How Long Will I Feel Pain After a Car Accident?

woman in pain

If you were injured in a car accident, your relatively minor injuries may heal in a matter of days or weeks. However, more serious and extensive injuries can take months to heal, and some may never fully go away. After being injured in an auto accident, it is also common for some victims to not feel pain until hours or days have passed after the accident. Long story short, the amount of time you may feel pain and discomfort after an accident will depend greatly on the extent and nature of your injuries.

In all circumstances, the best thing personal injury victims can do once they have secured medical treatment is consult with an attorney as soon as possible after their accident. Geiger Legal Group, LLC, is standing by to help. Call us at (770) 720-4600 or visit us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled personal injury attorney.

What Factors Can Affect the Onset of Pain After a Car Accident?

Again, it can take several hours, days, or longer for injuries to fully manifest after a car accident. According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, 10 percent of motor vehicle crash victims still suffer significant pain a year after their underlying accident. This is largely due to the body’s biochemical response to the kind of stress and trauma it may undergo in a crash.

For example, to help protect you, your body releases a surge of adrenaline in the event of danger. This hormone gives you the surge of energy you need to flee or take critical action that could save your life. This is commonly referred to as a “fight or flight” response.

Your heart rate will also increase, and your airways may open more widely. Together, this will help get oxygen-rich blood to your brain and muscles. Your liver will also work to convert glycogen into much-needed energy. Finally, your brain will secrete endorphins in response to stress, which helps relieve pain and can calm you down in high-stress scenarios.

All of this together may cause you to not immediately feel the full effects of the injuries you sustain in a car accident. As these biochemical reactions subside, you may start noticing pain and discomfort that was not apparent in the moments immediately following the accident.

What Types of Injuries Cause Delayed Pain?

There are many types of injuries that can take some time to fully manifest after an accident. These are sometimes known as “latent” injuries and can include things like:

  • Concussions– These are a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that often causes delayed symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and confusion. These injuries occur when a violent blow or jolt to the head causes the brain to move within the skull. If it strikes the bony interior of your head, your brain can suffer a concussion.
  • Whiplash– Whiplash is a very common injury in car accidents caused by a sudden jerking of the head. To illustrate, simply envision your head jolting forward and backward, resembling the motion of a whip. This kind of motion can injure the joints in your neck by overextending them. Though the damage can cause serious discomfort, symptoms may not appear until several hours or days after an accident.
  • Back pain– Many victims suffer back pain after car accidents. In fact, according to a study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, “63 percent of ongoing lower back pain can be attributed to [a] prior injury in a car crash.” Common examples of back injuries that may cause delayed pain include pinched nerves and herniated discs.
  • Internal injury and bleeding– Of course, because they occur within the body, internal bleeding and organ damage might also not be immediately perceptible until some time has passed after a crash. These injuries can be quite serious. The best way to ensure that they are not overlooked is to make sure you are evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible after an accident.

Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you were recently injured in an auto accident and are experiencing lingering or newfound pain and discomfort, the best thing to do is consult with your doctor as soon as possible. This will ensure that the injuries you sustained in the accident are fully evaluated and thoroughly documented in your medical records. In turn, these records will be used to calculate the compensation you are owed from the at-fault party in your case.

The second thing you should do is consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you have not done so already. The legal team at Geiger Legal Group, LLC, is standing by to make sure you know your full rights and options after sustaining injuries in an accident caused at little to no fault of your own. Call us at (770) 720-4600 or visit us online to schedule your free case evaluation with a knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury attorney.

About the Author: Geiger Legal Group, LLC

In 1981, attorney J. Christopher Geiger began practicing law in Canton, GA, determined to provide personalized legal service to the people of Cherokee County. His son Casey followed in his footsteps, first practicing law in Colorado before joining his father in 2017 to form the Geiger Legal Group, LLC. Together, the father and son team have built a law firm that revolves around clients, not cases.