It’s a common misperception that people involved in minor car accidents that leave few visible injuries don’t need to seek medical evaluation.

In many ways, it’s quite understandable. You’re on your way to work or to pick the kids up from soccer when a distracted driver rear-ends you at a red light. Harried and hurried, you assess the damage — minimal or none — exchange insurance information with the at-fault but contrite driver and head back out to complete your daily tasks. No harm, no foul, right?

A case in point

Maybe not, as it turns out. Consider the case of a Nebraska woman who got into a car accident. She suffered some head and facial injuries which she thought completely resolved over time. But after the accident she was plagued by a constantly-running nose that her doctors attributed to allergies.

Eventually, at her wit’s end, she sought another opinion. An astute physician’s assistant correctly diagnosed that she had a hole in her skull from which cerebrospinal fluid had been leaking for two years. She had been losing as much as half a liter each day.

While few people will likely experience a condition as dramatic as the Nebraska woman’s after most auto accidents, it’s important to be proactive about your health and well-being after a wreck with another motorist. The following information may be useful if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Adrenaline can mask serious injuries

After the impact of a collision, your body is flooded with adrenaline. This survival reflex enables you to flee from dangerous situations even after being badly injured. But it can’t reverse any damage you may have suffered in the accident.

Untreated internal injuries can be deadly

You may think that a few bruises from a seat-belt or even the steering column are nothing more than a minor cosmetic annoyance. But your injuries could be far more serious than they initially appear.

Untreated internal bleeding can kill you. Aortic disection or a lacerated liver from blunt force trauma can kill unaware victims in a few minutes or a few days, depending upon the severity of the injury. You could die without ever realizing how badly hurt you actually are.

Don’t roll the dice on your life

After an accident, it’s always prudent to be evaluated by a medical professional. If you are worried about costs, be aware that you may be able to file a claim against an at-fault driver. Remember that it is important vigilant when it comes to ensuring that you get the care you need after being involved in an auto accident.