car accidents are serious enough that victims sustain immediate, obvious injuries requiring
emergency medical attention. More often, however, accident victims may
not realize their injuries right away. The shock of the accident can initially
mask the severity of your injuries, and some injuries may not even appear
for hours, days, or even weeks.
It is unclear why some people may experience injury symptoms right away
and others do not. But, in any case, studies have shown that specific
injuries may take certain amounts of time to appear.
Types of Injuries That Can Take Time to Appear
Often, injuries appearing several hours after the car crash prompt victims
to seek medical treatment. However, if it has been a few hours, days,
or even weeks since the crash and you are just now noticing signs of injury
but have not yet seen a doctor, make an appointment or go to the emergency
room/nearest urgent care center right away. These injuries can be very
serous and, in the worst cases, life-threatening.
Some injuries that may take time to appear after a car accident include:
Bruising: Bruises, or contusions, can take hours or days to appear. Bruises are usually
mild and will typically heal on their own. However, severe bruising could
indicate a more serious injury.
Internal Bleeding: Internal bleeding, also known as the “seatbelt syndrome,” can
take anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days after a motor vehicle accident to appear.
Concussions: Concussion symptoms may take several hours, days, or even weeks to appear.
Concussions are relatively mild brain injuries but should still be treated
by a doctor.
Whiplash: Whiplash is a common neck injury sustained in motor vehicle accidents,
but its symptoms may not appear for several days or weeks after a crash.
Neck and Back Injuries: Slipped or herniated discs, muscle strains, and other injuries to the neck
and back may not appear for days or weeks following the accident.
Chronic Widespread Pain: Although chronic widespread pain is often immediately obvious, it can
worsen significantly in the days, weeks, and even years after the initial
Mental Health Conditions: Serious car accidents can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress
disorder, and other debilitating mental health conditions, the symptoms
of which may not appear for weeks, months, or even years.
Signs of a Delayed Car Accident Injury
If you were involved in a car accident, it is important that you are aware
of the signs of a delayed injury so that you can seek prompt medical treatment
should symptoms arise. The signs of a delayed car accident injury vary
depending on the type of injury, and many symptoms of different injuries
overlap, which can make it difficult to determine the exact injury you
may have. It is important that you see a doctor right away if you notice
any new or unusual bodily or mental health changes after an accident.
Some signs of a delayed injury after a car accident include:
- Pain and soreness
- Stiffness, especially in the neck, shoulders, or back
- New or worsened headaches
- Numbness in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes
- Back pain
- Exceptionally painful bruises
- Difficulty moving, sitting, or standing
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Flashbacks to the accident
- Changes in mood or behavior, such as increased irritability, aggression,
Never brush off new or worsening injuries as simply the expected result
of a car accident; these symptoms and signs could indicate a more serious
underlying issue. You should always see a medical professional and receive
a proper diagnosis of your injuries after a motor vehicle collision.
We invite you to speak to a member of our legal team today during a free,
no-obligation consultation. Contact us
to get started!