Delayed injury after a car accident
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Signs of Delayed Injuries Resulting From an Auto Accident

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

When you have been involved in a car crash, it is natural to feel like the worst has already happened. However, sometimes people are unaware of their injuries until days or even weeks after the crash.

According to the National Safety Council, over 4.8 million people were injured in car accidents in 2020. If you were involved in a car accident, you may be suffering from delayed injuries, which can result in serious or life-threatening health problems.

The sooner you visit a doctor after a motor vehicle accident, the better your chances of making a full recovery. Your doctor can evaluate your injuries and symptoms using tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. A car accident lawyer at our law firm can also offer advice on retaining records of your injuries and ensure your interests are protected while working tirelessly to win compensation for your losses and suffering.

Understanding the common signs of delayed injury after a car accident can help you catch and treat potential problems before they manifest into something worse. These are the most common symptoms to watch for following a collision or crash.

Back Pain

You can put a great deal of stress on your joints and other body parts when you come to a sudden stop while driving. After a car accident, persistent back pain that extends to your legs and lower body can indicate significant injury.

Back pain is one of the most common symptoms of whiplash following a car accident. It can also result from a spinal injury, herniated disc, a sprain, or soft tissue injury.

A car accident may cause you to develop spinal misalignment or out-of-place vertebrae. When these discs are not in the proper position, they can put pressure on your nerves, causing numbness and tingling throughout your body.

Neck or Shoulder Pain

A car accident can cause nerve, muscle and ligament damage in your neck or shoulder that is not immediately apparent. You may be unable to turn your head and experience muscle tightness or spasms. If you ignore your neck or shoulder pain, it can worsen and cause chronic pain, making it impossible to work or complete chores.

If you experience neck and shoulder pain after the accident, your doctor might suggest you have whiplash, or you’ve sustained a soft tissue injury to your rotator cuff. This injury can make it difficult to sleep well and complete daily tasks such as combing your hair.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal Pain

There is also a possibility that your seat belt cracked a rib or injured other internal tissue after delivering blunt force to your internal organs, such as your kidneys, lungs, or heart, resulting in internal bleeding. One of the most common symptoms of internal bleeding is abdominal pain or swelling because of tissue irritation or pressure on the organs.

Dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and tingling may also accompany abdominal pain. Discomfort in your abdomen can indicate bleeding in your liver or spleen.

Behavioral Changes

Any changes in your behavior after being in an auto accident might indicate a concussion. A concussion can create headaches, personality changes, memory loss, and visual or hearing impairments. You may not experience these symptoms of concussions for hours or days after your accident.

Severe or persistent headaches can also be symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), alongside other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and sleep problems. Headaches are a common symptom of blood clots or strokes, leading to death if misdiagnosed and untreated.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental condition that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event like a major car accident. This can be a complicated issue for you and a doctor to deal with because the symptoms are not physical.

There can be mental side effects such as flashbacks or nightmares of an accident, anxiety, negativity, and changes to your eating and sleeping patterns. It is important to seek mental health treatment immediately if you experience significant behavioral or emotional changes due to PTSD.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help Protect Your Rights

Delayed complications from accident injuries can prevent you from returning to work, negatively affecting your financial stability. Your doctor may also recommend additional checkups, medications, and surgery, creating mounting expenses. As part of your recovery process, group counseling or therapy is also sometimes necessary.

If someone else’s negligence caused your car accident, our law firm can help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses and your pain and suffering. Senior partner Eileen Kroll is also a registered nurse who worked in a Detroit intensive care unit until she became a practicing attorney in 1990. Her medical background provides an insightful perspective on your injury case.

You can count on Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. for help in learning how to receive compensation for your injuries and related symptoms. You can fill out our online contact form or call us at 1-866-MICHLAW for a free consultation.


How do I deal with my insurance company if I have delayed symptoms of an injury?

Visiting the doctor immediately after the onset of symptoms can help you find out if you have any internal injuries and receive treatment right away.

Retain appointment receipts and a note from your doctor to prove to your insurance company that you sought treatment. Otherwise, you won’t be able to receive your auto No-Fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance benefits from your insurance company, depending on how long it took to document your injuries.

Can I make a claim for personal injury in the state of Michigan if I have a delayed injury?

Michigan’s statute of limitations for a personal injury is usually three years from the accident date. If you do not discover your injury until after the accident, the three-year statute of limitations may start on the date of your diagnosed injury related to the accident, known as the date of discovery.

What if I’m at fault for my car accident?

You will be prohibited from pursuing a claim against the other driver if you are at least 51 percent at fault under Michigan’s modified comparative negligence law.

If you are not at fault under Michigan’s no-fault system, are injured in the accident, and get medical treatment related to your injuries, Michigan’s insurance program will cover your medical costs up to the amount selected on your PIP policy.

If your medical expenses exceed this amount, you can file a claim against the negligent party for further compensation with the help of an attorney.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Jasmine Holt is a freelance writer specializing in legal content marketing for attorneys and law firms. She hopes to provide better legal advice to the general public using her previous experience working with a franchise company and a law firm. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.



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