5 common delayed injuries following an auto accident

Car accidents are stressful and traumatic experiences. Even an “everyday” fender bender tends to leave drivers shaken up and of course more serious crashes result in severe injury or fatalities across the U.S. every single day. While some accidents might seem minor at first glance and you physically feel perfectly fine, injury symptoms can appear several days or even weeks later.

Why the delay in symptoms? Similar to an athlete sustaining, say, a strained muscle during a playoff game and not noticing it until the next day; a car accident injury can remain hidden, if you will, until the drama of the accident wears off. This scenario is due to our bodies’ natural processes of creating adrenaline and endorphins that boost energy and often mask pain. Once the internal chemicals retreat to normal levels, pain moves in. In fact, you might not realize you are injured until much later. Soft tissue injuries in particular are especially difficult to diagnose and treat as they cannot be seen on x-rays.

Your first line of defense is awareness of potential delayed injuries after a car accident. Here are 5 of the most common:

delayed injuries


A run of the mill headache might not spark much concern but it is important to be alert to its severity. Headaches can simply arise from stress or they could be precursors to a concussion or related brain injury or whiplash.

Pain in neck, shoulders, or back

Whiplash is a common car accident injury and often signaled by nagging or debilitating pain in the neck and shoulders. Herniated discs also make regular appearances. Back pain is another common malady related to a variety of injuries including sprains, muscle damage, and pinched nerves.

Long term consequences of a car accident >>

Abdominal pain or discomfort

Sometimes, delayed injuries we can’t see are the most serious. Internal injury is often extremely critical and can be fatal if not promptly addressed. For example, dizziness, headaches, and severe bruising can be signs of internal bleeding that demands immediate medical help.


If you’ve noticed reduced or complete loss of feeling in your arms or hands, it could be a sign of whiplash associated with neck or spinal column damage. Rear-end accidents are the most prevalent causes of whiplash.

Change in physical and personality make-up

Serious car accidents can result in brain injury or concussion, with related signs such as impaired memory, difficulty moving, vision or hearing issues, and even changes in personality. Car accidents are in fact one of the leading causes of death related to brain trauma.