors see car crash victims every day. They know how to diagnose and treat car crash injuries because they’ve done it about a million times previously. Furthermore, by the time that doctor bill is due, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer has usually obtained the financial compensation the victim needs to pay.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

mTBIs (moderate traumatic brain injuries, or concussions) might be the most common car crash injuries. Modern vehicles have many modern safety and restraint systems. But no such system, no matter how advanced, can possibly absorb all the force in a high-speed wreck.

Individual concussions usually aren’t serious. Most of these victims are okay after they rest a few days. Multiple concussions cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a very serious progressive brain injury that’s usually fatal. Doctors don’t know the threshold level. One or two concussions might cause CTE, or it might be ten or twenty concussions.

Since a single crash-related mTBI could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, doctors must treat these injuries early and aggressively. But, since adrenaline masks pain, many crash victims tell doctors they “feel fine.” For this reason, many doctors don’t order MRIs and other necessary diagnostic tests.

Only experienced doctors know they must ignore the “I feel fine” feedback and aggressively treat an mTBI before it develops into dementia, or something even worse.

Low-speed wrecks, even a parking lot fender bender, often cause whiplash, a different kind of TBI. The violent motion of these wrecks jostles the nerves in the cervical spine. Initial symptoms include disorientation and soreness. Many doctors dismiss these maladies as accident shock. Whiplash, like a concussion, is progressive. Without prompt and proper treatment, whiplash could lead to paralysis.

About 40 percent of car crash victims develop PTSD. Technically, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a brain injury. Car wrecks and other extremely stressful events change the brain’s chemical composition. This imbalance causes symptoms like:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks 
  • Anger

There’s a very fine line between post-traumatic stress, which is normal, and PTSD, which is abnormal. Inexperienced doctors often confuse these two problems, denying victims the treatment they need.

We put PTSD in a separate category because the treatment is different. Doctors must surgically correct the brain bleeding and swelling associated with TBIs. Some combination of drugs and therapy usually treats PTSD. But no one-size-fits-all combination exists. Instead, doctors use trial and error to find the right combination. This process is usually lengthy and expensive.

Internal Injuries

Diagnosis and treatment issues also plague internal injuries. The extreme motion of a crash, as discussed above, often causes internal injuries. If this motion causes a slight abrasion, a kidney or other vital organ could leak so slowly that doctors cannot spot the problem. Victims who continue losing blood usually go into hypovolemic shock.

Up to that point, when victims have symptoms like rapid heartbeats, anxiety attacks, and profuse sweating, which are classic blood loss symptoms, inexperienced doctors assume transient accident shock is the culprit. As a result, the victim usually goes into hypovolemic shock at work, school, or home.

Consult Our Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyers

Car crash physicians approach this problem the same way they approach mTBIs. They assume the victim is bleeding internally until they conclusively rule out that possibility. The aggressive treatment is more costly, but it could be lifesaving. Car crash victims should see car crash doctors. For a free consultation with our Car Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles, contact Attorney Sharona Hakim at the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.


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