Car accidents are traumatic, and the adrenaline coursing through your body can be enough to make you not even realize that you’re injured right away. Delayed car accident injuries — ones that don’t make themselves known immediately — are far more common than you may realize.
Some of the most common delayed injury symptoms are:
- Neck and shoulder pain: During a wreck, your neck and head can be abruptly snapped forward and back, creating what is known as a whiplash injury. The pain may not start until your tissues have a chance to swell — which can take hours or days.
- Headaches: Headaches after a car accident should never be dismissed as a mere stress-reaction. You could be suffering from a hidden brain injury — even if you didn’t hit your head. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries mostly occur inside the skull, where the damage is hidden.
- Belly pain: Pain in your abdominal region can be the sign of a potentially fatal internal injury. You may have been thrown hard enough against your seat belt or steering wheel to rupture something inside without even realizing it.
- Back pain: Muscle damage and damage to your vertebrae can take time to develop. Be concerned if your pain came on rather slowly — especially if you have any numbness, tingling or weakness in your legs.
- Numbness in your hands or feet: Pain isn’t the only sign that you’re injured. Numbness or tingling (including a “pins and needles” feeling) in your hands and feet can indicate nerve damage along the spinal cord from the wreck.
None of these symptoms have to seem serious in order to be serious, so don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience them. Let the examining doctor know that you’ve recently been in a car wreck — both so that your treatment is informed and to protect your right to compensation later.