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Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident

Every year, around three million people become injured from car accidents in the United States. Injuries can come in many different forms, including physical and emotional injuries, and they also differ in their overall severity. You could suffer from only minor scrapes after a wreck, or you could suffer from life-altering or even fatal injuries. Delayed injuries after a car accident are very common.

Not all injuries are immediately apparent after a wreck. You could experience delayed-onset injuries that don’t have symptoms until long after your accident occurred. In this blog, we discuss five common delayed symptoms after a car accident that some people suffer from.

Soft Tissue Damage

Soft tissue damage is exceedingly common after a wreck, and these injuries occur when your muscles, tendons, or ligaments experience significant damage. Unfortunately, people often don’t begin experiencing soft tissue damage symptoms until up to a week after a car accident. Some common delayed symptoms after a car accident include:

  • Pain
  • Discoloration
  • Inflammation
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble putting weight on the afflicted area

People can suffer from soft tissue damage anywhere on their bodies after experiencing a wreck. A few common types of soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions.

Back Injuries

Back injuries can be incredibly serious after suffering from a wreck. Some common back injuries include:

  • Sprains
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries in the back muscles
  • Pinched nerves

You may experience back injury symptoms immediately after suffering from a wreck, but they often don’t become apparent until hours or days after an accident. Some delayed symptoms after a car accident include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness

You may also suffer symptoms that indicate a serious or even life-threatening spinal cord injury. If you suspect that you’ve suffered from a spinal cord injury, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include:

  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Trouble breathing
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance


Many of those who suffer from serious and minor car accidents suffer from concussions. Concussions often occur when someone hits their head during a wreck, which then results in their brain hitting the inside of their skull, but concussions can also occur without blunt force trauma. For example, if the force of the wreck results in your head jerking forward suddenly, you could suffer from a concussion.

Concussions are considered mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), but even a mild TBI can have serious or life-threatening consequences if the condition goes untreated. If you receive a blow to the head or experience sudden force that could result in a concussion, you should seek medical attention even if you don’t have symptoms. Delaying treatment can result in serious complications. Additionally, you’re at higher risk of suffering from long-term brain damage if you’ve suffered from multiple concussions in your lifetime.

Concussions may result in delayed symptoms after a car accident including:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble eating or sleeping
  • Slow responsiveness
  • Dizziness


Whiplash, a type of soft tissue injury, is one of the most common car accident injuries, especially in rear-end accidents. It occurs when a person’s head jerks forward suddenly. The neck and shoulder tendons extend beyond the normal range of motion, which results in minor or serious damage. Many of those who suffer from whiplash experience immediate symptoms, but some will not experience discomfort until hours or days after the accident.

Whiplash doesn’t always require medical treatment, but you should have a doctor evaluate its severity. Those suffering from minor whiplash will usually recover within a month, but more serious whiplash cases may take several months to heal and can cause permanent pain. Symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Head pain and headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness

Psychological and Emotional Injuries

People can also experience psychological and emotional injuries from a car accident, and this is especially common for children. Some forms of psychological and emotional injuries include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who suffer from these conditions may develop them from the wreck itself or from injuries caused by the wreck.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an especially serious condition that can permanently impact car accident victims. Those suffering from PTSD need to seek medical treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Fear of driving or riding in a car
  • Mood swings
  • Despair
  • Trouble eating or sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks

Call an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer

If you suffer from delayed physical, emotional, or psychological injuries due to an accident caused by another person, you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for medical bills. You can file a claim against the at-fault party to recover compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

In the event that you suffer from injuries, you need a car accident lawyer to help you with your claim. A seasoned attorney can help you gather evidence to prove your case, and they can also maximize the amount you’ll receive in damages.

For expert legal support in Indianapolis, contact Crossen Law Firm. We’ve helped numerous Indiana residents receive the damages they deserved for injuries. Call our office at 317-401-8626, or click here to contact us online.