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Recovering From an Accident? 5 Common Injuries That May Not Have Manifested Yet


Automotive accidents, even objectively minor ones, can feel highly traumatic. These incidents find you in a place you assume is safe-your car-and then they disrupt your day, damage your property, and affect your physical well-being.

Walking away from the site of your accident without any injuries requiring hospitalization can come as a major relief. But just because you don’t have any obvious injuries the day of your accident doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

In fact, because most people experience a surge of adrenaline during an unexpected event like a car accident, you may not really feel most of your injuries until you settle somewhat. For some injuries, it can take weeks or even months for your symptoms to fully manifest.

In this blog, we list five common injuries that can appear on a delayed timetable.

1. Concussion

Concussions represent one of the most common injuries related to car accidents. Concussions occur when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. Most people with concussions see symptoms within a few days, including disorientation, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and vision changes.

These symptoms can also result after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). See your doctor immediately for evaluation if you experience these symptoms, especially if you lose consciousness for any length of time.

2. Internal Bleeding

Even if you don’t have a scratch on your skin, you can’t vouch for the safety of your vital organs during a collision. Because internal bleeding does not require an external wound, many individuals write it off as a possibility.

However, if you notice abdominal bruising, abdominal swelling or deformation, or dizziness within two days after an accident, seek medical attention.

3. Nerve Damage

After collisions, many individuals experience spinal health issues, which sometimes includes nerve changes or damage. For example, numbness or complete loss of feelings in the arms can indicate a serious neck injury. This type of injury can relate to whiplash, which affects 20% of all car accident victims.

Numbness can appear days or weeks after the initial incident.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Even if you emerge from your accident with no physical injury, the event can have difficult psychological repercussions. Most trauma responses to car accidents are not actually diagnosed as PTSD-they just have similar symptoms.

Talk to a mental health professional if you experience high anxiety, debilitating depression, or vivid flashbacks or nightmares after an accident. Therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication may help you control these symptoms.

5. Spinal Injury

Serious spinal injuries can affect more than your nerves. You may experience discomfort in your neck, shoulders, mid-back, lower back, hips, or upper legs due to spinal injury. If you notice soreness, stiffness, or acute pain in these areas, see your doctor.

This discomfort can indicate anything from ligament strain to fractured vertebrae. Untreated spinal injuries tend to get progressively worse over time and can result in permanent damage.

What if You Don’t Notice Injuries Right Away?

Regardless of which, if any, injuries you have following a car accident, see a doctor for any discomfort. If you decide to pursue an insurance or personal injury claim, you may need to provide proof that you sought medical care for symptoms you did experience.

Do not make any settlement decisions without doing all of the following:

  • Discuss your options with your attorney.
  • Have a full medical checkup.
  • Wait a reasonable period for any latent injuries to manifest.

Delayed injuries can be some of the toughest to overcome, especially if you do not receive the help you need to do so. Keep an eye out for any of these injuries as you work to recover from your accident.