A car accident is something that happens quickly, often without any warning at all, and yet it is critical that you know how to respond to it immediately. This prompt response can save lives and reduce injuries. For instance, knowing that it’s wise to call the authorities after any crash and then let the emergency crews decide if you need medical assistance can keep you safe when you may have overlooked injuries on your own.

That said, it’s very important not to have any misconceptions about personal injuries that may get in the way. Here are a few common ones to be aware of.

1. You will know if you got injured right away.

You feel like a serious injury should be obvious, but the reality is that it may not be. Remember that adrenaline can help to mask the pain you should feel. That’s your body’s way of helping to keep you alive and alert while you seek help. If you do not feel pain and assume you did not get injured, you may start to notice the pain later that day or the following day. Always talk to a doctor, no matter how you feel.

2. All injuries heal in time.

Many injuries do. Broken bones, cuts and lacerations, headaches, burns: These are all examples of injuries that can heal to a degree and may even heal 100% in time. However, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and other serious types of trauma may never fully heal. Even with proper treatment, rest and time, you may have to deal with the ramifications of the car accident for the rest of your life. That’s not meant to be discouraging, but you need to have proper expectations as you start down this path.

3. When the pain fades, your injury has healed.

Not necessarily. You feel the most pain at the beginning, when the trauma is greatest. That’s your body’s reporting system. It may decrease in time, as you heal. However, just a lack of pain does not mean you healed completely. Some injuries, like knee and ligament injuries, often take months to heal. You need serious physical therapy. You can easily reinjure it if you try to use it again too soon. Talk to your doctor about the real time frame and the way you should heal. Do not just assume that the ordeal is over because you no longer feel daily pain.

Your legal options

Did someone else cause the car accident that led to your injuries? It can feel frustrating to face such a long road to recovery when you did nothing wrong. Make sure that you at least know what legal options you have to seek compensation.