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Car accidents are whirlwinds of activity and emotions, and the result is often psychological and physical trauma. 

Many people have an impression from TV and movies that they will come out of a car crash ragged and bloodied. Yet while this may happen occasionally, the reality is that a victim is more likely to feel more or less alright for a day or so. Then, the real injuries will start to surface.

This is why it’s crucial to get medical treatment right away after a car crash, even if you don’t feel injured, or feel like your injuries are only minor and don’t require medical attention. In this blog, we’ll talk about why it’s not uncommon to be relatively pain-free for a day or two following the collision,, and why delayed-onset injuries can catch you by surprise. Then, we’ll look at why working with a leading Ohio personal injury firm like Cooper Elliott is the best way to maximize your potential recovery.

The Immediate Aftermath of an Auto Collision

Immediately after a crash, with few exceptions, you’re likely going to be relatively numb to any pain or injuries you may have sustained in the actual crash. 

This is because your body is still in the middle of an adrenaline rush, which not only blocks out a lot of the pain, but can also make you think you don’t need medical attention, which is nearly always incorrect. 

In addition to adrenaline, you may also have some localized swelling, which will be uncomfortable or sometimes painful, but will also prevent other symptoms from setting in. This can mask much more serious injuries than bumps and bruises.

Delayed-Onset Car Crash Injuries

The reason that you may not feel any significant pain for a few days (sometimes even up to 5 days) after an auto collision is that many of the injuries you sustained will likely be delayed-onset injuries. These are injuries that can be just as painful as lacerations and abrasions, and in some cases, even more so. Some of the most common delayed-onset car accident injuries include:

  • Back Injuries

Back injuries include just about any injury  to the back during a collision. Some examples are sprained, pulled, and torn muscles, ligament or tendon damage, and slipped or herniated discs. The symptoms will depend on the specific injury, but many back injuries don’t become painful for several days.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussions are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury (TBI) to occur in car accidents. A concussion occurs when the head is subjected to a sharp blow, which causes the brain to either shake around or twist inside the skull from the force. Common symptoms are headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, and memory issues, but they often take hours to days to manifest.  TBIs can also occur, however, even where there was no impact to the head. And TBIs can sometimes takes months, even up to a year, to fully develop. 

  • Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury that occurs when the head makes a sharp back-and-forth motion, similar to a whip. This causes incredible strain on the muscles and nerves in the head, neck, and shoulders, which can cause severe pain. The symptoms often don’t show up for several days, though.

Should I Seek Medical Help After a Car Accident?


Even if you don’t believe you have any injuries immediately after your accident, it’s still vital to seek medical attention.

Not only can visiting a doctor or medical professional help ensure you are on the road to recovery, but it’s also important to have proof of initial medical visits later on when making your personal injury claim with your car accident attorney.

Cooper Elliott Can Help You Build the Strongest Claim Possible for Your Injuries

Even if you didn’t get medical treatment immediately after the accident, but felt pain several days later, seek medical treatment.  A medical professional may still be able to verify that the injuries occurred within a certain period, and may be able to explain worsening symptoms if you delayed treatment. 
The other thing you should do right away after a crash is contact an experienced personal injury firm like Cooper Elliott that can help you recover the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. Reach out today for a free consultation.