How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

car accident injuries

Since 2020, there has been a 10.5% increase in motor vehicle fatalities, according to a report from the NHTSA. In 2021, there were 42,915 car accident deaths. But while that number is significant, not every motor vehicle accident ends in a fatality. Some might incur more minor car accident injuries, which a local general practitioner can handle. But how long should you wait to know if you’ve sustained any injuries?

If this is a question in your head, keep reading as we explain what you need to know about delayed-onset motor vehicle injuries.


Common Car Accident Injuries

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best driver on the road; there is always a chance you can be involved in an auto accident. For example, it could easily be the other party’s fault. And unfortunately, you’ll likely sustain injuries from the accident, even if only minor ones.

Some of these injuries, which are delayed-onset injuries, can take a while to show themselves. This means that it’s essential to be seen by a medical professional after any motor vehicle accident. Some car accident injuries are:

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries are arguably one of the most common car accident injuries you can sustain. This is because you can be affected even if you’ve only been in a minor fender-bender. This type of accident can also be a symptom of whiplash. As such, the pain could take a while to display.


If the vehicle catches fire, there is a chance you can sustain burns from the car accident. Burns can also happen if your skin comes into contact with any hot liquid, steam, chemicals, or surface. These injuries are immediate with no delayed onset and may need skin grafting surgery.


Shattered glass is a common reason people get cuts and gashes in car accidents. These are immediate and should be treated by a medical professional to avoid infection.


Whiplash injuries take a while to set in and often display as neck and shoulder pain. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common delayed-onset injuries you can sustain in a car accident. Therefore, it’s always recommended to get checked by a doctor in case of whiplash.

Spinal Cord Injuries

This injury should be attended to by a medical professional immediately and can be very severe. These injuries are immediate and can result from very severe car accidents.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding can come from injuries like broken ribs and should be attended to immediately; however, it’s possible not to realize you have internal bleeding. For example, you must see a doctor after a severe car accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can easily have delayed-onset symptoms, so it can take a while for the signs of brain injuries to appear. For this reason, you should have a doctor follow up with all headaches and pains after the accident.


How Long Can It Take To Display Symptoms of Car Accident Injuries?

car accident injuries

It’s not common to have sustained a delayed-onset injury, but it’s entirely possible – especially if the accident was significant and you have no aches or pains afterward. However, it’s important to note that while it’s a rare occurrence to have a delayed injury, it can be quite serious if left unattended.

For example, an injury deemed minor may start an infection in the body. This infection can lead to more severe conditions, some as severe as organ failure or even delayed death after a vehicle collision.

There have been reports about people sustaining seatbelt injuries that appear minor at the time of the accident but result in serious intestinal damage internally.

If the pain only starts days after an accident, the victim might not correlate the two incidents and may instead think the injury is entirely unrelated and leave it unattended.

Furthermore, brain injuries like bleeding can also take a while to emerge. Some symptoms can be as minor as a headache and can take up to a month to appear.


Assessing Your Car Accident Injuries

If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s crucial that you visit a medical professional immediately or as soon as possible. If the accident has been severe enough that paramedics are on the scene, allow them to check you for any injuries you may have sustained.

The paramedics can either give you the all-clear or, depending on your injuries, can recommend you to the hospital for further assessment or treatment. You can still visit the hospital for a more thorough follow-up exam even if the paramedic gives you the all-clear.

It’s important to realize that just because you may feel uninjured doesn’t mean you did not sustain any injuries. One primary reason you may not exhibit pain at the time of the accident is the adrenaline that your body is producing. This adrenaline would hide any pain until it wore off.

You should monitor yourself for a few weeks after the incident because it’s always possible an existing injury can be delayed in its onset. Then, if you notice any new symptoms, you should undergo a follow-up exam. Sometimes new things can be picked up when re-assessed.


Contacting Legal Aid

After you’ve been in a car accident, you may want to seek compensation for any injuries you sustained, delayed or otherwise. To do this, you need to seek legal aid to file a claim with insurance or against the other party after the accident as soon as possible. You’ll want to contact a personal injury lawyer or accident lawyer to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

It’s always wise to have legal counsel with a lawyer when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident; however, having an attorney doesn’t guarantee a specific result for your case. What they can do is help gather evidence against the other driver to prove, for example, negligence. They can also help assist you in dealing with your auto insurance.


Find The Best Personal Injury Attorney Today

personal injury attorney

Knowing what injuries you can sustain from a motor vehicle accident is good before you get into one. In addition, it’s helpful to know what symptoms to look out for and what conditions can get more serious. Finally, regardless of the injury, you should always get yourself checked over by a medical professional, just in case they notice something you don’t.

Of course, seeking legal aid is also an essential step after sustaining car accident injuries, so if you’re in California seeking legal counsel, contact Ontario Accident Lawyers today, and we’ll see how we can help.

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