Delayed Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident

Not all injuries manifest immediately after a car accident. When a traumatic event like a car accident occurs, many individuals are in complete shock and in ‘fight or flight’ mode, not yet feeling the effects of the physical and emotion pain. In fact, many injury symptoms do not show up until days, if not weeks, following the accident. It is important that signs of injury be recognized quickly and that the victim of the accident receives immediate medical attention.  This is especially important in Florida, as an injured person must seek medical care within 14 days of a motor vehicle accident or they run the risk of being denied Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical benefits by their own insurance company.

These are the most common delayed injury symptoms following a car accident:


Whiplash, also known as soft tissue injury may not always be noticeable right away. Whiplash is easily the most common delayed injury symptom that occurs with car accidents, and the symptoms normally manifest as neck or shoulder pain and stiffness. The person’s body is in high alert right after an accident, and those muscle aches and pains may not seem like a big deal. However, if not treated properly, either through physical therapy, massage or chiropractic care, these injuries can quickly become permanent and debilitating. The patient will need to undergo x-rays, CT scans or MRIs for proper diagnosis of this injury. 


Many times, painful headaches can develop days after a car accident. These headaches can often indicate something serious, such as a brain blood clot, a TBI, concussion or serious injury to the neck or head. 

Back Pain 

Like headaches, back pain may develop shortly after a car accident. It may not seem like much at the time, but those aches and pains could mean serious nerve or ligament damage to the back or damage to the vertebrae. 

Numbness to Body

Another delayed injury symptom that may appear following a car accident is numbness or loss of feeling to the arms or hands. Numbness could be an indication of whiplash. It could also mean something more serious, such as damage to the spinal column or neck.

Swelling or Pain in the Abdomen 

Another delayed injury symptom could be swelling or pain in the abdomen.  This can be a sign of internal bleeding. If there is a large area of deep purple bruising, dizziness or fainting that accompanies the swelling, it could mean something life-threatening and should be treated as soon as possible.

Personality Changes or Physical Function Changes 

Two other symptoms following a car accident can include personality changes or difficulty with movement, vision or hearing. These symptoms can indicate traumatic brain injury from a concussion. If any of these symptoms occur following a car accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately to ensure that no further damage occurs.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Aside from physical injuries, mental health illnesses can develop as well following a car accident. One of these includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Victims suffering from PTSD may find themselves having vivid memories of the accident and experience nightmares. Accident victims may have a fear that the accident will be recurring or may have flashbacks from the event. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important that the person suffering talk with a doctor who can properly diagnose and treat PTSD.


If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida it is very important to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney immediately.  Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients.

Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email.  We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital.  Call us today, we are ready to help.