Can Car Accident Injuries Be Delayed?

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Nearly every car accident, no matter how minor or severe, may cause bodily trauma. Even a minor fender bender inflicts force on your vehicle, which may cause physical harm. Those with pre-existing medical conditions or health problems could become injured more easily than others, making it essential to understand how delayed car accident injuries work. The nature of specific injuries may mean you do not notice them right away. Getting proper medical attention not only keeps you healthy, but also helps support any legal case you may have after the incident.

The Nature of Car Accidents

When your body perceives the threat of a car accident, it sends endorphins and adrenaline into your system. These chemicals help you keep moving until you find safety, but they also block pain. While you may feel fine and whole after a motor vehicle collision, it may take time for you to perceive the physical toll the accident took on your body. That is why it makes sense to not say, “I’m fine,” in the immediate aftermath of an accident.

Car accidents usually trigger delayed symptoms, pain and injuries. Rather than go on about your day and tend car repairs, make time to check in with your body to see whether you notice aches or pains. 

The Timeline for Delayed Car Accident Injuries

Car accident injuries, symptoms and pain may not appear until hours, days or weeks after your accident. Because everyone responds to trauma and pain differently, you may not notice your injuries until days later, while someone else may perceive the same injuries hours after the crash. Rather than wait to see whether you experience delayed pain, injury or symptoms, consider letting a doctor check you out as soon as possible after the accident.

The Most-Common Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms

So that you have a better idea of when you may experience injuries from a car accident rather than pain or discomfort from something else, such as poor posture at work, learn some of the most common delayed injury symptoms:

  • Not getting enough sleep or sleeping more than usual
  • Headaches
  • Neck and back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Shifts in personality or behavior
  • Abdominal pain

If you notice new or odd discomfort, pain or symptoms after your collision, let a physician examine you as soon as possible. That includes symptoms and pain unconnected to the car accident.

The Most-Common Delayed Car Accident Injuries

Some delayed car accident injuries are more common than others. Consider seeking immediate medical attention if you notice any of these.


Also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion happens when the head receives a powerful blow. A force jolts the brain against the inside of the skull, which harms soft tissues and brain cells. You may have a concussion if you experience fatigue, headaches, nausea, a loss of consciousness, trouble concentrating, dizziness, memory issues or a loss of balance. Mild TBIs also cause light and sound sensitivity and a loss of balance and coordination.


When the neck and head snap forward and back from a car accident’s force of impact, you may suffer whiplash. Damaged and overextended nerves, soft tissues, vertebrae and spinal discs running along the cervical spine cause the injury. Common signs of whiplash include trouble moving your neck, neck stiffness, pain running down your upper back and shoulders, neck pain and headaches. You may also notice numbness and tingling if you sustain whiplash.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Examples of soft tissue injuries include contusions, sprains and strains. These injuries happen when soft tissues become stretched, injured or torn. You may have a soft tissue injury if you experience inflammation, pain, tenderness, restricted range of motion and muscle spasms. 

Spinal Injury

Car accidents may damage spinal discs, vertebrae, the spinal cord, nerves and connective soft tissues in the spine. Symptoms of spinal injury range from stiffness, back pain and loss of spinal mobility to tingling and numbness. 

Herniated or Slipped Disc

When a spinal disc’s inner, jelly-like fluid pushes against the disc’s outer ring, the disc bulges into the spinal cord, causing a slipped disc. With a herniated disc, the disc’s fluid seeps through a tear in the outer rings and spills into the spinal column. The force from a powerful car crash may cause a slipped or herniated disc injury. 

Injury symptoms include neck and back pain, but that depends on the damaged disc’s location. If the disc shifts and pushes against the spinal cord or nerve root, you could experience weakness, numbness, electric pain or tingling running down your limbs.

PTSD, Depression and Anxiety

Other than your physical health, you must also make yourself aware of your mental and emotional health after a motor vehicle accident. After all, trauma affects the mind as much as it does the body.

Common emotional and mental responses following a car collision include guilt, shock, difficulty believing what happened, anger, fear and worry. Normally, these emotions fade in the days and weeks following the incident. When these feelings linger or grow stronger, you may experience post-traumatic stress. Difficulties associated with PTSD triggered by a car accident include:

  • Uncontrollable memories of the accident
  • A persistent feeling of unease
  • Experiencing anxiety upon thinking about driving or getting into a car
  • Feeling disconnected from your body, events or people
  • Refusing medical tests
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Excessive anger or worry
  • Irritability

Rather than a medical doctor, consider seeing a mental health professional if you suspect you have PTSD, depression or anxiety after a car accident. 

Abdominal Pain

You may notice abdominal pain after a car accident. If so, you could have internal bleeding. Because the injury may threaten your life, if you even suspect you sustained internal bleeding, seek immediate medical attention. Common indications of internal bleeding include fainting, bruising and dizzy spells.

The Legal Response Following Delayed Car Accident Injuries

To reduce the chances of your car insurance provider denying your personal injury claim, have a doctor check you out soon after your car accident. Other than an insurance claim, you may also have a legal claim against the at-fault party who caused the accident and your injuries. Either way, quick action helps to protect your rights and health.

You can take steps to support and build your claim. For instance, car accident victims should call the police to the scene of the accident, so they make a police report. The report may support an insurance claim and prove which party caused the accident. If you do not call the police, you could jeopardize your personal injury or insurance claim if you experience delayed injuries.

Once your doctor checks you out, submit the medical documentation to your insurance agent. Your doctor’s report proves you received prompt medical attention after the collision.

Other than your insurance company, submit medical evaluation documentation to your legal representative. Legal professionals may help support your personal injury claim, protect your rights and ensure you get compensation for the harm you suffered.

Contact Us Today

If you suffered delayed or immediate injuries after a car accident, do not wait to get medical and legal help. The Mike Morse Law Firm is here to help you get the treatment and compensation you need and deserve from the at-fault party. Call 855-645-3946 to learn more about your case.


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