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Are Delayed Symptoms Common After a Personal Injury?

Posted on February 21, 2022 in

Many accidents cause injuries that are immediately noticeable. After a car accident, for example, you may notice pain, swelling or bleeding from an injury right away. If you feel normal after an accident, however, this does not necessarily mean that you have not been injured. Some injuries have delayed or hidden symptoms that arise hours or even days later.  

What Are Commonly Delayed Symptoms?

Car accident victims often make the mistake of assuming they are uninjured if they feel fine immediately afterward. However, accidents can cause a spike in adrenaline, which can mask pain and other injury symptoms. Some injuries themselves do not show symptoms until they progress to a certain point, such as bleeding or swelling in the brain. This is why it is always important to go to a hospital immediately after an accident in Colorado, whether or not you notice symptoms. A doctor can diagnose an injury even if it is asymptomatic.

Some of the most commonly delayed symptoms connected to personal injury accidents are:

  • Whiplash symptoms. Whiplash is a common neck injury that describes damage to the soft tissues in the neck, such as the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Neck or shoulder pain, decreased mobility, headaches, and blurred vision are all symptoms of whiplash that may only be noticed later
  • Brain injury symptoms. Brain injuries can be complicated. The damage done in an accident may not be obvious until it is a severe injury, such as until swelling puts pressure on the brain against the inside of the skull and causes noticeable symptoms.
  • Back injury symptoms. Pain, tingling or numbness in the back from a bone fracture or soft-tissue injury may not be noticeable until after the adrenaline from the accident has diminished. 
  • Spinal cord disk injuries. If a spinal cord disk is damaged in an accident, it may not slip or rupture until the next time the victim tries to lift something heavy.
  • Internal injury symptoms. If an accident causes internal damage, such as a ruptured organ, the victim may not notice pain or the signs of internal bleeding until later. These symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, tenderness and blood in urine.
  • Emotional injuries. The emotional toll that a traumatic accident takes on a victim may not show symptoms right away. Instead, they may appear in the days or weeks following, in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, phobias, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Delayed injury symptoms can include pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, personality changes, sensory changes, seizures and loss of consciousness. It is important to be aware of the possibility of delayed symptoms after an accident; do not assume that you are not injured. Instead, go to a hospital immediately and tell the doctor that you have been in an accident. Watch for any physical, emotional or psychological changes that you experience in the days after an accident as potential signs of injury.

Can You Recover Compensation for Delayed Injuries in Colorado?

In Colorado, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim, unless you were injured in a car accident. Car accident cases come with a three-year filing deadline. If you do not discover your injuries immediately after your accident, you still have time to file a claim for financial compensation against one or more defendants. It is important, however, not to answer any questions about your injuries or state that you are not injured to the police or an insurance company until you have seen a doctor.

Go to a hospital right away for an injury diagnosis. You will need an official diagnosis to be eligible for financial compensation, in most cases. Keep an injury journal, where you document how your injury impacts your life and how you feel day-to-day. Then, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance with the claims process. A lawyer can improve your chances of having a valid claim for a delayed or hidden injury after an accident.