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Home » California Car Accident Lawyers » How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

The hours and days after a car accident can be a blur due to the physical and emotional shock the event presents. Individuals may feel alright immediately after a crash because the rush of adrenaline masks symptoms. In some cases, it takes time for injuries to come to light, even life-threatening ones. If you are not transported to an emergency room for evaluation, it is a prudent decision to be checked by your doctor.

If you discover injuries in days or weeks afterward, consulting with an attorney is the right thing to do. An insurance company may try to cast doubt on your injury claim when you report it later. Johnson Attorneys Group won’t let anyone usurp your rights to fair compensation. If negligent actions cause you harm, we make sure the facts are understood.

What Are Types of Car Accident Injuries With a Delayed Onset?

While some symptoms from car accident injuries pass without issue, health shifts over time indicate the need for a medical evaluation. Aside from seeing a doctor or another recommended medical professional, keeping a journal about all your subsequent wellness changes after an accident is a good plan.

This information can be used to support your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the severity of your injury, this is an important record of how your life has been affected that can be corroborated by medical professionals and the people closest to you.

Injuries With Symptoms That Appear Within 24 to 48 Hours

Whiplash Injuries

In cases of neck pain, people often underestimate the problems associated with whiplash. According to data regarding whiplash injury, supposed minor injuries result in 60% of claims for permanent impairment. These are common symptoms:

Individuals often experience decreased range of motion and potential tinnitus (ear ringing) as other symptoms occur.


Head and brain trauma, mild or severe, frequently happens in car accidents. Often, a head injury is closed, meaning the brain is injured by jarring inside the skull and not from an outside blow or penetration. Concussions are usually a milder form of head injury, yet these injuries can have lasting health repercussions. These are common symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Car accident victims can feel a sense of dissociation from the world around them and may have memory issues related to the accident or the time following the crash.

Internal Injuries

Organ damage can result from car accidents. Late-onset symptoms are primarily caused but undetected bleeding or blunt-force trauma. These are common symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)

Hypotension (low blood pressure) may occur from blood loss due to internal bleeding. This issue can rapidly escalate to a critical emergency within minutes.

Spinal Injuries

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 37.7% of spinal cord injuries are attributed to vehicular causes. Some spine traumas are immediately apparent, especially in the case of a seriously damaged or severed spinal cord. Other injuries develop as slipped or herniated discs, which can lead to debilitating conditions. These are common symptoms:

  • Back pain (sharp or dull)
  • Tingling and numbness in legs
  • Radiating pain in buttocks, thighs and legs
  • Pain while standing or sitting

You may notice nagging, aching, and increasingly persistent pain no matter your body position.

Conditions With Symptoms That Appear Within Days or Weeks

It is essential to listen to your body and get treatment when you notice lingering health changes because some conditions and injuries surface quite a while after an accident. While many injuries have physical origins, certain late-onset conditions can arise from emotional and stress-related factors.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Damages to soft tissues can take time to show. Some may be signs of more serious injuries. These are common symptoms:

  • Contusions
  • Swelling
  • Pain

Decreased mobility is a definitive sign of soft tissue injuries as swelling occurs in damaged areas.

Bone Fractures

Swelling and bruising can make it challenging to detect broken bones following an accident. Continued use usually brings a fracture to light. These are common symptoms:

  • Deformity near the fracture
  • Sharp or aching pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling

Most accident victims begin to notice pain in the area of a bone break. Sometimes x-rays don’t show when there is a fracture, so bone scans or other imaging tests are needed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a stress-related mental health disorder that people may suffer from after an accident produces acute trauma. This can be a lasting condition. These are common symptoms:

  • Intense anxiety 
  • Sleep disorders (inability to sleep or nightmares)
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Overly reactive
  • Inability to focus
  • Hyperawareness

PTSD can make it difficult to function or engage with life as you did before your accident.

Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI occurs when a sharp blow to the head causes a closed or open head injury. Often the outcome of a TBI is life-altering. These are common symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Memory difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

A TBI can be quickly apparent due to symptoms related to swelling and bleeding. In other instances, a person’s behavior points to a severe head injury.

What Symptoms Appear Months After a Car Accident?

Unknown injuries present serious dangers to car accident victims. Injuries can slowly emerge or lead to a crisis event in a matter of minutes. Other conditions exhibit symptoms that appear months later. These are some symptoms that can have a protracted onset:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Arm pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Personality changes
  • Behavioral or emotional changes

Given the force a body is subjected to in a car accident, these signs could point to underlying injuries. There are no minor injuries from car accidents until a physician thoroughly evaluates your medical condition.

What Should You Do If Symptoms Appear?

Seeking treatment from a medical professional is the first and most crucial step when symptoms arise. Don’t hesitate to call for emergency transport if you are in a crisis. Second-guessing your intuition could lead to a devastating outcome.

A number of medical issues lead to secondary and equally serious complications prompted by an untreated primary cause of injury. Getting help as soon as you identify concerns is vital to your well-being.

Can You Be Reimbursed for Your Injuries?

You can seek a recovery for both economic and non-economic damages related to your injuries due to another driver’s negligence. An attorney calculates your damages based on your current and potential future losses. When you have a case consult, let the attorney know all your injury details.

Hire a Skilled Injury Attorney To Handle Your Claim

Johnson Attorneys Group is ready to take on your car accident case and fight to protect your rights. Injuries are no less severe due to the passage of time before they appear. If an insurance company uses this logic, we use the law to set the facts straight. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Your future shouldn’t hang in the balance due to someone else’s disregard for your well-being. Hire an attorney to hold a negligent party accountable.

The way to fair compensation is through skilled legal handling of your case. JAG provides the representation you need at the most critical juncture in your life. We want you to retake control and recover your losses. There are no fees unless your case is settled. Let us take a look at your case and answer your important questions.

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