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Delayed Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident

September 29, 2023Car Accidents

Many severe injuries are immediately apparent after a car accident, but some can actually have hidden or delayed symptoms. Because delayed symptoms can be a sign of severe trauma, seeing a doctor immediately after a collision is critical for your health. Here are the common delayed car accident injury symptoms that should not be ignored. 

Delayed Car Accident Injuries


Headaches can take several days to start but can be severe and debilitating. It may signal a serious problem, such as a traumatic brain injury like a concussion, whiplash, a pinched nerve, or it may just be caused by strained muscles.

Neck or Shoulder Pain and Stiffness

Any delayed neck injury symptoms often mean you have whiplash. Rear-end collisions, in particular, commonly cause whiplash. However, it could also signify a herniated disc or other damage to the spine. An X-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be required to diagnose it properly. 

Back Pain

Back pain or sciatica pain often has a delayed onset. Sciatica is a type of pain that comes from the sciatic nerve and can radiate down one side of the lower body. There are many injuries that back pain could represent, such as a spinal cord injury, herniated disc, pinched nerve, soft tissue injury, sprain, or whiplash. 


Numbness or tingling often means there is a problem with nerve function, either because the nerve itself is injured or something is pressing on it. A loss of feeling in the hands or arms can indicate damage to the neck or spinal column or whiplash. 

Abdominal Pain or Swelling

Internal bleeding can present with abdominal pain, swelling, deep purple bruises, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness. Without emergency treatment, internal bleeding can be very dangerous and possibly life-threatening. 

Changes in Behavior 

Changes to someone’s personality or behavior can be signs of a traumatic brain injury. Examples of symptoms can be numbness in limbs, paralysis, headaches, impaired memory, problems with vision or hearing, mood changes such as irritability or depression, the inability to speak, and more.

Anxiety/Intrusive Thoughts/Hyperarousal/Withdrawal

Car accidents are a leading cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a mental health condition that people can develop after witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event. Symptoms may include severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts about the crash, avoiding reminders of the trauma, feeling depressed, angry, numb, irritable, easily startled, or on edge. 

I Had Delayed Car Crash Symptoms—Can I Still Recover Compensation? 

The biggest hurdle you will face in your car accident claim for injuries related to delayed symptoms is that the at-fault party’s insurer will likely argue your injury is not connected to the crash. Particularly if you did not seek medical treatment immediately after the accident or at least as soon as the symptoms began to manifest. However, a Houston accident attorney can help you gather evidence to link your injury to the collision and build a strong case so that you can recover the compensation you deserve.