How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Appear?

Car accidents are fairly common. You or someone you know has probably been involved in at least one minor car accident. However, car accidents can be incredibly dangerous, and drivers and passengers can be seriously injured. Many injuries are visible immediately after an accident. Lacerations, broken bones, and other physical wounds appear almost right away. However, not all injuries are externally visible. Some injuries may go unnoticed or may not present symptoms until some time after the accident.

Injuries from car accidents can be unpredictable. There have been many cases of people with severe, life-altering injuries after accidents. There have also been cases of people miraculously walking away from accidents unharmed. However, after any car accident, you should be monitoring yourself for injuries as they can manifest long after the accident. Depending on what kind of injury you have, it could go unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. it is important to be careful and seek medical attention.

If you were in a car accident in the past and have recently noticed injuries you think may have been caused by that accident, our team can help you. Our Boston car accident attorneys can help you sue the responsible drivers and get compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free legal consultation with our Cambridge traumatic brain injury lawyer. Call (617) 925-6407  to get help right away.

How Long it Takes for Some Injuries to Appear After a Car Accident

The time it takes for an injury to present itself will depend on the nature of the injury. Sometimes, new injuries may result from other minor injuries that go untreated. For example, an untreated laceration could end up getting infected and become more serious. Other times, the injury is undetectable until later, such as with internal injuries.

One common injury that does not always appear immediately after a car accident is a concussion. Many accident victims who suffer concussions do not feel any pain and do not realize they are injured. They might go home and feel dizzy, confused, nauseous, and sensitive to light and sound over the next few days. These are telltale signs of a concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions could be somewhat minor, and victims may make full recoveries. Other times, concussions are very serious and may have life-long effects if left untreated.

Another common injury that takes time to show up in accident victims is whiplash. In many cases, the signs of whiplash do not appear for a couple of days. Symptoms can include headaches, a stiff neck, and severe neck pain. Symptoms may also develop more slowly and become increasingly painful as time goes on.

Other injuries that may appear long after an accident are those related to internal bleeding. In cases where the internal bleeding is significant, a doctor can tell right away that the patient is injured. However, internal bleeds are sometimes small and go unnoticed for days or even weeks until other parts of your body begin to suffer.

There could be delayed mental injuries as well. Accident survivors have been known to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). People who have PTSD might experience flashbacks, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. The symptoms can be so debilitating that survivors have difficulty living a normal life. PTSD symptoms sometimes appear long after an accident has happened, and the reality of the situation has sunken in.

If you are suffering from injures from a past car accident, our Cambridge car accident attorneys can help you.

Statute of Limitations and Developing Symptoms After a Car Accident

Plaintiffs have a limited time to take certain legal actions against defendants. This time limit is referred to as the statute of limitations. Different states may impose different statutes of limitations for personal injury cases, including car accident cases. For example, Massachusetts has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases.

It is important to understand the statute of limitations in your state related to car accident cases because you might encounter injuries that appear close to the deadline or even after the deadline passes. In these situations, you and your legal team must work fast to get medical attention, assess the extent of your injuries, and calculate damages. it is important to track the development and appearance of symptoms right away, as the clock on your case begins ticking the day of the accident.

Talk to our car accident attorneys about the statute of limitations in your case. Time is of the essence, and we may need to act quickly if your injuries did not present themselves until long after your accident.

What If My Injuries Do Not Appear Until After the Statute of Limitations Expires?

If the statute of limitations on your car accident case has passed, you could be barred from filing a lawsuit. This means you would be unable to recover any compensation for your injuries. However, it may be possible to toll the statute and buy a little extra time.

One example of tolling a statute was mentioned previously. Statutes of limitations are often tolled for minors until they reach the age of 18. The law often gives minors special treatment because they cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf while still so young. it may not be possible for such a young person to even understand they have the right to sue until they are much older.

You may also toll the statute of limitation if you are disabled. Your disability must have prevented you from filing the lawsuit. a person who was injured and uses a wheelchair is disabled, but not in a way that stops them from filing a lawsuit. Suppose you had a severe mental disability or mental illness at the time of the accident that prevented you from filing a lawsuit. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260 § 7, because you were mentally incapable of filing a lawsuit, the statute would be tolled until your disability resolves or a guardian is appointed.

It might also be possible to toll a statute if you were unaware of your injuries even after performing your due diligence to be checked out by a doctor. When injuries present themselves after a statute has expired, the plaintiff could toll the statute if they had no way of knowing about their injuries until it was too late. Contact our Malden car accident attorneys about your case today.

