| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident

Due to the speed and force involved in many car accidents, it is unsurprising that an estimated 43% of car accidents result in injuries. Yet, in the aftermath of a car accident, you may be surprised that you are able to walk away without feeling any pain. Unfortunately, this does not mean that you are out of the woods, as certain injuries like back pain may not present themselves until days or weeks after the accident. This is why it is always recommended that you seek medical attention after an accident, as delayed back injuries such as herniated discs, spinal fractures, and severe whiplash are common and can leave you with lifelong injuries after what you thought was a minor accident.

What is delayed back pain after a car accident?

Delayed back pain after a car accident often occurs because adrenaline masks initial pain, and injuries like minor fractures or tissue inflammation develop symptoms later. You should monitor for pain after an accident, as symptoms might not appear immediately.

Why Do People Experience Delayed Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Each person’s body responds differently to trauma, and while some people may experience back pain immediately after an accident, others may not notice symptoms for hours, days, or even weeks. Back pain may be delayed after a car accident because your body’s fight-or-flight response kicks in, causing adrenaline and endorphins to surge through your body. The resulting energy rush can mask pain, causing symptoms to be delayed. 

This is why it is so important that car accident victims seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. While adrenaline can protect you after an accident by masking pain, this sensation can also mislead you into thinking that you are fine, delaying critical treatment, which could lead to long-term damage. A medical professional can run tests following an accident to determine whether you have any hidden injuries that have not caused symptoms yet.

Of course, even if you seek medical treatment following a car crash, you could still experience delayed back pain in the days or weeks following the accident. If you experience delayed back pain after a car accident in Arizona, reach out to the car accident attorneys at Hutzler Law at 602-730-4530. We can go over your rights and what you can do to increase your odds of recovering compensation for your damages even if your symptoms are delayed.

Why Spinal Injuries Are So Common 

If you experience back pain after a car accident, whether immediate or delayed, you may find yourself wondering how the injury occurred. Back pain is actually one of the most common symptoms people experience after an accident, as the spine often bears the full brunt of the accident, particularly if you are rear-ended.

The spine is commonly affected by car accidents because the body continues forward after the sudden stopping force of a vehicle hitting something else. The fact is that the spine is an intricate and delicate part of the body, and the forces involved in a car accident can cause serious complications. Back and neck pain are then the most commonly reported symptoms after a car accident, and for most people, the pain will go away in a few days. However, in some cases, more serious back injuries can occur that can require long-term treatment or even surgery.

Types of Back Injuries That Can Have Delayed-Onset of Symptoms

Even if you walk away from a car accident seemingly feeling fine, you may start to experience delayed back pain once the adrenaline and endorphins subside. While back pain may be minor and subside on its own after a couple of days, it could also indicate a more serious injury that will require medical attention. Some of the most common back injuries people experience after a car accident that can have delayed symptom onset include: 


Perhaps the most common injury sustained in car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is caused by the violent back-and-forth movement of the head and neck that occurs when one vehicle collides with another, and it can cause symptoms including pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Whiplash symptoms usually don’t set in for a day or two, but it is important that you get medical treatment as soon as these symptoms appear to ensure that you don’t have a more serious injury.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is a painful condition in which one or more of the rubbery discs between the vertebrae in your spine bulge out or become ruptured. Herniated discs are also known as slipped discs, and they are a severe condition that often must be resolved with surgery. While symptoms of herniated discs usually don’t appear for a few days, they require immediate medical treatment to prevent further complications.

Pinched Nerves

If you have back pain as well as tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in the limbs, this could be a sign that you have a pinched nerve in your back. A pinched nerve is often the result of a herniated disc in your back that pinches or presses up against nerves in the spine. While pinched nerves are common following a car accident, symptoms usually do not appear right away.

Vertebrae Fractures

A vertebrae fracture occurs when one of the small bones in your vertebrae is cracked or becomes displaced from its place in your spine. This can occur due to the sudden change in pressure on the spine that the force of a car accident can cause. If you experience back pain after an accident, your doctor may order diagnostic tests such as an X-ray to see whether you may have a fractured vertebra. 

Several conditions can cause delayed back pain after a car accident ranging from moderate to severe. This makes it critical that you seek immediate medical attention if you experience back pain after an accident so your doctor can run tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. 

Can You Get Compensation For Delayed Back Injuries?

If you or a loved one suffered a back injury in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you may be able to hold the at-fault driver accountable as you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Yet, what if your back pain was delayed?

In principle, the timing of your symptoms shouldn’t affect your compensation following a car accident. However, the reality is that delayed symptoms can make it harder to file a personal injury claim. This is because the more time that passes between the accident and the onset of symptoms, the easier it is for the negligent driver’s insurance company to argue that your symptoms are unrelated to the accident. 

This is why it is so critical that you speak with an experienced car accident attorney if you experience delayed back pain after a car accident. An attorney can look out for your rights and give you the best chances of securing compensation for your injuries. They will gather evidence to prove your case, and they will work with the insurance companies to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. If necessary, they will even file a lawsuit to ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries.

How Long Do You Have to File a Back Injury Claim in Arizona?

If you experience delayed back pain following a car accident, it is essential that you start the process of filing a personal injury claim as soon as possible, as you have a limited amount of time to start this process. How long you have to file a claim following a car accident depends on where you live. In Arizona, the statute of limitations is two years following the date of the accident. However, filing a personal injury claim takes time and involves many steps, which is why you will want to start this process as soon as your symptoms appear. You don’t want to risk running out of time and losing out on the chance to secure compensation for your losses. 

Protect Your Rights By Consulting a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

No matter when your back pain appears, it is crucial that you consult a car accident lawyer if you were injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and you get the full compensation you deserve. The fact is that you should never negotiate with the insurance companies or accept a settlement without first getting legal advice, as you may be pressured to accept a settlement that does not account for all of your losses. 

At Hutzler Law, we know how overwhelming the process of filing a back injury claim can be following a car accident, particularly if your symptoms were delayed. As a top-rated Phoenix personal injury law firm, we can look out for your best interests and help build a case to give you the best chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Contact us today online or by calling 602-730-4530 to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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