What If My Pain After a Car Accident Was Delayed?

The accident wasn’t so bad, or at least it didn’t seem that way at the time. As you were making your morning commute to work, you switched between news and your favorite music when suddenly your head began to jerk back and forth. You felt fine despite the low speed collision’s powerful punch. It was strong enough to smash your taillights, and force your car into another. You made notes and exchanged information with other motorists. Then you took care of the matter. You didn’t sign a release for settlement with at-fault driver’s insurance company (more later), as you only discovered whiplash a few weeks later.

What now? It is not uncommon for injury-related pain following a car accident delay to occur. In many cases, you may not realize you have suffered a serious injury until much later. Here are some guidelines that will help you ensure you receive the compensation you deserve if your car accident-related pain does not appear until days, or even weeks later.

There are many types of pain that can follow a car accident.

Sometimes, a headache can be just a headache. If you have been in a car accident recently, your neck or head pain could be a sign of a more serious injury. Even if the pain isn’t immediately obvious, seek immediate medical attention if you feel any of these types of pain following an accident.

  1. Headaches Pay particular attention to the area and the severity of the pain. This could be stress-related, a sign that you have suffered brain injury, whiplash or neck injury, or even a clot. A severe headache could also be a sign that you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  2. Shoulder or Neck Pain — This can often be a sign that you have whiplash, which is a general term for several injuries. It may appear immediately after an accident but not always until several days later. A herniated disc could cause neck and shoulder pain.
  3. Lower Back Pain — Lower back pain may indicate whiplash-related injuries. This could also indicate a herniated disc or other soft-tissue injuries, such as muscle damage, a strain, or sprain. It could also be a sign of pinched nerves if it is accompanied by tingling and numbness.
  4. Numbness, Tingling, etc. Tingling, numbness, and weakness in the limbs are all signs of a herniated disk that presses against the nerves in your spine. The pinching can lead to pain, tingling, numbness and other sensations throughout your body.
  5. Abdominal pain — Soft-tissue, internal injuries can cause serious and even fatal complications if they aren’t treated. You should seek immediate medical attention if you feel any abdominal pain (even if it appears days later), following an accident. You may also experience headaches, dizziness and deep bruising from internal bleeding.
  6. Suffering and Emotional Pain — Once the initial chaos of an accident subsides, it is possible to experience anxiety, depression, or even PTSD. It could be due to the actual accident, physical injuries, or both. Brain injuries can also cause personality or emotional changes.

Do not sign a release of liability for settlement until you are ready

After settling a claim for car accident damages, it is common for an injured party to sign a waiver of liability. This forms ends any future lawsuits and any other claims related to the accident. If you sign the release form too quickly, before you have had a chance to assess all injuries sustained in a car crash, you could lose your right to compensation. It is important to have a thorough medical evaluation after a car accident, before signing any release.

My Pain After a Car accident was Delayed: What Now?

It’s possible to receive compensation for delayed injuries as long as you have not settled your claim or signed a release from liability with the at fault driver’s insurer. You should get a full evaluation of your injuries and an estimate of future medical expenses.

It is best to wait until your “maximum medical improvements (MMI)” are achieved. This refers to when your condition is stable and you are making the best recovery possible. There are very few chances that you will sustain additional injuries, which is why it is so rare.

Request a legal evaluation of your car accident injury claim

You may not feel any symptoms until several days after an accident. While you might be eager to settle your claim immediately, keep in mind that time is not on your side (to some extent). A local motor vehicle accident attorney can help you make the right decisions and evaluate your case.

Updated 01/18/22