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What Are Latent Injuries?

latent injuries

Most of the time, symptoms of serious injuries show up immediately after a major accident. But did you know that an adrenaline rush can mask the pain of a serious injury, making symptoms show up as late as 24 to 72 hours after an accident? Delayed injuries like this are called latent injuries. Latent injuries can also show up after years of wear and tear on the body or even after long-term exposure to dangerous substances. Below, our Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys break down latent injuries: common examples, common causes, whether or not you can sue, and so much more.

If you have suffered latent injuries from a car accident, work accident, or even a slip and fall accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The legal team at Ashenden & Associates has decades of combined experience and knowledge of personal injury law. We have what it takes to make sure injured victims are appropriately compensated for their suffering. Call a Sandy Springs personal injury attorney at 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation today.

What Are Latent Injuries?

Latent injuries are severe injuries or health conditions that appear hours, days, or even weeks after an initial accident. This is often due to the adrenaline rush that accompanies a major accident, such as a car accident.

The human body is amazing in that it will do just about anything to save your life in the midst of a crisis. That means it will release enough adrenaline hormones to shift into fight or flight mode so that you can get out of a dangerous situation, even if you’re already injured. In life-or-death situations like this, an adrenaline rush can mask the pain of a serious injury that you sustained in an accident. Until you get to safety and start calming down, you may not feel the pain or other symptoms associated with your severe injury. These symptoms could appear hours, days, or weeks after an accident. This is what medical professionals refer to as a latent injury.

That’s why it’s so crucial to seek medical attention immediately after any accident, even one you deem as minor. A simple medical exam could detect an injury or serious medical condition long before you do.

Common Examples of Latent Injuries

Common injuries that can appear hours, days, or weeks after an initial accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries and spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries such as whiplash
  • Internal injuries such as organ damage or failure
  • Internal bleeding
  • Torn ligaments
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Gradual loss of hearing or vision
  • Certain type of bone fractures, such as hairline fractures
  • Certain types of cancer after long-term exposure to toxic substances (such as Roundup or asbestos)
  • Cardiopulmonary and circulatory conditions

If you have suffered any one of the aforementioned latent injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. A Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer at Ashenden & Associates has decades of combined experience in helping clients recover financial compensation for their personal injuries. We can help you do the same.

Common Causes of Latent Injuries

A latent injury can occur in almost any type of accident, even one that you caused yourself. Below, our team of Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys list various types of negligence-based accidents that could lead to a latent injury. If you have suffered serious health complications due to one of these accidents, be sure to contact the personal injury lawyers at Ashenden & Associates.

latent injury

Car Accidents

Even the most minor car crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, organ damage, internal bleeding, and so much more. In fact, most minor brain injury and whiplash cases start creating symptoms between 24 to 72 hours after a car accident. That’s why it’s so crucial to get checked for signs of a head injury and internal damage immediately after the accident. Doing this could save your life.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims – such as surgical errors, medication errors, chiropractic errors, anesthesia errors, the list goes on – can definitely lead to latent injuries. Examples of latent injuries caused by medical negligence could include strokes, seizures, heart attacks, allergic reactions, and more. Basically, if you can prove (with the help of an experienced attorney) that a doctor’s negligent actions or inactions caused you to suffer a delayed medical condition or injury, then you may have a strong medical malpractice claim.

Premises Liability

Premises liability violations such as broken stairwells, wet floors, and uneven sidewalks can easily lead to a slip and fall accident. Slip and fall accidents can be incredibly dangerous and can cause latent injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, torn ligaments, and more. Many slip and fall victims are not aware of the extent of their injuries until they go home and try to continue on with their normal daily tasks.

Product Liability

Defective products can also lead to latent injuries. The best example of this involves the recent hair relaxer lawsuit that began near the end of 2022. Medical professionals determined that the chemicals used in many types of hair relaxers are “probable human carcinogens” which have been linked to cases of uterine and ovarian cancers. These types of cancers are considered latent injuries because it took months or years of exposure to these chemicals before women began receiving diagnoses.

