Feeling fine after an accident does not mean you are injury free

When you have been in a car accident, one of the first questions people ask is, “how do you feel?” Even with minor crashes, adrenaline is usually pumping through your body, which can mask any symptoms.

There are also certain symptoms of injuries that may appear hours or even days after an accident. It is best to wait and assess your situation to see if injuries and associated symptoms crop up before making an official statement or signing anything.

Common physical symptoms

According to KTAR, it is common for underlying injuries to be asymptomatic for a while after an accident. Common symptoms that indicate whiplash or another neck injury, and may appear later, include neck stiffness or pain, headaches, upper back pain, numbness in the extremities and shoulder stiffness and pain. Severe, constant headaches may also indicate a more severe issue, such as brain injury.

Low back pain is common, especially in side-impact and rear-impact collisions. This pain may indicate injury to the nerves, muscles, ligaments or vertebrae of the back.

If there is pain or swelling in the abdominal area, this often indicates internal bleeding. At the first sign of this, you should seek emergency medical attention, because it can be life-threatening.

Potential mental symptoms

Physical symptoms are not the only signs of injury. If you notice personality changes, behavioral changes or impaired memory, it is possible you had a concussion and are suffering from traumatic brain injury.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is also common after a crash. In fact, FindLaw discusses that car accidents are one of the main causes of PTSD. PTSD can occur after any crash, even minor ones, but the following factors increase the risk:

  • History of traumatic experiences
  • Involvement of fatalities on the scene
  • More severe injuries of other victims
  • Longer recovery from injuries

If you notice any of these, or other, symptoms after a crash, seek treatment as soon as possible. Untreated injuries result in more serious injuries and chronic symptoms.