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15 Delayed Symptoms You May Experience After a Car Accident

If you’ve recently been in a car accident, don’t be fooled by the initial adrenaline rush- not all injuries are immediately apparent. If you experience aches or pains in the weeks following your accident, these could be signs of an underlying injury, and you should seek medical attention. 

Despite the time that has passed, you may still be entitled to a lawsuit to recover damages if you are experiencing lingering or delayed symptoms after your car accident. 

This guide outlines 15 delayed symptoms after car accident injuries to be aware of so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

15 Delayed Symptoms: Pain to Be Aware of After a Car Accident

While many car accident victims experience pain immediately following an automobile accident, delayed symptoms are very common and may not become apparent until the weeks following a collision. If you experience prolonged stiffness, soreness, exhaustion, or confusion after sustaining bodily trauma, you should seek immediate medical attention to avoid any long-term damage.

These 15 delayed symptoms should be promptly evaluated by a medical professional. 

1. Neck Pain

Neck injury after a car accident is linked to whiplash and other soft tissue injuries. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth, significant strain is caused in the neck and back, causing significant discomfort and possible stiffness. 

While you may not experience neck pain immediately after an auto accident, stiffness and limited range of motion within following weeks could cause soft tissue injuries and long-term damage if not given medical attention. 

2. Back Pain

Along with neck pain, the impact of a collision on the spine can cause a variety of mild to severe back injuries. Lower back pain is common in accident victims, and can cause dull aches, stiffness, or limited range of motion.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention, as your provider may recommend an X-ray or MRI to thoroughly examine your injury and avoid any long-term damage. 

3. Abdominal / Stomach Pain

Like the spine, the abdomen can be adversely affected by the impact of an accident, as the force of a collision may cause blunt trauma to the area. While they may not be immediately apparent, abdominal pain or swelling should be treated as a medical emergency.

If you begin to experience dizziness, fainting, or bruising which coincide with abdominal pain, you should seek immediate medical attention, as these delayed injury symptoms could be consistent with internal bleeding.

4. Arm or Leg Pain

Often during a crash, the knees make contact with the dashboard as the car is jolted forward. This trauma to the knees or legs may result in damaged cartilage or even broken bones. Pay attention to any swelling, bruising, or weakness that develops in your legs in the days following the accident.

The arms and shoulders may be similarly affected by the jolt of a collision. Since the seat belt only covers one shoulder, your body may twist when thrown forward, imparting strain on the arms and upper body. Do not ignore any shoulder pain or arm swelling after an accident, as they may lead to delayed issues in the muscle or tissue over time. 

5. Headache That Won’t Go Away

While headaches are a common occurrence, a persistent headache following a car accident can be a sign of a serious injury. When the head makes contact with the car’s interior, significant head trauma can occur. The force of this impact may cause your brain to move within your skull, which could result in delayed symptoms of brain injury. 

If you experience a headache that lingers for days, especially if accompanied by dizziness, confusion, or vision problems, seek medical attention immediately, as this could indicate a concussion. Even the most mild headaches can indicate injury, so don’t wait to consult your provider. 

6. Constant Nausea

Nausea often coincides with symptoms of a traumatic head injury after a motor vehicle accident. If you experience persistent nausea alongside headaches or dizziness, you may be exhibiting signs of a severe concussion. 

In some cases, nausea and vomiting may be indicative of abdominal car accident injuries as a result of blunt force to the abdominal region. If you endure constant nausea or vomiting in the weeks following a collision, seek emergency medical attention. 

7. Numbness / Tingling

Lingering numbness or a tingling sensation after a collision may be indicators of severe nerve damage or spinal cord injury. When experienced in tandem with back or head trauma, numbness may be a result of neurological damage.

If you are affected by numbness or tingling in the weeks following an accident, you should promptly speak with a medical professional to avoid any precursors to paralysis. 

8. Breathing Problems

Difficulty breathing after an accident can be a sign of damage to the internal organs or fractured ribs. In severe cases, the lungs may be punctured from blunt force trauma due to a collision. 

Pain from such internal injuries may cause difficulty breathing, which warrants a medical emergency. If you experience shortness of breath or chest pain after a car accident, don’t hesitate to visit the hospital. 

