How Long After A Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?


Every year, three million people get injured in car accidents across the US.

But even serious car accident injuries aren’t always obvious straight away. This is often the case, for example, with soft tissue damage and internal injuries. Sometimes, you might not even realize that anything’s wrong until long after the crash.

So, how long after a car accident can injuries appear? Let’s take a look at some common delayed-onset car crash injuries and what you can do about them.

Delayed-Onset Injuries After a Car Accident

Car accident injuries and the symptoms they cause can appear hours, days, or even weeks after the crash.

One reason for delayed symptoms is the way that traumatic events cause a surge of adrenaline in the body to help distract you from pain and suffering. It’s only when these chemicals wear off that you’ll feel the full force of your injuries.

Here are some of the most common injuries in a car accident that can take time to appear:

  • Whiplash – This kind of neck injury occurs when the muscles and ligaments in your neck stretch and snap, usually after a rear-end collision. But there’s often a pain delay, making whiplash one of the most misdiagnosed auto accident injuries
  • Internal Injuries – Impact to the torso can cause internal bleeding and possible organ damage. But symptoms such as vomiting, bruising, and fever can often seem minor or unrelated
  • PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety – Mental health disorders such as PTSD may not present until weeks, months, or even years after a traumatic event such as a car crash

Other delayed-onset car crash injuries can include slipped discs, spinal injuries, and soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains.

How Long After a Car Accident Can I Claim for an Injury?

All states have a different car accident statute of limitations. While two to three years is the average, some states such as Kentucky and Louisiana have a statute of limitations for car accident personal injury claims of only one year.

Whether you live in a state with a minimal statute of limitations or not, it pays to follow these tips to ensure you get the compensation you deserve after an accident:

  1. Report the Accident – As you’ll see if you check out this article, you should get a police report at the crash scene and notify your insurance company of the accident
  2. See a Doctor – Even if you have no pain and no obvious injuries, see a doctor. If you can, explain what happened during the crash so they can tell you what injuries and symptoms to look out for in the coming weeks
  3. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney – As well as representing you to the insurance companies, your attorney can help prove that the crash caused your delayed injuries

How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

If you’ve ever wondered, “how long after a car accident can injuries appear?”, the truth is it can be weeks, months, or even years depending on the nature of the injuries.

With this in mind, it shows how important it is not to dismiss any car accident as minor, even if you feel fine after a crash. Not least because waiting to report the cause of your delayed injuries can make it difficult to get the compensation you deserve.

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