Symptoms of Delayed Injuries from a Car Accident

January 24, 2023

When you think of car accident injuries, you probably think of broken bones and cuts that require stitches. However, not every injury is immediately apparent. Some injuries take hours or even days to show up, and unfortunately, these injuries can be quite serious. Know what symptoms to watch out for and when you need to seek medical care.

Not sure what your next step is after a car accident? Let us help. Call Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-826-4129 to set up a consultation right away.

What Types of Injuries Take Time to Show Up?

There are several injuries that may take time to show up. This is partially because of adrenaline. The adrenaline surge that occurs in an accident can mask the pain temporarily, leading you to think that you are in better shape than you really are. Once that adrenaline wears off, you get a better sense of how you really feel.

Some injuries that have delayed symptoms include:

  • Whiplash
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Spine injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • PTSD and other mental health issues
  • Internal bleeding

Symptoms to Watch Out For

If new or worsening symptoms start showing up in the hours and days after a car accident, pay attention to them and take them seriously. They could be indicative of a serious injury. Below, find some of the most common delayed symptoms arising from car accidents.


Headaches are fairly common in car accidents. When they last long after an accident or don’t show up immediately, that could be a red flag. In the best-case scenario, a headache is a mild symptom resulting from the physical trauma of the accident that goes away with rest, hydration, and NSAIDs. In more serious cases, a headache may be indicative of a blood clot in the brain, serious traumatic brain injury, or concussion.

Back and Neck Pain

Back and neck pain can be a sign of a serious injury after a car accident. Back pain may be indicative of something wrong with your spine, such as a herniated disc, misaligned vertebra, or other injuries. These injuries tend to worsen without proper treatment, and long-term damage to the spine or spinal cord may result. This could leave you with limited sensation or functionality in the affected area of the body.

Neck pain is another worrying symptom. It’s very common in car accidents—just consider how much force your neck sustains when your head moves forward and then snaps back in a crash. However, while whiplash tends to go away with team and rest, other injuries may require immediate attention. Watch out for a severely limited range of motion, stiffness, pain that worsens with time, and swelling in the neck.

Note that these symptoms may also cause pain that extends down into the shoulders.

Stiffness in Your Muscles

Muscle stiffness is often a sign of a sprained, strained, or torn muscle. In some cases, muscle damage heals with time and rest. In others, you may need surgical treatment or bedrest to achieve a full recovery.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep issues may be a sign of a traumatic brain injury or even internal bleeding. Internal bleeding is often marked by intense fatigue that worsens with time, and patients may even find themselves unable to keep themselves awake. Traumatic brain injuries may lead to fatigue, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, or disturbing dreams.

Changes in Mood or Personality

Another sign of a traumatic brain injury is sudden changes in personality or mood. If someone starts lashing out, behaving inappropriately, or displaying extreme mood swings, a traumatic brain injury could be to blame.

Abdominal Pain

When combined with paleness, fatigue, and deep purple bruising, abdominal pain may be a sign of internal bleeding. This is an injury that is fatal if not treated immediately.

Fight for Just Compensation with Hodges Trial Lawyers

Even if you feel fine right after a car accident, serious injuries could be lurking. Seek medical attention (after an accident) even if you don’t think you need it, then talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to explore your legal options and protect yourself.

Ready to talk to us about your claim? Call our office today at 256-826-4129 or fill out our quick and easy contact form to have a team member get in touch with you.