Delayed Symptoms After A Car Accident

Delayed Symptoms After A Car Accident
By Kimberly BishopOctober 8, 2019,

This post discusses delayed symptoms after a car accident. Immediately after an accident you may have apparent injuries, but what happens if you begin to experience delayed symptoms in new areas of your body?

If you have been injured in a car accident or begin to develop symptoms later on, please seek immediate medical attention. Below are some common delayed symptoms from car accidents.

It should be noted that the longer you wait to receive medical treatment after your accident, the more difficult it will be to prove that your injuries arose from the accident.

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Headaches can be a symptom of whiplash that can occur up to 24 hours after your accident. Whiplash headaches most often start at the base of the skull. A traumatic brain injury could also be the cause of your headache. You do not have to sustain an injury to the outside of your skull to have a traumatic brain injury. A sudden jar can cause your brain to shift inside your skull and damage tissue, as in the case of a concussion, diffuse axonal or contrecoup brain injury.

Chest Pain

Seat belts and air bags, while designed to protect us during an accident, can actually cause chest bruising if we are involved in a accident. This chest bruising can be superficial, cause broken ribs or even a cardiac contusion. Costochondritis (chest wall pain) can feel like a heart attack but it is really just  inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be caused by a contusion to the lung during an accident. While you may have bruising on the outside of your body, you may also have internal bruising of an organ as well. If you imagine what a bruise looks like on the outside of your body, you can see why a lung contusion causes shortness of breath. At the contusion site, blood accumulates and interferes with the lung's ability to supply your body with oxygen.

Bruising & Swelling

Most bruises will look worse the days following an accident but eventually resolve on their own. Swelling can occur from trauma or blockage. Unfortunately, DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) can arise from an injury. DVTs are clumps of blood in a deep tissue (usually the legs) that are usually not noticeable from the skin's surface.

Pain and/or Numbness

Pain and/or numbness are signs from your body that there is an issue. Pain can be mild to severe depending on the impact of your injury. If pain develops after your accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Numbness can be caused by radiculopathy (nerve damage). A sudden jar during an accident may cause a shift in your spine which may result in the compression of a nerve. Numbness is definitely a symptom that you should not ignore.


Unfortunately, a car accident can leave us with more than physical injuries. After a car accident, you or a loved one can develop anxiety or fear about driving or riding in a car. Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD and Vehophobia are all possibilities. If you begin to experience these symptoms seek mental health treatment.

The Bishop Law Firm represents car victims of auto accidents in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Fayetteville, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids and more! We look forward to working with you and wish you a speedy recovery. 

Also read North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

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