How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

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How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Accidents

“How long after a car accident can symptoms appear?” is a question many people have after being involved in a crash. While some injuries may be immediately apparent, other injuries and conditions may take days or even weeks to surface.

In this blog post, we will examine the typical symptoms that may occur following a car accident, evaluate the injuries for potential legal action, and discuss the time frame in which these symptoms may appear.

How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

The body can be subjected to sudden and intense forces that can cause injuries in a car accident. Some injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, will be immediately apparent, while others may not be noticeable until later. For example, traumatic brain injuries may not show symptoms until days or weeks after the accident. 

Additionally, some symptoms of injuries may be delayed due to the body’s natural response to trauma, such as the release of adrenaline. This can mask the pain and discomfort of an injury in the immediate aftermath of an accident.

Even if you don’t have any immediate symptoms, it’s important to be aware that some injuries can take days or even weeks to appear. Common car accident injuries include:


This common injury occurs when the head and neck are jerked forward and backward quickly, as can happen in a car accident. Symptoms can include neck pain, headaches, and stiffness. Unfortunately, these symptoms may not appear until days or even weeks after the accident.

Additionally, the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that symptoms of whiplash can sometimes take days to develop. This means that a car crash victim who does not feel neck or back pain immediately after the incident may believe they are uninjured, but it is possible that their whiplash symptoms have yet to manifest.


A concussion is a type of brain injury that can occur in a car accident. Symptoms can include confusion, memory loss, and headaches. However, these symptoms may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Car accidents can be traumatic, and it’s not uncommon for people to experience symptoms of PTSD afterward. These symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, and feelings of anxiety or depression.

Back and Joint Pain

Car accidents can cause a range of injuries to the back and joints, such as sprains, strains, and herniated discs. Unfortunately, these symptoms may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

Internal injuries

Sometimes internal injuries like organ damage, internal bleeding, or others can occur in a car accident. However, these symptoms may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

According to the Mayo Clinic, car accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. This is why doctors often ask about previous car accidents when assessing back or neck pain patients. 

Delayed-Onset Injuries

Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, leaving victims with a range of physical and emotional injuries. While some injuries may be immediately apparent, others may take days or even weeks to surface. These types of injuries are known as delayed-onset injuries and can present severe and even life-threatening situations.

One example of a delayed-onset injury is an infection that begins in the body after a minor injury. For example, according to the Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, these infections can lead to “late deaths” following a car accident.

Another example is the severe intestinal damage that a car accident victim may experience from the restraint of their seat belt. According to the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, the victim may not display symptoms for several days after the impact. They may delay seeking medical attention without realizing the connection between their symptoms and the seat belt.

Brain bleeds and brain injuries can also have delayed symptoms. According to the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, one patient’s severe brain bleed progressed over a month before showing symptoms that warranted immediate medical attention. In addition, the subtle symptoms of a brain bleed, such as a headache, can be easily confused for a minor ailment, making the condition worse the longer treatment is delayed.

Assessing Injuries After a Car Accident for a Lawsuit

If you believe that another party’s negligence caused the accident, consider taking legal action. In order to do this, it’s important to accurately assess the injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. This will not only help you to understand the extent of your injuries, but it will also provide the necessary evidence for your lawsuit.


The first step in assessing your injuries is to document everything. This includes taking pictures of any visible injuries, keeping a journal of any symptoms or pain you experience, and making notes of any medical treatments or procedures you undergo. It’s also important to keep all relevant medical records, such as doctor’s notes and diagnostic test results. This documentation will serve as important evidence in your lawsuit.

Medical Evaluation

The next step is undergoing a thorough medical evaluation. This may include a physical examination, diagnostic tests, and a medical history review. The medical evaluation will help determine the extent of your injuries, including long-term effects. Therefore, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident is important, even if you feel fine.

Proving Negligence

To successfully win a car accident lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent. This means they failed to exercise reasonable care and caused the accident and your injuries. To prove negligence, you will need to show that the other party had a duty to exercise reasonable care, that they breached that duty, and that the breach caused your injuries.

Contact Our Office

If you’re wondering how long after a car accident symptoms can appear, it’s important to keep in mind that it can vary. Even if you feel fine immediately following the incident, delayed symptoms can surface days or even weeks later. 
To help you navigate the process, the Law Offices of Pacin Levine, P.A., with the assistance of their highly qualified and experienced legal professionals, can handle all aspects of your claim or lawsuit in Florida. Contact us at 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727) for a free consultation. Let us help you ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

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