Most people associate a sudden onset of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — a blood clot that forms inside the leg — with poor circulation caused by having little room to move for an extended period. This can happen to even young, healthy people after an especially long plane ride or car trip. However, it can also be caused by a car crash when the leg is injured.
Even what seems like a minor injury can cause DVT. If a blood vessel is damaged, the blood can clot. If a clot breaks loose and moves to the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism (PE) – and it can be fatal. One study found that as many as one out of every 13 blood clots is caused by minor traumas such as sprained ankles and torn muscles.
Signs of a DVT
After a car crash where your leg was injured, you might expect to have swelling, redness and cramping. Most people wouldn’t associate those things with DVT, but those are symptoms. It may not be until the clot moves to the lungs that they have concerning symptoms like chest pain, trouble breathing and coughing up blood.
This is just one reason why it’s always wise to have a thorough medical exam after a car crash, even if you think your injuries are minor. If you have a family history of DVT, a history of blood clots or have other risk factors, your doctor may want to look for any signs of a clot developing.
The possibility of DVT is just an example of a serious injury or medical condition that may not be obvious in the immediate aftermath of a crash – or perhaps even in the days or early weeks that follow. Even though you may be anxious to get a check from the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible, it can be hard (or impossible) o seek more compensation later if other medical issues crop up. You may want to seek legal guidance to help make sure you’re getting the compensation you need for both your short-term and your long-term medical needs.