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Car Accidents

Injuries That Appear Days or Weeks After Your Car Accident

Posted Jan 31, 2023 by Matt Boulton

Each year, thousands of Hoosiers are injured in car accidents throughout Indiana. Their immediate injuries will present in a variety of physical and psychological forms, as well as differing levels of severity. And unlike apparent injuries, a number of people will also experience delayed injuries.

Unfortunately, all car accident injury types don’t announce themselves immediately following a collision. While a visual injury such as a badly broken bone or laceration is often apparent at an accident scene, a number of victims may also develop symptoms of a delayed injury days, weeks, or months after an accident.

Attorney Matt Boulton has handled a number of cases on behalf of clients who experienced delayed injuries following their car accident, including:

Delayed Soft Tissue Injury

A large percentage of injured car accident victims will sustain a soft tissue injury. These injuries involve various muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout a person’s body, e.g., the back and neck.

And while some soft tissue injury symptoms are more immediate, it’s not uncommon for the scope and severity of these injuries to take days or weeks to fully appear.

Car accident victims who sustain a delayed soft tissue injury may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

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  • New, gradual or worsening pain
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising/Discoloration
  • General soreness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Inability to move in a normal manner

Additionally, a number of car accident victims have advised Matt they believed they could “tough out” their soft tissue injury until it healed on its own, however, the injury continued to persist and/or the pain severity increased.

Delayed Back Injuries

The back and spine can absorb a great amount of energy during a car accident, especially when someone is rear-ended or involved in any type of high-speed collision.

In some instances, adrenaline may mask the symptoms of a back injury at the scene of an accident. As a result, a delayed back injury may not present for several hours or days following the collision.

Common symptoms of a delayed back injury can include:

  • Gradual or worsening back pain
  • Gradual or worsening neck pain
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Stiffness or aching
  • Muscle spasms

To help diagnose the severity of a delayed back injury, car accident victims should always report any new or emerging symptoms to their doctor. In addition to treating the delayed injury, the doctor can also rule out the possibility of any undetected damage to the spine.

Delayed Concussions

Unfortunately, concussions are an all-too-common byproduct of Indiana car accidents. Also known as a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), this injury occurs when the force of a collision causes a person’s brain to make contact with their skull.

Unfortunately, Matt has also spoken with a number of Indiana car accident victims who didn’t believe it was possible for them to have suffered a concussion, since they claimed their head made no contact with anything in the vehicle.

Unknown to these folks is the fact that a concussion can occur without the head experiencing any type of blunt force trauma. For instance, if someone is rear-ended and their head jerks, depending on the force generated, it can still cause their brain to move forward and back, making contact with the skull.

Concussions have also been referred to as a silent epidemic, due to the many hidden symptoms that can appear days, weeks, or months after being sustained. The concern here is the overall impact a concussion can have on someone’s physical health and cognitive well-being.

Delaying treatment for a potential concussion can result in serious complications, that is why it’s especially important to be on the watch for any sign of delayed symptoms, such as:

  • New or worsening headaches
  • Changes in personality
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Problems with balance or coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Slowed response time

Because head injuries are often invisible, they may initially go undetected. However, due to the wide range of potential effects a concussion can have on an accident victim, it’s important that family members and friends also report any signs of a delayed head injury.

Delayed Whiplash

Most of us are familiar with the term “whiplash.” While it is often signaled by a person wearing a neck or cervical collar, it counts as one of the most common types of soft tissue injuries associated with car accidents.

Commonly experienced by victims of rear-end accidents, whiplash occurs when the vehicle occupant’s head jerks forward and backward in a sudden, whip-like motion. The quick movement causes tendons in the neck and shoulder to overextend, resulting in various levels of soft tissue-related injury.

Depending on the force of a collision, the victim may experience sudden pain in the neck and shoulder area, however, this will not always be the case.

A number of Matt’s clients have also reported experiencing delayed whiplash symptoms that appeared days after an accident, including:

  • New or increased neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Muscle sensitivity
  • Neck, back, or shoulder stiffness

Ultimately, this injury can present with a variety of symptoms, and if you begin to experience any new or worsening symptoms associated with your head, neck, shoulders, or back, it’s possible you may have sustained a form of delayed whiplash.

Delayed Psychological Injuries

A number of Boulton Law Group’s car accident clients will also experience various forms of psychological or emotional injury as a result of their collision. And while some victims are quick to identify these types of effects, others may suppress, deny, or experience delayed psychological symptoms.

Because there is often no immediate physical sign(s) of a psychological injury, it can be days, weeks, or months before a person or someone close to them identifies any emotional effects. However, any form of post-traumatic stress disorder should be given immediate attention due to the unique effects they can have on a person.

While this list is not all-inclusive, some signs of a delayed psychological injury may include:

  • Fear of driving or being in a vehicle
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks or reliving the incident
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chage in appetite
  • Seclusion
  • Difficulty with concentration or performing daily tasks

Any signs of emotional distress should be immediately reported to a doctor. In most instances, they can recommend a specialist who handles the psychological effects following a car accident.

Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Founded by attorney Matt Boulton, Boulton Law Group focuses exclusively on personal injury matters throughout the state of Indiana. In addition to helping Hoosier car accident victims who sustain traumatic injuries, Matt also represents a large number of clients who experience various forms of delayed physical or psychological symptoms.

If you have questions about a delayed car accident injury, Boulton Law Group offers a Zero Fee Guarantee, which means you will never pay for a legal review and you owe the firm absolutely nothing unless a recovery is made on your behalf.

To receive your legal review and learn more about what types of compensation you may be entitled to, you can send your accident and injury details to us by using our confidential, free contact form.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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