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John Bruscato Nov. 20, 2020

If you've been in a car crash, there's a chance you may have suffered an injury—without yet realizing it.

Sure, accident victims who experience common injuries like broken bones, lacerations, scrapes, bruises, or even severe catastrophic injuries will very obviously have physical symptoms of their injuries.

But people can experience physical trauma differently in their bodies. No two people are alike, and no two car crashes are the same. The physical trauma of a car crash may be delayed in some cases.

Even if you walk away from a collision seemingly unharmed—without as much as a scratch—it's essential to seek medical attention to be safe. 

The reality is, symptoms of serious injuries often don't manifest for hours, days, or longer. 

How Long is it Normal to Feel Pain and Soreness?

There's a difference between "normal" pain or pain that will likely go away on its own and pain that requires medical attention. 

There is no "normal" length of time to feel pain and soreness in my professional opinion. I say this for two reasons:

The first reason—without a proper medical evaluation, it's hard to say with confidence whether you've suffered a serious injury or not. If, after seeking medical attention, it turns out you've only suffered minor scrapes and bruises, then it may be normal to feel some pain and soreness while the body recovers on its own.

The second reason—if you were the victim of such an accident, then you'll want documented proof of the extent of your damages and injuries when filing your insurance claim. Insurance companies will try to claim that your injuries happened after the accident, not caused by the accident. A doctor's medical evaluation will be used as proof when making your case for compensation. 

7 Auto Accident Symptoms Not to Ignore

As I mentioned, delayed symptoms like soft tissue injuries or bruising may not present themselves right away.

Here are some common symptoms you might experience if you've been involved in a car accident.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms you might experience after a car accident. 

Say you've been in a rear-end collision, sideswipe, or another type of car crash. The impact of the negligent driver's car colliding with yours will jostle your body around quite a bit. 

Whiplash is a very common injury after an accident. When another car makes an impact with your vehicle, your head may whip back and forth rapidly. This unnatural movement in your head and neck can lead to sprains, neck injuries, and even spinal cord injuries in some cases. 

Even if your seatbelt is fastened, your neck is vulnerable in a car crash. 

If you're experiencing neck pain hours or days after an accident, seek medical attention. 

Back and shoulder pain

Back and shoulder injuries are among the most common types of car crash injuries I see at my personal injury law firm. 

Back pain that persists after a car accident can very likely be a symptom of a herniated disc, spinal cord injuries, whiplash, or sprain. Back pain might be caused by damage to your muscles, your spinal cord, ligaments, or nerves.

As you can imagine, back injuries can be life-changing. If you sense that your back may be injured, and isn't some harmless pain and soreness, seek medical attention. The worst thing to do is wait too long to find out you have an injury that requires medical treatment. You want to get a full medical evaluation to find out. That way, your damages, and injuries will be factored into your insurance claim to help get you the compensation you need to pay for any lingering medical bills or treatment plans. 

As an experienced Monroe car accident attorney, I will help fight for maximum compensation for your car accident injury. 

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is tricky. Not only are the symptoms hidden, but the range of potential injuries is vast. 

After a car crash, abdominal pain might just be bruising from your seatbelt that has yet to show symptoms. It might also be internal bleeding, stomach upset, or any number of things. 

If you have severe pain in your abdominal region, then seek medical treatment immediately.

Memory Loss or Lack of Concentration

Car accidents can cause lasting psychological damage to victims. Indeed, a car crash is a stressful and often traumatic event. Memory loss or lack of concentration after an accident may also be caused by a number of head injuries. Cognitive deficits following an auto collision can be caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI). The sooner you seek medical attention, the sooner you can get to the root of the issue—and begin the recovery process. 

Emotional Distress

As I mentioned, car collisions are frequently traumatic, stressful events. It is only natural that you experience some emotional distress. 

If you are experiencing delayed symptoms that interfere with your life or well-being, seek medical help to determine if something more serious is going on. 

It is not uncommon for accident victims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And in some cases, personality changes may even manifest. 

See a doctor if you are suffering from emotional distress. Then contact Bruscato Law firm in Monroe, Louisiana, for a free case evaluation. I'm waiting on the line to help you claim the compensation you deserve for your car accident injury. 

Tingling or numbness

If you've ever crossed your legs for too long, then you know that numb, tingling sensation. Some call it "pins and needles."

After a car crash, the sensation of tingling or numbness can indicate a pinched nerve or a herniated disc. 

Persistent Headache or Nausea

There are many reasons you might experience delayed symptoms like a persistent headache and nausea after a car crash. It might be a concussion, a blood clot, or even a traumatic brain injury. 

Head injuries can be a serious matter. Even if you think your headache is no big deal, it could be symptomatic of something much more sinister. 

If you or a loved one has been in a car crash and is currently experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention right away to rule out the possibility of serious injuries.

What Types of Injuries Get Worse over Time if Untreated?

By this point, I hope you realize the potential for serious injury even if you aren't experiencing symptoms. 

The fact that you were in a car accident should be reason alone to seek medical attention, if for no other reason than to rule out the possibility of injury. 

Some injuries often have delayed-onset symptoms or get worse over time if untreated. Here are some of those potentially life-threatening injuries:

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding can go unnoticed indefinitely. That's because you may not even be aware it's happening. Inexplicable bruising and abdominal pain are just two potential symptoms of internal bleeding. 

Left untreated, internal bleeding can be a very serious, if not a life-threatening injury.

Blood Clot

Similarly, blood clots can prove equally dangerous. Blood clots can occur anywhere in the body. In most serious conditions, blood clots can impair blood flow to the heart or the brain, leading to chest pain, stiffness, or brain damage.


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury resulting in a violent jostling of the brain inside the skull. Concussions can cause life-threatening damage from swelling or bleeding. A concussion can also cause long-term effects like personality disorders or changes, fatigue, memory loss, or vision impairment. 

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are among the most significant injuries from a car crash. Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis, loss of sensitivity, pain, loss of movement, disability, and more. 

If you suspect you have suffered a spinal cord injury, seek medical attention right away. After you're done so, contact Bruscato Law Firm to discuss your rights to fair compensation. 

Can You Still Get Compensation for Your Injuries If Your Pain Was Delayed?

Yes, but don't wait to file your claim.

The Louisiana statute of limitations is one year after the date of the accident. That means you must file your insurance claim within 365 days. 

Remember, a car crash has the potential to cause long-term chronic pain or injury, even years after the auto accident first occurred. That's why it is in your best interest to seek medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident. 

A doctor can help determine whether you have life-threatening or severe injuries. The extent of your injuries, as documented in a formal medical evaluation report, will be taken into careful consideration when making your injury claim. As a car accident attorney, let me tell you, the information in your medical evaluation may be the single most crucial piece of evidence for maximizing the value of an injury claim or settlement offer. 

Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?

You can, however, pain and suffering damages are hard to prove in the state of Louisiana. 

As I mentioned earlier, the statute of limitations in Louisiana is one year—one of the shortest time limits in the United States for filing a personal injury claim. 

Pain and suffering damages are classified as non-economic damages, and local tort claims allow for the recovery of these claims. 

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help 

If you've been in a car crash, it's completely understandable to want to carry on with your life as if nothing happened at all. But suppose you are dealing with delayed pain or soreness. In that case, you may be eligible to file an injury claim to seek compensation for your damages. 

A personal injury attorney can help you fight the insurance company and explore the best options to help you make a swift recovery. 

Contact Bruscato Law firm today and schedule a free consultation. Bruscato has nearly a decade's worth of experience serving Monroe car accident victims and surrounding areas in Louisiana.