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How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

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Posted on June 20, 2023

If you get involved in a car accident, your adrenaline may mask the symptoms of an injury. You may not notice pain from a crash-related injury until later – in some cases, much later. It is a mistake to assume that you will notice car accident injuries immediately after a crash. You should wait to discuss any potential injuries with the other driver, the police or a car insurance company until you’ve seen a doctor.

Common Car Accident Injuries With Delayed Symptoms

It is common for car accident victims not to feel or notice the symptoms of an injury until later that day, the next day or even days later. The adrenaline and endorphins generated by the stress of a car accident can have a pain-masking effect that hides the signs of an injury. Until the adrenaline wears off, you may not realize that you’ve been injured. This could be the case with injuries such as whiplash, tendon and ligament damage, disc herniation, spinal cord injuries, and bone fractures.

Some injuries present delayed symptoms by nature. A traumatic brain injury, for example, could cause damage slowly. Over the course of hours or days, bleeding or swelling in the brain could become severe enough to finally cause symptoms, such as headache, blurred vision, mood changes and trouble concentrating. Other examples of injuries with delayed symptoms are internal bleeding, organ damage, blood clots and emotional injuries (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder).

When to Seek Medical Treatment After a Car Accident

The possibility of delayed injury symptoms is why a crash victim should always visit a hospital or emergency room promptly after a car accident. It should not be assumed that the victim is uninjured, even if he or she feels fine in the hours and days after a crash. The victim may have suffered harm in the car accident that is not yet apparent – including serious injuries to the back, spine or brain that might be discovered later.

If you get involved in a car accident in Tampa, seek professional medical care right away. Go to a hospital even if you aren’t currently experiencing any injury symptoms. Medical tests such as x-rays can be used to diagnose injuries that may not be showing symptoms yet. While you are still at the scene of the car accident, do not tell the other driver or a law enforcement officer that you are not injured. Instead, state that you will be seeing a doctor before answering any questions about your injuries.

Can You Recover Compensation for Delayed Injuries?

A car insurance company in Florida will check to see what a claimant did and did not do immediately after a car crash to look for reasons to deny coverage. One element an insurer will look at is the timeline of when the victim sought medical care for an alleged injury. A delay in going to a hospital could give the insurance company a reason to reject the claim or reduce a payout. The insurer may allege that the injuries did not occur in the car crash, for example, or that the victim exacerbated the damage due to delayed treatment.

You can protect yourself by going to a hospital right away, even before you notice injury symptoms. If you did not immediately see a doctor and you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, swelling, bruising, blood in your urine, dizziness, confusion, neck pain, back pain, numbness and tingling, or sensitivity to light and sound, go to a doctor as soon as possible. You may have suffered an injury in the car accident that you are unaware of.

If you experienced delayed symptoms after a car accident, you may still be eligible for financial compensation from an insurance company. However, you may need a lawyer to help you seek a fair monetary recovery for your losses. Contact Vanguard Attorneys to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.