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Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident: What to Look For

Feeling okay following a car accident does not always mean that you were lucky enough to escape harm. Unfortunately, many injuries are not immediately obvious and have symptoms that develop gradually over time. Meaning that days or even weeks can pass before they make themselves known. If you were involved in a car accident, even a minor one, you should never disregard any pains, aches, or other signs of potential injury. They could indicate an underlying injury or condition that requires medical treatment before it worsens. 

No matter where your car accident took place, the car accident attorneys at Local Accident Reports can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our nationwide car accident lawyers.

What Delayed Symptoms Should I Be Aware of After a Car Accident?

Listed below are some delayed symptoms and the common car accident injuries they might be associated with. After a serious car accident, every symptom should be taken seriously. Seeking immediate medical care is not only in the best interests of your health and well-being, but it will also help your case should you opt to pursue legal action.  

Recurring Headaches

Often caused by whiplash, concussions, and other traumatic brain injuries

Referred to as post-traumatic headaches, headaches arising from car accidents are quite common. They can begin directly after an accident or slowly increase in frequency and severity in the hours or days that follow. During a collision, your head can strike the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, or any other part of the vehicle’s interior resulting in trauma to your head and neck. The force of the impact can also cause your brain to make contact with the inside of your skull, leaving you with a traumatic brain injury. 

Even a one-off mild headache could signify an underlying injury, so do not wait for your symptoms to deteriorate or become intolerable. Your health and well-being should always be your primary focus after a car accident. 

Neck Pain

Often caused by spinal cord damage and soft tissue injuries such as whiplash

Whiplash is the result of the transfer of energy to the victim’s neck. The acceleration and deceleration forces that produce whiplash are powerful enough to lead to lifelong disability. Even in accidents that occur at speeds less than 8 miles an hour, a victim’s head can move roughly 18 inches, under as much as 7 Gs of force in less than a quarter of a second. For reference, the space shuttle Discovery can only withstand 3 Gs of force. It is also worth noting that the transfer of energy is not consistent as victims are often subjected to impact forces that are up to 2.5 times greater than that with which their vehicle was struck. An unfortunate but common misconception is that if the car has little to no physical damage then the same must be true for the victim. However, vehicle manufacturers’ use of enhanced and upgraded bumper systems along with rigid and stiff chassis and vehicle bodies causes a greater amount of G force to act upon vehicle occupants, meaning minor vehicle damage could potentially result in greater personal injury.

Along with whiplash, neck pain arising from a car crash can also be symptomatic of various other soft tissue injuries. Muscle sprains and strains can happen when muscles in the back or neck tear or stretch during the jolt of impact. These injuries often cause considerable amounts of pain and discomfort and can cause permanent joint and muscle stiffness as well as a very limited range of motion if not treated promptly and properly. 

Abdominal Pain

Often caused by damage to internal organs or internal bleeding  

Another common car accident injury with delayed symptoms that could be life-threatening if left untreated is blunt force trauma to the abdomen.  The presence of abdominal swelling or pain following a crash is an emergency that demands immediate medical attention, particularly if it is accompanied by fainting, dizziness, bruising, or headaches. 

Keep in mind that internal bleeding is not always obvious from the outside, and postponing medical care could lead to serious avoidable complications or death. If you notice any of these symptoms after an accident, go directly to the emergency room.  

Back Pain

Often caused by herniated or slipped discs, cervical vertebrae fractures, compression fractures, and other damage to the spinal cord

When the impact of an accident causes undue pressure on the spinal cord, it can lead to numerous back injuries ranging from mild to catastrophic. Pain in the lower back is especially commonplace following a car accident and may be indicative of a soft tissue injury such as a herniated disc. Symptoms can include sharp pains, dull aches, reduced range of motion, and stiffness. A doctor will most likely suggest imaging tests such as MRIs or X-rays to establish the extent of the injury and create a treatment plan.

Tingling and Numbness

Often caused by spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and nerve damage

Nerve damage, herniated discs, and spinal cord damage can all produce tingling, numbness, and even a complete loss of sensation in the affected area. In some instances, these can be precursors to paralysis or other forms of neurological damage.

Experiencing symptoms like these is considered an emergency, especially when they accompany injuries to the back, neck, or head. An emergency room visit is recommended if you experience any tingling or numbness after a car accident. 

Emotional or Behavioral Changes

Can be caused by mild to severe traumatic brain injuries as well as mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder  

Drastic changes in emotions and/or behavior after an accident can indicate both psychological and physical injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are a common source of these changes since they can impact a victim’s cognitive function, behavior, and moods. For instance, they might become easily irritated or frustrated, display erratic mood swings, or have trouble remembering things or concentrating. 

The mental trauma caused by a traffic accident can also cause emotional and behavioral changes. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can arise following a traumatic event. It can also cause associated symptoms such as depression and anxiety as well as gastrointestinal disorders and chronic pain. These symptoms can easily disrupt your day-to-day life and might not diminish without professional help/ 

What if I Suspect I Have an Injury With Delayed Symptoms?

The most important thing you can do is immediate medical attention as soon as the symptoms appear, even if your accident was days or weeks ago. Postponing medical care can have a significant impact on your ability to heal and collect the financial compensation you deserve.

To prove your injury, your car accident attorney will have to prove a link between your symptoms and your car accident using expert testimony, medical records, and other strong evidence that shows your injuries were a direct result of your accident. 

Talk to a Nationwide Car Accident Attorney 

At Local Accident Reports, we understand how confusing a frightening a car accident can be. That is why we provide free consultations to potential clients. This allows us to examine your case, review all of your legal options, and ensure you understand your rights. If you experience delayed symptoms after a car accident, call us to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced nationwide car accident lawyers today. 

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in this incident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Having your case evaluated by a lawyer immediately will ensure your rights are protected. The first step is to request a police report, and we can do that for you. 

Contact us today at


to get the help you deserve. 

Local Accident Reports is here to provide you with valuable resources after you have been injured in an accident. In addition to your free police report, you can also schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys right now to find out more about pursuing compensation. If you any have questions at all about your legal rights following an accident, please don't hesitate to call. 

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Note: These posts are created solely for the use of Local Accident Reports. We have not verified the information in these posts as the information is gathered from secondary sources. If you have personal knowledge that the information contained in these posts is inaccurate, please contact Local Accident Reports immediately so we can make the necessary corrections or remove the story.

Disclaimer: We are providing this information to the general public as a resource to use in the event you or a family member are injured in a similar incident. Every effort is put forth to honor the victims of accidents, and hope the information presented helps others avoid the same type of accidents in the future. The photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident scene. Please contact Local Accident Reports at (888) 657-1460 to be connected with an attorney in your area who will answer any legal questions you may have.

Harvey Barbee is our chief content writer who also has nearly 15 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Combining his skillset as a strong writer along with his in-depth knowledge of the legal system, Harvey uses his talents to write informative pieces for law firms about a variety of topics that affect individuals. He enjoys helping people find creative solutions to their legal problems. When he is not writing or practicing law, Harvey enjoys golf, gardening, and spending time with his family in North Carolina.

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