Everyone who is involved in a car accident has a unique experience.  Some suffer injuries immediately, while others do not feel the full effect of their injuries for several weeks or even months.  Those that do experience mild injuries may find that they gradually worsen over time.  

Some accident victims walk away from a crash feeling lucky to not have suffered any injuries, only to experience pain later that day or even a few days following the accident.  This is primarily due to our body’s reaction to trauma.  Following a car accident, our body starts producing adrenaline to help cope with any injuries we might have sustained. 

It is important to monitor your pain or discomfort after a car accident no matter how insignificant it may seem at first. 

It is extremely important to take yourself to your family doctor or even the hospital after any kind of motor vehicle accident, even if you do not feel injured.  It is especially important to be evaluated by a physician immediately following a severe collision to confirm that you did not suffer an injury with delayed symptoms. 


Delayed symptoms should not be ignored, such as abdominal pain, neck pain, back pain, tingling and numbness, memory loss or lack of concentration, constant headaches and nausea, and excessive sleeping and feeling tired.

Abdominal Pain: Following a car accident, stomach pain may be a sign of damage from the impact, such as injuries to internal organs or internal bleeding.  It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience stomach pain, feel dizzy or develop large deep purple bruises.  This could indicate a life-threatening condition and requires an immediate diagnosis and treatment.

Neck Pain: Neck pain is a classic symptom of whiplash, which frequently occurs following a rear-end collision.  The force of the accident whips the head forward and back and my lead to sprains and strains, herniated disks and other spinal cord injuries.  This symptom may not present itself for several hours or even days after the accident, but the pain may last for days, months or even be permanent.

Back Pain: Back pain following a car accident may be the result of soft-tissue damage, slipped or herniated disks, whiplash or spinal injuries.  This type of pain often limits mobility, everyday activities and one’s ability to work.  Back pain often lasts for months or even years and should be treated as soon as possible.

Tingling and Numbness: If you experience tingling and numbness symptoms following a car accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.  These symptoms may indicate a possible brain injury, problem with the nervous system, pinched nerve or a herniated disk.

Memory Loss/Lack of Concentration: Symptoms of memory loss or the inability to concentrate can be caused by a traumatic brain injury sustained during the car accident.  These symptoms must be reported to a medical professional as soon as possible for investigation and possible treatment options.

Headache and Nausea: Headaches are very common following a motor vehicle accident.  Generally they are completely harmless and will dissipate over time, however, headaches sometimes signal more severe problems.  Headaches may be an indication of blood clots on the brain, neck or head injuries or a serious concussion. The combination of headaches and nausea is very concerning and may indicate a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. 

Excessive Sleeping/Feeling Tired: Individuals often feel exhausted after the initial adrenaline wears off following a car accident.  They may also experience low energy as their body is healing from injuries.  However, exhaustion may indicate a larger problem, such as depression or a traumatic brain injury.  If this is occurring, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Although there are physical symptoms following a car crash that may be delayed or subtle, the emotional impact of an accident can be even harder to detect.  Post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional ailments may not present themselves until days or even weeks after the collision. 

An accident victim may feel tired or upset and view these problems as normal given his/her busy life.  However, you should seek medical advice if you notice the following symptoms of emotional distress:

  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Fatigue and listlessness;
  • Memory loss;
  • Concentration and focus problems;
  • Mood swings;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Personality changes;
  • Difficulty controlling emotions;
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoyed;
  • Relationship problems;
  • Lack of motivation;
  • Flashbacks;
  • Nightmares or sleep disturbances;
  • Panic attacks; and
  • Intense feelings of sadness, anger or distress.

Car accident victims may experience sleep disorders, PTSD, anxiety and/or depression.  These emotional challenges should not be ignored and should be taken as seriously as physical ailments for they can lead to the loss of quality of life, difficulties in returning to work and returning to the life you had before the accident.

Symptoms of emotional distress should be discussed with your healthcare professionals as soon as possible and appropriate therapy and medications can be prescribed to begin the road to recovery.

If or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, please contact the experienced and award winning personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP

As a firm of lawyers who specializes in personal injury law and medical malpractice, the lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP have a strong reputation in the community and in the legal profession.  Our lawyers also have a proven track record of successfully handling serious personal injury and medical malpractice claims.

At Cuming & Gillespie LLP we strive to provide our clients with excellent legal services and offer a free consultation.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding hiring a lawyer for your personal injury or medical malpractice case.  Please contact our office at 403-571-0555 or online.