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Due to adrenaline, many accident victims may not feel the effects of a crash until hours or days later. Delayed symptoms can vary in severity based on the type of accident, so it is hard to know what to expect. Since symptoms will vary, it is in your best interest to visit a doctor after an accident to document any potential injuries for the settlement process.

Most Notable Types of Injuries

Migraines (Most Common)

Following a car accident, it is very common to experience migraines. You may feel pain either immediately after an accident or days later. Although a migraine may seem like a minor problem, it is still important to monitor because you could have a concussion or a more severe head injury. If the migraine begins to increase in pain, consult with a doctor to ensure that there are no underlying issues.

Migraines usually result from:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Anxiety or PTSD


You will most likely notice bruises a few days after an accident. Bruises usually occur from hitting your extremities against your door or any other hard surface within the vehicle upon impact. For the most part, bruising will heal on its own, but if you notice that the bruising is either getting worse or not healing, then you should consult with your doctor to ensure there is no internal damage.

Mood Changes

It is not uncommon to experiences mood changes following an accident. Mood changes occur as a result of heightened anxiety, depression or even PTSD. If you or a friend or family member begin to show signs of mood changes after an accident, be sure to monitor the situation to ensure there is no severe head injury involved.

Neck, Shoulder, Back Pain

You will most likely experience some sort of pain in your neck, back, or shoulders following an accident. Most common neck and back injuries occur during a rear-end collision or side collision (T-bone) because this is when your neck, shoulders and back are most vulnerable. Should you experience pain in the neck, shoulders, or back following an accident, be sure to visit your doctor and figure out where the problem lies. Neck, back and shoulder injuries often need the help of a chiropractor to rehabilitate the injury.

Numbness in Extremities

If you feel numbness or a tingling sensation, you should definitely consult with a doctor. Numbness and tingling sensations are most likely due to nerve damage and will need immediate treatment.


Tinnitus is a ringing sensation in the ears usually caused by loud noises or a concussion. It is definitely in your best interest to consult with a doctor if you begin to experience ringing in your ears.

Why are Symptoms Delayed Following an Accident?

Car accidents can be very traumatic events. Following an accident, aside from the effects of adrenaline, your mind will be occupied with

  • Car damage
  • Passenger safety
  • Police statements
  • Identifying witnesses
  • Potential ambulance ride

Car accidents usually develop into extremely stressful situations, so you probably won’t notice physical symptoms during the event. Be sure to monitor yourself and passengers over the next few days to document any delayed symptoms.

Importance of an Attorney if you Experience Delayed Symptoms

A car accident attorney will be able to help you deal with settlement negotiations while you focus on healing. The settlement process is often lengthy and can be confusing and stressful which can hinder your recovery time. Even if you feel as though your accident was not severe enough to recover a large settlement, it is a good idea to reach out and consult with an attorney to figure out your next steps.

Brian Glass
Virginia personal injury lawyer selected to SuperLawyers Rising Stars List and the NTLA's Top 40 Under 40.