If you are in a car accident, it is important to check yourself for injuries immediately. Broken bones, nerve damage and soft-tissue injuries typically have symptoms that are impossible to ignore, such as excruciating pain or loss of motion. Sometimes, though, accident-related injuries do not make themselves known right away.
Seat belt syndrome is the collective name for internal injuries that occur during a car accident. Some of these injuries, which may be life-threatening, have delayed symptoms. Therefore, it is critical for you to continue to monitor yourself for possible injuries in the hours, days and weeks after an accident.
According to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sanai, a gastrointestinal perforation happens when the intestines tear, rupture or otherwise break open. While certain cancers, blockages and even viruses may cause you to suffer an intestinal tear, trauma remains a leading cause of this type of injury.
Put simply, if your midsection collides with your seat belt or anything else during a car accident, you probably have some chance of developing a gastrointestinal perforation.
A gastrointestinal perforation can allow toxic fluids to enter your body cavity, potentially resulting in serious complications or even death. Because your intestines have fewer pain receptors than many other parts of your body, you may not realize you have an intestinal tear immediately.
Nevertheless, you should go to the emergency room if you have one or more of the following symptoms after a car accident:
- Abdominal pain
- Fever, chills or night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Ultimately, while calling an ambulance and going to the hospital are likely to be expensive, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation for your intestinal tear and other accident-associated injuries.