9. Inability to Concentrate

If you have sustained head trauma from a recent collision, you may experience feelings of “brain fog,” or difficulty concentrating. This haziness is often linked to concussion or further traumatic brain injury, and should be promptly evaluated by a doctor. 

Difficulty focusing, especially if it interferes with your daily activities, may be cause for concern. If you experience a lack of concentration, memory loss, or excessive sleepiness in conjunction with headaches, you may be exhibiting signs of neurological damage from an accident. 

10. Memory Loss

Along with difficulty concentrating, memory loss can be a concerning side effect of head trauma. If you begin to experience memory impairment within the weeks following an accident, medical attention is necessary. The sooner you receive a professional evaluation, the sooner you can begin to rehabilitate from your head injury. 

11. Excessive Sleeping / Tiredness

Excessive sleeping is yet another concerning symptom of a possible concussion or traumatic brain injury. Feeling exhausted after an accident is normal, as your energy may be low while your body begins to heal. If you experience constant exhaustion and inability to regain strength in the weeks following a collision, however, this may be cause for concern. 

Seek immediate medical attention if you are affected by exhaustion in the weeks following your accident. You may be experiencing depression or a serious neurological injury, and both should be promptly evaluated. 

12. Inability to Sleep / Insomnia

Difficulty sleeping is a common complaint after a stressful event like a car accident. Pain, anxiety, and emotional distress can all disrupt your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.

Along with disruptions in mental wellness, insomnia could be an early sign of a serious head injury. If you’re experiencing persistent insomnia following an accident, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

13. Increased Occurrence of Nightmares

It is common for accident survivors to experience vivid dreams or nightmares about their recent collision. Such nightmares may be disruptive to your sleep cycle and can consequently cause exhaustion and emotional distress. 

Persistent vivid dreams or nightmares about your accident in the weeks following may be a sign of serious emotional trauma such as PTSD. If you are experiencing recurring nightmares which compromise your mental well-being, seek medical and psychological attention immediately. 

14. Unusual Irritability

The emotional distress caused by a car accident may manifest as increased irritability or a short temper. While some irritability is understandable and common, significant changes in your mood or behavior that interfere with your relationships or daily activities warrant a conversation with your doctor. 

If you begin to notice yourself becoming more irritable in the weeks following your accident, speaking with a psychological specialist may be beneficial to your recovery.

15. Unusual Mood Swings

Emotional distress after an accident may also manifest in unusual mood swings. You may experience fleeting feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, or fear that seem to dissipate as quickly as they come on. 

If you’re experiencing significant mood swings that disrupt your daily life, speak with your doctor or a mental health professional. Your provider may recommend healthy coping mechanisms or further medical treatment if necessary. 

Injuries with the Potential for Delayed Symptoms

While many injuries sustained during an accident may result in immediate pain, some symptoms take days, or even weeks to surface. Even if you find yourself seemingly unscathed after your collision, you may be injured without even realizing. It’s important to be in tune with your body and keep tabs on your symptoms to prevent any long-term damage after physical trauma. 

If you sustain any of the following injuries, be prepared for any possible delayed symptoms after a car accident. 


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused when your head makes contact with the interior of your car during an accident. The brain is shifted within the skull, causing internal swelling and bleeding that may result in life-threatening injury. 

Even minor concussions may cause long-term damage, so it’s important to monitor your symptoms after suffering from a blow to the head. Persistent fatigue, memory impairment, vision problems, and headaches may not be noticeable until weeks, or even months after your accident, so you should seek medical attention as soon as any of these side effects become apparent. 


Whiplash occurs when the muscles and ligaments in the neck are forced to move beyond their normal range of motion, often due to the sudden back-and-forth movement of the head in a car accident. As a result, neck pain and stiffness might not appear immediately, but may develop over hours or days. 

Headaches, dizziness, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) may surface over time after experiencing whiplash. If you find that your pain worsens with certain movements, such as turning your head or bending over, you may be suffering from severe effects of whiplash and should undergo medical evaluation. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

While you may be prone to headaches immediately after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI), many symptoms lie dormant for months. Excessive exhaustion, personality changes, and emotional distress are all possibly delayed symptoms which stem from head trauma. 

