How Long After a Car Accident Can Symptoms Occur?

Car accidents happen on a daily basis and can sometimes lead to serious injuries or even death. Luckily, the good news is that the majority of car accidents are minor collisions that most drivers and passengers escape from relatively unharmed. Sometimes, people are involved in a car accident and come away completely fine even when you would expect there to be injuries. However, just because no injuries are apparent right after the accident, does not mean that none have been sustained. Our bodies produce adrenaline right after an accident to help us cope with any injuries we may have suffered, which is why some people manage to escape terrible situations while being severely injured. Sometimes you will not notice an injury or any pain until after the accident, which is why it’s important to look out for any symptoms that develop later.


Although you might not get one immediately after the crash, developing headaches after a car accident is one of the most common symptoms. Usually, they are harmless and will go away after some time and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. However, headaches that develop after a car accident can sometimes be a sign of something more serious such as a blood clot on the brain or an injury to the neck or head, which is why it’s important to always get medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured or in pain after a crash.

Shoulder, Neck and Back Pain:

Pain in the shoulders, neck, and/or back after a car accident is usually a sign of whiplash, which is one of the most common injuries sustained. You may experience this pain straight away after the accident, but it might also be a few days before you start to really notice. If you begin to feel any stiffness around your neck, head or shoulders after a car accident, see a doctor who can schedule an MRI or x-ray to make sure that you get a correct diagnosis. If the pain is not caused by whiplash you may have sustained a spinal injury, which will need to be treated immediately. If you’ve had a serious spine injury as a result of a car crash, Horst Shewmaker can help with a personal injury claim.

Abdominal Pain:

Pain in the abdomen is less likely to develop straight after the accident and may go unnoticed at first when your body is pumped full of adrenalin. However, any abdominal pain could be a sign of internal bleeding, especially if it is accompanied by fainting and dizziness or large areas of purple bruising on the abdomen. Internal bleeding may not show symptoms for hours or even days, which is why it’s important to get checked over by a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel fine.

Finally, even if you managed to get away fairly unscathed, a car accident can impact your mental health just as much as your physical health. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a car accident. It may not be very obvious at the beginning but may worsen over time, affecting your quality of life and your ability to function.