How Long After an Accident Can Injuries Show Up?

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

Car accidents are, by nature, potentially severe, as tons of metal collide at what is often a very high speed. If you are able to walk away with a few minor scrapes and scratches, you should consider yourself fortunate.

If you have been injured, contact a Florida accident lawyer at Searcy Denney for help, even before you contact your insurance company. Unfortunately, despite what the insurance companies say in their media commercials, your insurance company is looking out for their profits — not your best interests.

How Long After a Florida Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

There is often a delay between the time of the accident and the onset of symptoms arising from various types of injuries. The timing can vary according to the type of injury you sustained and the circumstances of the accident. Researchers are not sure why some car accident victims experience symptoms immediately while others do not develop them until later. Based on case studies, researchers have found that:

  • Internal bleeding and/or bruising, also known as the “seat belt syndrome,” has been noticed between 24 hours and 3 days after an accident.
  • Brain and neck injuries have emerged up to eight days after an accident and, in some cases, proven fatal.
  • Concussion symptoms may not show up for hours, days, or weeks after an accident.
  • Chronic widespread pain (CWP) often presents immediately, but patients may suffer worsening or spreading pain throughout the first year following the accident.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can show up days, weeks, months, or even years later.
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and contusions can take a wide variety of time for symptoms to appear.
  • Whiplash is a common injury suffered by car crash victims that may not be noticeable for days or even weeks after the accident.

What Symptoms May Show a Delayed Injury

  • Headaches. Headaches may indicate neck and/or head injuries, such as concussions or hematomas; i.e., blood clots, that can be deadly if ignored.
  • Neck or Shoulder Pain and Stiffness. These types of symptoms may show up after several days in whiplash victims.
  • Numbness. If you lose feeling in your arms or hands, you may be experiencing the after-effects of neck or spine injuries.
  • Back Pain. Upper-, mid-, and lower-back pain, often caused by whiplash, might be caused by injuries to your muscles, ligaments, nerves, or vertebrae.
  • Abdominal Pain. Bruises from seat belts are common, but if they are exceptionally painful or persistent, you may have incurred internal bleeding and be in need of emergency treatment.
  • Changes in Behavior or Personality. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are common in car accidents. Although it’s easy to notice more severe injuries that typically result in unconsciousness, concussions may cause minor brain damage that shows up in behavioral ways.
  • Difficulty with Movement and Coordination. Concussions and other head or brain injuries may affect the way your brain translates signals to the rest of your body.
  • Flashbacks and/or Nightmares. PTSD is common after traumatic events like car accidents and can affect your ability to engage in or think about things you associate with the incident.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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