How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear? A Legal Guide

It’s estimated that every year roughly 2.1 million people go to the hospital for motor vehicle injuries. Since these types of injuries can be expensive, it’s vital to document their costs for insurance or lawsuit purposes.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem: many injuries can emerge well after the date of the car accident. This can make documenting them for compensation purposes particularly challenging. So how long after a car accident can injuries appear?

On top of that, what should you do if you notice a delayed injury? In this guide, we’ll be answering these questions so you can get the claim money you deserve following this type of accident.

How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

It’s common for many car accident injuries to appear instantaneously. This commonly happens with cuts, broken bones, and injuries to your head. However, other types of injuries can begin to show themselves days or even weeks after the car accident occurs.

In fact, in rare cases, the after-effects of the injuries may not even be present for months. Let’s take a closer look at some of these types of delayed injuries so you know what to look out for.

Injuries That Appear After a Day or Two

These types of injuries tend to appear after the adrenaline from being in a car accident dies down. Concussions are one of the most common types of car accident injuries.

This type of minor head trauma can vary drastically from an inconvenience to life-threatening. If you notice symptoms developing like headaches, dizziness, and confusion, there’s a good chance you have a concussion.

Another common delayed injury is whiplash. This occurs when the head whips back damaging muscle, ligaments, and your neck. You should also be on the lookout for internal injuries.

Blunt force trauma can cause internal bleeding, swelling, and pain without any external appearance. You must tend to these injuries as they can be life-threatening if ignored.

The last type of injury that tends to appear after a day or two is a slipped disc. This occurs when one of the disks in your spine falls out of place. It’s characterized by intense back pain that radiates down your leg.

Injuries That Appear After a Week or Two

It’s common for broken bones to be identified on the day of the accident. Unfortunately, not all broken bones are obvious. If the bone hasn’t breached the skin and isn’t at an odd angle, it’s quite common to mistake broken bones for sprains or fractures.

Be on the lookout for pain and swelling that persists past a few days. If you notice it, get an x-ray. The same goes for soft tissue damage like sprains and strains.

While these aren’t as serious as broken bones, they shouldn’t be ignored as they can cause lasting problems. It’s also common for traumatic head injuries to worsen as the days go by.

Damage to the brain cells with these types of injuries can cause long-term disability problems. So the sooner you can get an ultrasound to identify the issue, the more function you can likely save.

Lastly, there are psychological injuries like PTSD. This type of mental disorder is brought on by trauma. It can cause you to avoid anything that potentially triggers memories of the accident.

Injuries That Appear After a Month

Injuries that occur after a month typically involve nerve pain that worsens over time. Unfortunately, this is the most challenging type of condition to document because it often can’t be assigned to a specific injury.

It can include things like shoulder, arm, and leg pain, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and personality changes. If you suffer from these types of injuries we recommend keeping a journal to document their progression.

Seek Medical Evaluations Directly Following the Accident

Many often don’t know what to do following an automobile accident. The first thing you should do is seek comprehensive medical treatment as soon as you can.

Make sure you ask your doctor for both an x-ray and a CAT scan to detect any potentially hidden broken bones, sprains, and head injuries. You should also keep close documentation of any potential injuries for personal injury lawsuits.

If you don’t notice an injury during your initial visit, make sure you monitor yourself closely. If any symptoms develop, schedule another appointment right away.

When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Often we think that insurance companies want to help us. While they can provide financial assistance following an accident, it’s vital to remember that at the end of the day, these are businesses.

As such, they’ll often do everything in their power to prevent you from getting the car accident claim you deserve. Delayed injuries are one of the ways they’ll do this.

If you don’t report your injuries to the insurance company within a month, they may try to deny your claim. Or, they’ll offer you a low-ball settlement early on before the extent of your injuries can be assessed.

This is a big problem if your injuries don’t develop until later. A personal injury lawyer will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company to get you the money you need.

So if you sense any pushback on their part, you should contact one immediately. Sometimes, if another party is responsible for the accident, hiring a lawyer for legal services might be appropriate.

Just make sure you file it before the statute of limitation expires. Here in Texas according to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003 the amount of time is two years for car accident lawsuits.

Need Legal Help After a Car Accident? Contact the Law Office of Arturo Martinez, PC

We hope this guide helped you answer the question “How long after a car accident can injuries appear?”. Here at the Law Office of Arturo Martinez, PC, we know first-hand how delayed car accident injuries can affect insurance claims and court cases. That’s why we negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf to get the compensation you need.

With over two and a half decades of experience, we have the know-how to make sure your case is successful. If you want to learn more about how we can help with your injury case, contact us today.