What Are Delayed Accident Symptoms?

Man suffering headache as sign for delayed accident symptoms.

Many of the common injuries from car accidents don’t show up right away. For this reason, after you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision in Colorado, it is extremely urgent that you get medical care as soon as possible. Delaying medical care can lead to even more pain and injury later. Also, if you fail to get early medical treatment, you give the insurance company a strong argument to deny your claim.

At The Sawaya Law Firm, we have a devoted team of experienced legal professionals who are prepared to help you establish the strongest case possible. Our firm has been tirelessly representing injured people throughout the Denver area and all of Colorado since 1977. However, it all starts with you making sure to get appropriate emergency medical care right away.

If you have suffered a serious injury in a car accident and want to know more information, contact us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys today.

Common Delayed Accident Symptoms

Many serious and even catastrophic injuries have symptoms that show up days or weeks after the accident. Common examples of these symptoms are:

  • Headaches – A headache can be a sign of whiplash, concussion or even a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, in many cases the headaches don’t start right away.
  • Dizziness – Vertigo is the medical term for dizziness. In some cases, a person may not notice it until long after a crash. One common form is known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). With vertigo, you are more at risk for falling or having an accident. You should make sure to seek medical attention before operating equipment or trying to drive again. Here are some other symptoms to watch for:
    • Feeling like you are spinning
    • Lack of balance
    • Unsteady sensation
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting.
  • Neck and shoulder pain – Many accident victims comment on how they declined medical care initially, thinking they were OK. However, they then begin to suffer unbearable and agonizing pain in their neck and shoulders. These symptoms can take weeks to manifest. By then, you may have lost some of the benefits of early treatment. Here are some common injuries that may be indicated by neck and shoulder pain:
    • Rotator cuff injuries
    • Cracked / fractured clavicle
    • Torn muscles and ligaments
    • Bulging cervical discs.
  • Abdominal pain – This can be a tricky symptom internal bleeding from trauma caused by a seat belt. In some cases, injury victims may notice stomach pain long after a crash, only to discover they have internal organ damage or even neurological complications from a head trauma.
  • Back pain – Sometimes the initial shock of the accident can make a person feel numb or disconnected for a while. This feeling can mask underlying complications such as spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries, hernias, disc injuries and many other types of back injuries.
  • Numbness and tingling – A lack of sensation in your extremities, especially hands or feet, can be a serious problem. Even though it could be nothing more than some minor nerve pain, it could also signal a spinal cord injury.
  • Emotional distress – If you begin to feel fearful, disconnected, isolated, or withdrawn after an accident, these could be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. You should not overlook these powerful signs of a psychological injury as they can be just as real as a physical injury.

Other Reasons for Seeking Immediate Medical Attention

In addition to the obvious reasons for seeking quality medical care after an accident, there are other benefits as well. For instance, if you wait too long to get care, it sends a message to the insurance company that perhaps you were not really injured as badly as you claim. Further, if you wait long enough, the insurance company will likely argue that something else must have caused the injuries between the accident and when you sought medical attention.

While these arguments may be unfair and wrong, you can bet the insurance company will use every trick it can to diminish your injuries. If your case goes before a jury, you will have a much better chance of arguing that the accident caused your injuries if you sought immediate medical care, and your injuries were diagnosed within hours of your accident.

What You Should Do After a Colorado Car Accident

In addition to getting medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident in Colorado, you should take these steps:

  • Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations to the letter.
  • Make all your follow up medical appointments.
  • Take photos of all injuries and damages if possible.
  • Keep copies of any paperwork you receive.
  • Do not speak with the insurance company.
  • Get a copy of the crash report from the police department that responded to your accident.
  • Call an experienced auto accident lawyer who can begin the process of protecting your rights and helping you to pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Get Help from a Colorado Accident and Injury Attorney Today

In Colorado, you only have a short time to bring a lawsuit against the person or company responsible for your injuries in a car accident. If you wait too long to get legal help, you run the risk of forever losing your right to recover compensation.

At The Sawaya Law Firm, we apply 12 core values to everything we do. It is our goal to continue our long heritage of justice for the clients and communities we serve. We never charge our clients a consultation fee, and we only charge costs and attorney fees if we are able to recover compensation for our clients.

We have four offices conveniently located throughout the Denver area, including an office in Colorado Springs. With someone available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can count on The Sawaya Law Firm to be there when you need us. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and options.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.