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If you are involved in an accident, some of your injuries may show up hours or even days after the accident. Such injuries may complicate your auto accident claim if you don't know how to handle them. We have seen insurance companies use the following (sometimes faulty) logic: people with injuries quickly seek medical treatment; if no medical treatment is obtained or if there is a long delay before seeking treatment, then the injuries must not be serious; if the injuries are not serious enough to go to the doctor, then they aren’t serious enough to be worth much money in the injury claim.

What Are Some Common Delayed Injuries?

Auto accidents can result in a few common injuries that may have delayed symptoms.


Whiplash is a neck injury you experience if something forces your neck into a rapid back-and-forth movement. A rear-end accident, for example, can trigger the movement that causes a whiplash injury. Pain from a whiplash injury usually begins within a day after the accident, but it may also delay for a few days.


You may experience headaches hours or days after your auto accident. A direct injury to the head, such as one you might sustain if you bang your head on the window during a crash, can trigger a headache.

A neck injury, such as a whiplash during a rear-end accident, may also trigger headaches. Even psychological trauma can trigger headaches after a grisly crash.

Back Pain

The spinal area is a delicate part of your body due to the nerves it protects. Even relatively minor injuries to the spinal column may trigger pain days after the original injury. For example, a rear-end accident can damage your spinal disks and cause leakage of the protective spinal fluid. You may only begin to feel the pain days later when the leakage intensifies.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain usually points to an internal injury. A classic example is that of the seat belt syndrome, where the seatbelt tears or bruises your internal organs (such as the intestines) without obvious external injuries. Even though the seatbelt syndrome is relatively serious, symptoms of the syndrome may not begin to manifest until three days after the crash.

Numbness and Tingling

Lastly, you may also experience numbness and tingling on some part of your body hours or days after your accident. Numbness and tingling usually points to nerve damage, and the affected part of the body determines the affected nerves and the seriousness of the injury.

What Should You Do?

Delayed injuries can complicate your auto accident claim if you aren't careful. The defendant may argue that you sustained your injuries elsewhere or you had pre-existing injuries. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the potential complications.

Seek Prompt Medical Care

The best thing is to get medical care immediately after an accident. Get medical care even if you don't feel severe pain or have serious external signs of injuries. Those minor scrapes and scratches may hide serious injuries.

Seek Treatment When Symptoms Begin

If you didn't get an immediate checkup or treatment after the accident, seek medical care immediately when your symptoms begin. Don't settle on at-home treatments or adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

Seek Conventional Treatment

Whether you get treatment immediately after the accident or when your delayed symptoms begin, you should get it from conventional doctors. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has its place in healthcare, but CAM should not be your first port of call after an auto accident.

Get standard medical care so that the defendant doesn't argue that your injuries worsened due to your liability to get standard care. You may get CAM after your checkup by a medical doctor or if the doctor suggests CAM treatment.

Don't Accept Cash on the Spot

Delayed injuries are one of the reasons you shouldn't accept on-the-spot compensation after an accident, particularly if the accident caused injuries. You may accept cash compensation for what you think are minor injuries only for serious injuries to show up later.

Palmetto Injury Lawyers LLC can help you process your auto accident claim or lawsuit. Contact us for a free initial consultation so that we can determine how to handle your claim.

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