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Delayed Symptoms: What to Watch for After an Accident

Kim Staskus Nov. 30, 2018

A car accident is a stressful experience, even if you did not sustain any significant property damage or apparent injuries. You’ll likely experience a surge of adrenaline in the immediate aftermath of the collision, which can result in feeling like you’re practically in a daze while you’re going through the processes of taking photos, gathering information and talking to the police.

Police officers and emergency medical technicians at the scene will ask you if you’ve suffered any injuries in the accident or feel any pain. But even if you think you’re fine, it’s a good idea to get checked out at the hospital or by seeing your own physician.  And that’s because, in some circumstances, it can take hours, days or even weeks afterward before you start to notice any symptoms. These are some of the most common examples of delayed symptoms following an auto accident:

  • Headaches: While headaches that develop a few days after an accident are often no cause for concern, they can also potentially signal serious underlying problems, such as brain injuries, neck injuries, and blood clots. See a doctor immediately if you experience headaches in the aftermath of a car crash.

  • Neck and shoulder pain: The neck and shoulder injuries associated with whiplash, a condition caused by the sudden force of a collision that jerks the head back and forth, are not always immediately apparent after a crash. While whiplash injuries are common and often not life-threatening, they can lead to prolonged disability if not treated.

  • Back pain: Back pain that occurs after an accident could be the result of damaged nerves, ligaments, vertebrae or muscles. Lower back pain is especially common, occurring in more than half of rear-end collisions with injuries and more than 75 percent of side-impact collisions with injuries.

  • PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder is not an uncommon occurrence following a car accident, but its symptoms, which may include anxiety, nightmares, and fear of driving, may take some time to manifest.

  • Numbness: You might experience a loss of feeling in the arms or hands, which can indicate damage to the spinal column or neck.

  • Loss of physical function: In the aftermath of your accident, you might have issues with movement, vision, hearing or thinking clearly.

No matter how minor you think your accident may have been, you should seek medical attention immediately if you develop these symptoms or others following a crash. For more information on how injuries could potentially manifest themselves in the time after your car accident, call the San Jose personal injury attorneys at Staskus Law Firm, P.C. at (408) 479-5822 or contact us online.