When a serious car accident happens, it can be obvious when to call for emergency medical services but in smaller collisions where neither party appears to be injured on the surface, an ambulance is usually not called. Just because you do not immediately feel hurt doesn’t mean that the car accident did not do damage to your body. Many times, a few days after the accident, those involved may begin to notice some symptoms.

It is important to not ignore these delayed symptoms and seek medical attention – and within a specific timeframe. In the State of Florida, those involved in a car accident (including passengers) have up to 14 days from the date of the accident to receive medical care for injuries sustained in the car accident. This time frame is allotted so that car insurance companies are not responsible for medical costs not related to the car accident.

Some of the symptoms that may appear a few days after the accident may seem like unrelated occurrences like back pain or headaches, but these aches and pains can be signs of serious underlying issues.

Headaches

Headaches can be an indication that you are suffering from a concussion as a result of the car accident. Other types of brain injuries, neck injuries, whiplash, or even a blood clot all list headaches as one of the leading symptoms. Car accidents can easily cause these injuries and sometimes they can be life threatening if they go untreated. If you do not frequently suffer from headaches and suddenly begin to get them after the accident, or your headaches are getting more severe as time passes, then make an immediate appointment with your physician or take yourself to an urgent care clinic if your regular physician is all booked up. Be sure to let them know that you were in a car accident so they can correlate your injuries to the event.

Back/Neck Pain

Having pain in your back or neck is one of the most common symptoms reported after a car accident and it is the most diverse symptom. Many types of injuries list back or neck pain as a symptom like whiplash, herniated (slipped)g disc, pinched nerve, or more severe spinal cord damage/injury. You may have sustained injury to your spine, muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Also, injury to an individual vertebra can commonly reveal itself through back pain. In order to know for sure what the extent of your injuries are, x-rays or even MRI or CT scanning may be necessary if the injuries are not revealed in the x-ray.

Abdominal Pain/Abdominal Swelling or Bloating

Swelling or bloating in the abdominal region can indicate internal injuries. This swelling may be accompanied by pain or cramping. Internal injuries commonly cause internal bleeding which is a life-threatening issue. Any abdominal swelling, with or without pain should be checked immediately by medical personnel.

Change in Physical Functionality, Emotional Destress, or Personality Changes

Traumatic brain injuries can present themselves minutes, hours, or even days after a significant injury, like those sustained in a car crash. Loss of physical functionality, such as grip or the ability to pick something up that you normally could, or personality changes, like sudden onset of aggression, being more withdrawn than usual or even being more outgoing than usual, can all be signs of substantial injury to the brain. Personality changes can also be an indicator of other mental concerns, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an extreme form of emotional distress in which a person continuously suffers emotionally and mentally from the stress of the accident. Many people may disregard or downplay the symptoms of PTSD because of the social stigma attached to seeking professional help. Do not let what others may think prevent you from getting the help that you need.

If you wait too long to get the help that you need, whether for physical, emotional, or mental consequences of the crash, then the treatment that you need may become your responsibility. Florida is considered a “no-fault” state, meaning that no matter who was at fault, your car insurance (or insurance of the driver if you were the passenger) is responsible for covering medical costs related to the accident. The catch is, that you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the car accident.