In the days and weeks after a car accident, you may feel sore. Bruises can take time to appear. These symptoms will usually fade with time. However, other symptoms could be signs that you experienced more serious injuries.

Abdominal pain

Severe abdominal pain and large, persistent bruises that appear hours or days after an accident could be a sign of internal bleeding. Internal bleeding could be life-threatening, and these conditions often require emergency medical care.

Back pain

Just as abdominal pain can be a symptom of internal bleeding, back pain—especially lower back pain—can be a sign of damage to the spinal column.


Numbness in your arms or hands can be a sign that you have spine or nerve damage from an injury like whiplash, an injury associated with about 20% of rear-end collisions.


Headaches can be caused by a wide variety of medical conditions, including some severe injuries after a car accident. These include whiplash, injuries to the head and traumatic brain injuries.

Changes in personality or impaired thinking

Car crashes impact most victims emotionally, but significant changes in personality and other cognitive challenges could be a sign of traumatic brain injury. You could also experience memory loss, difficulty sleeping, challenges with your speech and disorientation.

Because many severe injuries can have delayed symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Not only does this give you the chance to have your injuries treated immediately, it also provides documentation that links your medical needs to the crash. This can be important evidence that supports your injury claim and helps you get the medical and financial support you need.