Car accidents happen all the time — and people often walk away from them having no idea how badly they’re really hurt because of the temporary effects of adrenaline on their system.

In reality, however, car accidents cost consumers around $277 billion every year — much of it in medical costs.

If you’ve been in a car accident, watch for the following types of injuries:

Head injuries

When your car comes to a sudden stop, the harder and faster the stop, the more likely you’ll suffer a head injury. Unlike your lower and upper body, you head isn’t restrained — so all that force from the vehicle has to end up going somewhere. What seems like a small bump on the head could very well turn into a brain bleed or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could affect your entire life. Don’t disregard even the slightest head injury without further medical investigation.

Facial injuries

Airbags are a great invention — except when you end up with a broken nose, broken eye socket or broken teeth from having one explode too forcefully in your face. If you have any facial pain because an airbag exploded, let the hospital examine you for everything from a bruised brain to fractured teeth — all of which are possible.

Neck injuries

Just like your head, your neck isn’t restrained — unless your seat belt has slipped out of place. (If it has, you may end up suffering from a damaged trachea or vocal chords, or even vocal chord paralysis — so seek treatment quickly.) That often results in the common “whiplash” injury that you may hear a lot about. While people who haven’t experienced a true whiplash injury may be suspicious or dismissive about the seriousness of such a claim, whiplash is no joke — your neck has nerve bundles that control how well your hands and arms operate, and a whiplash can leave you in lasting misery if the problem isn’t treated.

Other injuries

The biggest lesson to take from all of this is that you can’t assume you aren’t injured — even if you initially feel okay or think you just have a few bruises. Let yourself be checked out by doctors right away after a car accident — just to be safe.

If you need representation, our firm has experienced personal injury attorneys who may be able to help.