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Common Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident and What to Do Next?

Category: Automobile/Car Accidents

Car accidents can be physically and emotionally traumatic experiences, often leaving victims severely harmed. However, some symptoms may not manifest until hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. It’s crucial to be aware of these delayed injuries and know what steps to take if you experience them.


One of the most common delayed injuries after a car accident is whiplash, which occurs when the neck is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing strain or injury to the neck muscles and ligaments. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. Early diagnosis and treatment of whiplash can help alleviate pain, prevent further complications, and facilitate a smoother recovery process. 


Concussions are another frequently delayed injury resulting from the sudden impact of a car accident. Symptoms of a concussion may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory problems, and sensitivity to light or noise. It’s essential to see a healthcare professional if you suspect you may have a concussion, as untreated concussions can lead to long-term complications. 

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and bruises, can develop over time. They involve damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the body. These injuries can cause significant pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in affected areas. 

Back Injuries

Back injuries can also present delayed symptoms after a car accident. Symptoms may include back pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities, weakness, and difficulty walking. Common delayed back injuries after a car accident include:

  • Herniated Discs: The force of impact in a car accident can cause the discs between the vertebrae in the spine to herniate or bulge, resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling in the back, as well as radiating pain into the arms or legs.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: In severe cases, car accidents can result in spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis, loss of sensation, and impaired motor function. Symptoms may include difficulty walking, weakness or numbness in the extremities, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • Compression Fractures: The impact of a car accident can cause compression fractures in the vertebrae, resulting in back pain, limited mobility, and potential complications such as spinal cord compression or nerve damage.

Treatment for delayed back injuries may include pain management, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and in severe cases, surgery.

Psychological Trauma

In addition to physical injuries, car accidents can also cause psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, irritability, and avoidance of reminders of the accident. Seeking support from a mental health professional is crucial for coping with psychological trauma and promoting healing.

What to Do Next

If you experience any delayed symptoms or injuries after a car accident, it’s essential to take the following steps:

Seek Medical Attention

Even if your injuries are delayed, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional for an evaluation. Prompt medical treatment can prevent further complications and document your injuries for insurance and legal purposes.

Document Your Injuries

Keep detailed records of your symptoms, medical appointments, and treatments. This documentation will be valuable evidence for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Inform your insurance company about the delayed injuries you’ve experienced and provide them with any relevant medical documentation. This will initiate the claims process and help ensure you receive compensation for your injuries.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney

If your injuries are severe or if you encounter challenges with getting them covered during the insurance claims process, consider consulting an experienced Fresno car accident attorney. They can provide guidance, help you navigate the legal aspects of your case, and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.