You were in a car accident. The other driver was distracted by their cellphone or radio and plowed right into you at a stoplight. You felt lucky to walk away from the wreck of your vehicle with nothing more than a few bad bruises.
Hold on. Before you decide your bruises aren’t worrisome, you should know that bruises can be a signal that something is seriously wrong. For example, a lot of car injury victims suffer from something called “seat belt syndrome,” where they suffer internal injuries related to the compression of their bodies against their own seat belts. Sometimes these life-threatening conditions are erroneously dismissed as “nothing more than a few bruises” until a patient collapses.
They appear somewhere where you feel no pain from an injury
They are on your legs and black
You have severe pain and the area around the bruise feels hot
You have increased swelling and pain
The bruise seems to be getting worse, not better
You have blood in your urine, stool or the whites of your eyes
Most of the time, it’s far wiser (and safer) to have a doctor evaluate your injuries following any kind of car accident, even if you think you’re only bruised. That way, the doctor can make sure that a hidden injury isn’t lurking.