If you have suffered a major injury or illness due to a dangerous product, a Sandy Springs personal injury attorney can help you obtain justice and compensation.

latent injury definition

Work Accidents

Some jobs – such as blue collar jobs – are inherently more dangerous than others. There are far more risks for physical injury because most blue collar workers operate heavy machinery, handle dangerous chemicals, and/or are constantly exposed to loud noises. Common latent injuries that blue collar workers can suffer from are repetitive motion injuries, specific types of cancer, and gradual loss of hearing.

But people with normal desk jobs can suffer latent injuries as well, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back or neck pain, sciatica, and exposure to dangerous illnesses or substances.

If you have suffered one of the aforementioned latent injuries due to your job, you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim in Georgia. But filing a claim for a latent injury in Georgia can be complicated due to the time limit. Georgia allows injured workers to file a claim within 1 year of their injury. Because latent injuries are basically delayed injuries, filing a worker’s comp claim can get complicated. That’s why you should always seek legal advice from Sandy Springs work injury lawyers at Ashenden & Associates before filing a claim.

Exposure to Dangerous Substances

We have all heard those mesothelioma commercials on TV: “If you have developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to significant compensation.” Mesothelioma is one of the most common examples of a latent injury. Many Baby Boomers were unknowingly exposed to asbestos at work and are just now suffering the consequences.

Another common example is cancer caused by exposure to the common weed killer – Roundup. This type of latent injury is very common among gardeners, groundskeepers, farmers, and other agricultural workers.

If you’re now developing major health complications due to long-term exposure to dangerous substances, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim.

Can You Sue for Latent Injuries?

Yes, you can definitely sue for latent injuries if you avoid most of the mistakes to avoid for personal injury claims, although they may be more difficult to prove than injuries that appear immediately after an accident. Firstly, you have to prove that your injury was caused by negligence. The best way to do this is through the four elements of negligence:

  • Duty of Care: All drivers, property owners, employers, doctors, and product manufacturers owe a duty of care to the public. This means that these people must take reasonable care to keep drivers, patients, consumers, and visitors safe from foreseeable harm.
  • Breached Duty of Care: The person breached this duty of care through negligent actions or inactions.
  • Causation: The victim suffered a latent injury as a direct result of negligence.
  • Damages: The victim suffered a variety of damages from their latent injuries. Therefore, they deserve financial compensation.

Even after the right lawyer helps you prove these elements of negligence, it can still be difficult to link a specific latent injury back to a specific circumstance. Let’s use mesothelioma as an example. If you worked in a blue collar job 35 years ago that may have exposed you to asbestos – and you along with a few of your old coworkers are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma – it can be difficult to determine if the asbestos exposure occurred at that job or the next job you had. You could have even been exposed to asbestos in an old house you lived in. Situations like this require lots of evidence – like medical records, witness statements, asbestos samples, etc. – and an experienced personal injury lawyer at Ashenden & Associates.

Damages for Latent Injuries

A Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer at Ashenden & Associates can help you recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:

  • Past and future medical bills for treatment, medications, etc.
  • Past and future rehabilitative bills
  • Expenses associated with necessary medical devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, breathing machines, etc.
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental health counseling expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial expenses if the latent injuries result in wrongful death

Georgia Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

In Georgia, victims have two years from the date of their accident or injury to file a personal injury claim in civil court. This timeline can be complicated for a latent injury victim, because as previously stated, their injuries are delayed. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you become aware of your injury or illness. We can help you determine if you still have grounds to file a claim.

what is a latent injury

Call Sandy Springs Personal Injury Lawyers at Ashenden & Associates Today

If you have suffered a delayed injury due to a negligent driver, property owner, doctor, product manufacturer, or employer, you have legal options available to you. The right lawyer can link your injury or illness back to the responsible party, protect your legal rights, and ensure you obtain justice and compensation for your suffering. Allow the top-notch legal team at Ashenden & Associates to take on your personal injury case. Call 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation today.