If you begin to notice previously undetected symptoms which arise in the weeks following your collision, you may be suffering from a severe TBI or concussion, and should seek professional help immediately. 

Spinal Injuries

Damage to the spine during an accident may result in eventual partial or complete paralysis or, in serious cases, even death. Minor spinal cord injuries may worsen over time if not treated, so it is crucial to receive medical attention immediately following an accident. 

Pain, numbness, tingling, lack of balance, and loss of bodily sensitivity after a collision may indicate damage to the spinal cord, and should be treated with utmost seriousness. 

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is an especially dangerous delayed symptom, as it may take days to manifest visibly on the body. Abdominal pain, nausea, and dizziness may be early signs of internal damage, while unexplained bruising is a telltale indicator. 

Internal bleeding can lead to serious damage or death if not promptly treated, so you should never ignore these symptoms.

Blood Clots

When your body experiences force trauma during an accident, blood clots may form over time. While they may develop anywhere within the body, the most dangerous type of clot forms within the legs and is medically regarded as deep vein thrombosis. 

If a blood clot travels through the body and into the pulmonary artery, chest pain, fatigue, and even death may occur. If you experience unexplained swelling in the legs or other parts of your body, seek medical attention immediately.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition which may develop when an individual experiences a highly stressful event such as a car accident. While anger, fear, and anxiety are all normal emotions to experience after being in a collision, such lingering feelings may be an indication of PTSD in accident survivors. 

If you feel that your emotions are not regulating in the weeks after your accident, you may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Persistent anger or drastic behavioral changes should be evaluated by a mental health professional, who may suggest treatment or coping mechanisms. 

Seeking Compensation for Delayed Pain Following an Auto Accident

Car accidents are horrifying, and the stress of handling legal matters after your collision only causes increased anxiety. With Cousin Benny injury lawyers, our licensed car accident attorneys are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. 

Our team will evaluate every aspect of your case and assess your entitlements based on not only vehicular damages, but your pain and suffering, so you can focus on recovery. 

Call Cousin Benny today for a free consultation and let us seek justice on your behalf. 

Proving Your Symptoms Are the Result of Your Accident

When it comes to building a case for your accident, timing is key. If you stay in tune with your symptoms and address any new pain as soon as it becomes apparent, our team at Cousin Benny will establish a link between your ongoing pain and your collision. We will use your medical record and any other evidence from your accident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve to enjoy a happy, healthy recovery.

Get Medical Attention for Your Physical Delayed Symptoms

It is crucial to seek medical attention the moment you notice your symptoms, whether they appear within hours or weeks after your accident. Monitoring your symptoms and receiving care as soon as you begin to feel pain will increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Seek a Professional Opinion on Mental & Emotional Symptoms

Compensation for psychological injuries may also be an important part of your car accident settlement. It’s crucial to regard mental and emotional symptoms with the same seriousness as physical pain, as anxiety, depression, or PTSD following your accident may take a huge toll on your mental health.

Seeking evaluation from a psychologist or mental health professional may be helpful to your legal case as well as your overall recovery after your accident. Medical records will be used by your legal team to assess damages and to eventually reach a settlement which may cover your medical bills and recovery costs.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Helps Your Case

By hiring one of our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Cousin Benny, you increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Our team of attorneys will work with you to explore all compensation options before reaching a settlement, relieving you of the stress of legal matters so that you can rest and recover. 

We will conduct witness interviews, negotiate with your insurance company, and perform a meticulous investigation into your accident so that you can be sure you get the settlement you deserve. 

Contact Cousin Benny Today To Learn What Your Case Is Worth

Whether you’ve been affected by a hit-and-run, a head-on collision, or a total car wreck, Cousin Benny’s got you covered. Our experienced car accident lawyers are specially trained to handle your pain and suffering case, so you can focus on rehabilitation while we handle the financial logistics of your accident. 

Call Cousin Benny today for a free consultation, and let us win you the car accident settlement you deserve! 

Benjamin Hoffman

Benjamin Hoffman is a practicing attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Benjamin handles cases for individuals who have been injured as a result of an accident, slip/trip and fall or medical negligence.

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Benjamin Hoffman
Benjamin Hoffman is a practicing attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Benjamin handles cases for individuals who have been injured as a result of an accident, slip/trip and fall or medical negligence.
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