How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

Being involved in a car accident can be a scary and traumatic experience for all the parties involved. Many car accidents result in those involved sustaining injuries, often ranging from minor to traumatic. Regardless of the extent of your injury, if you’ve been hurt in a car accident, our experienced Tampa auto accident attorneys can help. We work with victims of Tampa Bay car crashes to fight for the compensation they deserve for their injuries and suffering.

A woman holding her neck in pain after a car accident

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Common car accident injuries

Many kinds of injuries can result from a car accident, and certain factors, such as the type of accident and the conditions in which the accident occurred, can play a significant role in what injuries are sustained. Some injuries are present immediately, whereas others may be delayed in showing symptoms, making it important to pay extra close attention to your health in the days and weeks following a car accident.

Immediately after a car crash

Plenty of types of injuries may be present immediately after a crash, and the first responders will help identify them upon their arrival at the scene. Common injuries that may immediately be present include broken bones, cuts, and spinal cord injuries, just to name a few.

Car accident injuries with delayed onset

However, many car accident injuries may not be present at the time of the accident. Whether they are present the next day or take weeks to become noticeable, delayed car accident injuries can be incredibly dangerous. Below are some of the most common delayed injuries:

Issues that typically appear within a day or two

  • Concussions/traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries and concussions are the leading cause of serious injury or death among car accident victims. These injuries occur when the head strikes a hard object, such as the window, steering wheel, or pavement, after the force of impact. People who suffer traumatic brain injuries are often left with long-term problems such as difficulty reasoning, memory problems, and emotion control issues that make life difficult.
  • Whiplash: This type of injury often goes hand-in-hand with a concussion. Common symptoms of whiplash are headaches and neck aches. It is important to speak with a medical professional as soon as symptoms arise because, oftentimes, whiplash can lead to more than just soreness in the victim.
  • Muscle spasms: Muscle spasms typically are not immediately present upon the occurrence of a car accident, and most injury victims will notice them within a day or two following the incident. Muscle spasms can cause severe pain and prevent victims from working, often requiring medication management and various other treatments to control the symptoms. 
  • Internal organ damage: Internal organ damage is perhaps one of the most severe types of delayed injuries that can arise from a car accident due to the irreparable damage this type of injury can cause. If left untreated, internal organ damage can be life-threatening.
  • Spine injuries: The severity of the injury depends on where the spine was fractured and if it is an incomplete fracture or complete. If the fracture is complete, the spinal cord can no longer send signals to the body below the area of injury, which results in paralysis. Incomplete fractures can leave victims with movement, but they may be diminished depending on the area of the spine that sustained the injury. Further, a slipped or herniated disc is a type of spinal injury that can also be delayed in showing symptoms, making it important to be aware of any potential symptoms as they arise in the days following the accident. 

Injuries that may show up days or weeks after a car accident

  • Broken bones: Car accidents that occur at high rates of speed can leave victims with broken bones that may be simple or compound. Victims of car accidents can easily suffer broken bones in the feet, legs, hands, arms, ribs, or vertebrae of the spine. While simple fractures are often corrected with casting or bracing, compound fractures are more serious and typically require surgery to correct. Depending on the type of break, it might be noticeable immediately or detected later on.
  • Soft tissue damage: Soft tissue damage occurs when trauma occurs to soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Given how sore you may be immediately following the car accident, it may be challenging to recognize this type of injury right away. Be sure to monitor for these symptoms in the days and weeks following the accident to receive proper treatment from your provider. 
  • PTSD: Unsurprisingly, car accidents can be very traumatic for the victims. As a result, it’s common for post-traumatic stress disorder to be experienced by car accident victims. Given the initial shock and confusion following the accident, this emotional injury often takes a while to present itself to the victims.

How long do I have to file an injury claim after a car accident?

Under Florida’s House Bill 837, victims who suffered a personal injury after a car accident must bring forward their claim no more than two years after the date of their injury. Failing to file a claim within this time set by the statute of limitations, you may lose the right to seek compensation for your personal injury. 

This is why it’s important to file a personal injury action against the negligent driver as soon as possible. This way, you can ensure your claim can be brought, and then you may be able to add on any delayed injuries as they arise throughout the case. 

Avoid speaking to other party’s insurance companies

To guarantee the best results for yourself, be sure to avoid speaking to the opposing party’s counsel or insurance companies. When you’re involved in a car accident lawsuit, it’s essential to ensure that any and all legal correspondence is handled on your behalf by your personal injury attorney. 

If you have been injured in a car accident, call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys

The scales of justice on a car accident lawyer's desk.

Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing car accident victims throughout Tampa and the surrounding areas. Our firm offers free consultations to review your claim and review potential strategies for building the best legal argument on your behalf. Contact us today to speak with our team and see what your claim may be worth.

Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, to schedule a free legal consultation.

Sources: 

Florida House Bill 837.

Kucheruk, E. Things to Know About Traumatic Brain Injury. (2023).

Mack, P. Soft Tissue Injuries.

Statute of Limitations Definition.