Common Types of Delayed Symptoms Caused by Car Accident Injuries

If you suffered a car accident, it is important to be aware of the signs for any underlying injuries you may have sustained. There are many types of delayed symptoms associated with various car accident injuries:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Numbness in feet or hands
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or light
  • Memory loss
  • Alterations in behavior or personality

If you suffered a car accident and are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should get in touch with our car accident lawyers. Our experienced team of attorneys can help find the right doctors for you. Afterwards, we can help determine the appropriate steps toward financial compensation.

Examples of Car Accident Injuries that Can Produce Delayed Symptoms

Car accident victims can incur a wide range of devastating injuries. In many cases, these injuries produce delayed symptoms that do not arise until days after a crash. The following are common examples of car accident injuries that can produce delayed symptoms:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are a common type of car accident injury that can lead to delayed symptoms. Such symptoms can include dizziness, memory loss, blurred vision, and headaches. These types of injuries usually occur because of external blows to the head.

Traumatic brain injuries like concussions can produce a multitude of harmful impacts on victims’ lives. If you believe you may be experiencing the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury after a crash, you should contact our car accident lawyers for guidance and support.


Whiplash is another type of car accident injury that can produce delayed symptoms. Those who suffer whiplash may develop any of the following symptoms in the days after their crashes:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms

Whiplash is a type of injury that usually occurs because of a quick snapping motion of the neck. It can be very painful and debilitating. Accordingly, victims with whiplash can pursue payment for the damages they incur.

Spinal Cord Damage

Spinal cord damage is another type of car accident injury that can produce delayed symptoms. In severe cases, the effects of spinal cord injuries will be noticeable right away. However, in certain instances, victims with spinal cord damage may not become aware of the harm they suffered until various issues begin to arise in the days after their accidents. For example, a car accident victim with spinal cord damage may experience balance problems and weakness in their limbs in the days after their crash.

The symptoms associated with spinal cord damage can be devastating. Victims are often prevented from participating in the same hobbies and activities that they enjoyed before their accidents. Fortunately, our car accident lawyers can help plaintiffs fight for compensation related to the numerous damages caused by their spinal cord injuries.

Internal Injuries

Additionally, internal injuries like organ damage and internal bleeding can also lead to harmful, delayed symptoms. Many car accident victims suffer internal injuries because of blunt force trauma caused by impacts with objects inside of their vehicles. For example, a car accident victim may suffer damage to sensitive organs after being thrown against their dashboard during a crash. Signs that you may have suffered an internal injury include the following:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe bruising

If you suffered an internal injury because of a car crash, our car accident lawyers can help recover the payment available to you.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are also a type of car accident injury that can cause victims to suffer delayed symptoms. Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles anywhere in the body. These injuries can cause serious pain and immobility. Many victims with soft tissue injuries are prevented from returning to work while they recover. However, in some cases, symptoms may not arise until days after a collision. For example, a car accident victim may not be immediately aware that they sprained a ligament in their knee. Our experienced Beverly car accident lawyers can help victims with soft tissue injuries navigate the complex road to recovery.

Phycological Distress

Car crashes can be stressful and traumatic experiences. Accordingly, many car accident victims suffer from various forms of psychological distress. There are many potential symptoms of psychological distress that can be incurred. For instance, victims may suffer from intrusive thoughts, nightmares, negative mood changes, feelings of guilt, and worsened behavioral responses like irritability and fear.

The symptoms of psychological distress may not present themselves until well after an accident has occurred. These symptoms can produce devastating effects on peoples’ abilities to work and enjoy their lives. Fortunately, victims can contact our attorneys for help seeking compensation for the economic and non-economic damages related to their psychological injuries.

Should You See a Doctor if You Are Experienced Delayed Symptoms for Your Car Accident Injuries?

If you are experiencing delayed symptoms for your car accident injuries, you should see a doctor right away. First, official documentation of your injuries is required to recover financial compensation for the harm you incurred. Accordingly, you must visit a doctor so that they can properly document your car accident injuries. Our lawyers can help find the right doctor for you.

Second, defendants and their insurance companies may use a delay in treatment to complicate the settlement process. For instance, if you assert that your symptoms had worsened but did not visit the doctor right away, a defendant may argue that you were not truly hurt. Accordingly, if you suffered a car accident, you should see the doctor immediately if new symptoms arise or if old symptoms begin to worse. Furthermore, you should attend any follow-up medical appointments related to your injuries and continue taking and prescribed medication. The assistance of our car accident lawyers can be highly beneficial when taking the appropriate steps toward compensation.

Call Our Car Accident Lawyers for Help

If you were injured in a car accident, your injuries might not be immediately visible. Some injuries take time to present themselves. Our Somerville car accident lawyers can help you file your case no matter when your injuries become known. Arrange a free legal consultation at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407. Our attorneys will review your case for free.