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How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear


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Unless you become unconscious or suffer a broken limb, injuries are often not apparent until hours or days later. If you have been in a car accident, some symptoms could show up days or months after the crash. It is important to know how long it can take for these symptoms to appear so that you can get help right away if they do.

How Long Does it Take for Car Accident Injuries to Appear?

It can take a while for injuries from car accidents to show up. People often don’t realize they are injured until the next day or even later. Car accident pain, symptoms, and injuries may not appear until hours, days, or weeks after the crash.

Our bodies experience a surge of adrenaline and endorphins during an auto accident. This release of chemicals can hide feelings of pain right after the accident. These hormones usually dissipate within a few hours or days, when victims may start to feel the full effects of their car accident injuries.

If you feel fine after a car crash, still seek medical treatment. If the doctor doesn’t immediately see anything, monitor yourself closely in the days and weeks following the accident and make sure to update your doctor if you begin to develop pain and injury symptoms.

pain after a car accident

Car Accident Symptoms Immediately After a Car Crash

The symptoms of car accident injuries can vary depending on the person and type. For example, some people may experience no symptoms immediately after a crash, while others may have immediate pain and discomfort. 

Some common symptoms that may occur immediately after a car accident include:

Symptoms After a Car Crash 24-48 Hours Later

In the hours and days following a car accident, you may experience delayed onset injuries. This means that symptoms from the accident don’t appear until 24 to 48 hours later. These can include headaches, neck pain, back pain, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in your ears (tinnitus), and fatigue.

Injuries that usually appear in this time frame include:

Concussion Symptoms

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury. It is caused by a sudden impact on the head, which can result in a skull fracture, bleeding inside the skull, or damage to the brain. Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • memory problems

car accident symptom, headache and dizzyness

Whiplash Symptoms

A Whiplash is a type of neck injury caused when the head and neck are whipped back and forth quickly. It can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, and discs in the neck. Symptoms include:

  • pain and stiffness in the neck
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • fatigue

Muscle Spasm Symptoms

Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle in the body. They are often caused by stress, fear, or anxiety and can signify that you are injured. Symptoms include:

  • pain
  • cramping
  • stiffness
  • tightness in the muscles

Internal Organ Damage Symptoms

Damage to the internal organs can occur in car accidents. This is most often caused by blunt force trauma to the stomach or chest. Symptoms include:

  • pain, swelling, and bruising in the area of injury
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid heart rate
  • feeling lightheaded or faint

Slipped or Herniated Disc Symptoms

A herniated disc is a type of spinal injury that occurs when one of the discs in your back slips or pops out of place. Symptoms include:

  • back pain, which may be worse at night or when you stand up
  • pain that radiates down your leg
  • numbness and tingling in your legs

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Do not wait to see if the symptoms go away on their own.

woman in a car accident with neck pain

Symptoms After a Car Accident Days or Weeks Later

Some injuries from motor vehicle crashes don’t appear until days or even weeks later. This can include problems with memory or concentration, joint pain, muscle weakness, and gastrointestinal problems.

Broken Bones

Broken bones may not appear until days or weeks after an accident. Symptoms include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • deformity around the bone

Soft Tissue Damage

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, often don’t show up until days or weeks after the accident. Symptoms include:

  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • bruising,
  • limited range of motion

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – 

PTSD is a mental health disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms include:

  • flashbacks
  • intrusive thoughts
  • nightmares
  • exaggerated startle response
  • avoiding anything that reminds you of the accident

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury is a type of head injury that occurs when an object, such as a car crash, violently impacts the head. This can cause damage to the brain cells and lead to long-term problems. Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • memory problems

Symptoms After a Car Accident Months Later

If you have been in a motor vehicle collision, some symptoms could show up months after the crash. It is not unusual for motor vehicle crash victims to experience delayed symptoms. This can be due to the body’s natural healing process; some injuries may heal quickly while others take longer.

You should watch out for the following symptoms:

Many times, these symptoms will go away with time and rest. However, most car accident victims don’t realize they are injured until the symptoms start to show up. Because of this, you may want to keep a journal of your symptoms following the accident. This will help you track any changes in your health and provide information to your doctor.

hand pain after a car accident

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for Delayed Injuries?

Unfortunately, if you wait too long to report it, your insurance company has the right to deny a personal injury claim. To ensure that you’re able to file an injury claim for delayed injuries:

  • Get a police report at the crash scene. Seek medical treatment immediately.
  • Speak with an experienced attorney at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci to find out if you have a case. They will be able to review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Contact Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci Today for a Free Consultation

If you were involved in a car accident that was of no fault of your own, you might have the right to seek compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You do not have to handle this by yourself. You have the right to seek legal counsel and representation from the very beginning of the process.

If you decide you want to seek compensation for your delayed injuries, contact The Virginia Trial Firm. Our lawyers can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve.

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