| Read Time: 7 minutes | Car Accident

Not all car accident injuries are emergencies, but they are all important to treat as quickly as possible. Broken bones, bleeding cuts, and disorienting concussions are often treated at the scene. An ambulance may be called or a person may be taken to the hospital after a car accident for immediate medical care. 

But what about injuries that become apparent after a car accident? There are many types of injuries that don’t seem so serious at first, especially while you are still shaken by the accident itself, but symptoms appear in the next few hours, days, or weeks after the accident. These symptoms may interrupt your normal life or become pervasive and refuse to go away. While you might be inclined to “walk it off”, there are certain signs that you should go to the hospital after a car accident for immediate and professional medical assistance.

What are Some Common Signs You Should Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, immediate hospital visit is essential if you notice headaches, numbness, pain (abdominal, back, neck), bruises, behavioral or vision changes, dizziness, nausea, breathing difficulties, or signs of fractures and wounds. These symptoms could signal serious issues like concussions, internal bleeding, or spinal injuries, requiring prompt attention.

If it turns out that you are more injured by the accident than you realized, the car accident lawyers of Hutzler Lawcan help you file an injury claim and seek a fair settlement to cover your medical costs.

How Can a Lawyer Help If You Discover You Are Injured After an Arizona Car Accident?

It is important to know when to go to the hospital after a car accident, even if it is a few days, weeks, or even months after the incident. However, injuries that are realized after the day of the accident are also harder to seek insurance coverage for. You will need documented evidence pointing to the injury, symptoms, and the car accident itself to see a fair medical settlement.

Fortunately, you don’t have to face this situation alone. It can be worrying to discover an injury that wasn’t initially evident, and frustrating if the insurance company makes you jump through hoops to file a claim. Having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can make the difference. The Hutzler Law team can help you prove that your symptoms are related to the accident and seek your rightful compensation to ensure your medical bills are paid.  Call us at 602-730-4530 or reach out online to book a consultation.

Not All Car Accident Injuries Appear on the First Day

One of the most critical things to understand is that not all car accident injuries are noticeable on the day of the accident. Some injuries are serious and require immediat attention. However, internal injuries to the spine, joints, skull, or soft-tissue don’t always have outward signs and you mignt not notice them right away.

However, these injuries can still be serious and long-lasting and may get worse over time instead of better. That is why it is important to watch for certain symptoms and signs you should go to the hospital after a car accident.

Types of Hidden Car Accident Injuries

  • Concussion and Brain Injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Back and Spinal Injuries
  • Joint Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Internal and Organ Injuries

Signs You Should Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident

Injuries that go unnoticed on the day of the accident still need to be treated. It is vital that anyone who has been in a car accident keep an eye on themselves and others who were in the accident for signs of further injury that was not immediately apparent. These signs can surface in the days, weeks, and months after the crash, often as unexplained “minor” symptoms that just don’t go away, which is a strong indication of a root cause and not just a passing pain.

When these symptoms arise, seeing a doctor is a must. Whether you go to a hospital or your personal physician is your choice, but you should have these symptoms investigated, treated, and documented. Both for the sake of your health and in case you will need to make an injury claim as part of the accident insurance settlement.

There are three types of symptoms to watch out for after a car accident: Signs of brain injury, signs of body injuries, and signs of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Signs of Concussion or Brain Damage

Concussion and traumatic brain damage occur when your head takes a hit or is badly shaken during an accident. You might not even have noticed your head hitting the car door or the dash. You might or might not have a bump after the accident. But if you experience the following symptoms, get yourself checked out, including scans to identify swelling and other signs of traumatic brain injury.

Headache that Doesn’t Go Away

Headaches are a normal part of life, but headaches that linger and keep coming back are signs of a deeper problem. If you have a headache that won’t go away after several days and you have been in a car accident within the last month or two, go to the doctor or the hospital. Explain where the headache feels like it is located and any symptoms like nausea or light sensitivity that might come with the headache.


Fatigue is normal after a traumatic experience. But fatigue that lasts more than a couple of days goes beyond recovering from a stressful event. If you can’t get your energy under control and you are constantly tired or unfocused, this might be a sign of brain injury.

Dizziness and Loss of Balance

Dizziness and loss of equilibrium are two symptoms that should always get your attention. If you begin to regularly experience dizziness, vertigo, or unbalance, seek medical care immediately, as this could be damage to your brain or your inner ear which provides the balance signals you need to live safely.


Nausea is a common symptom of concussion and brain injury. If your stomach will not settle and especially if you throw up repeatedly without signs of a flu or other explainable illness, go to the doctor.

Signs of Musculo-Skeletal or Soft Tissue Damage

Car accidents exert a sudden and violent force on the entire body. Collisions force your body, which was going quickly in one direction, to suddenly stop or go in a different direction. This causes wrenching, strains, sprains, and even organ damage. The pull of the seatbelt on your shoulder, the sudden change in motion, and undetected bumps against the car structure can all cause body damage to your muscles, tendons, bones, internal organs, spinal disks, and even your circulatory system.

However, it can be hard to distinguish what symptoms relate to specific injuries until you go to the doctor and get checked out. Therefore, all symptoms of body pain and limitation after an accident should be considered with extreme care and treated immediately.

Pain that Doesn’t Go Away

After an accident, you may expect a few aches and pains that heal quickly. But if a pain does not go away, it may be a sign of deeper and more serious injury. Whether the pain is in your neck, back, shoulder, hip, knee, or even in your abdomen, seek a doctor’s advice and tell them about the car accident.

Mobility Limited by Pain or Stiffness

Sudden limited mobility is a big red flag. If you are stiff or cannot fully use a limb without pain or a feeling of limitation, this can indicate musculo-skeletal damage that may need to be treated with physical therapy and more.

Unexplained Swelling of Joints or Abdomen

Swelling is a sign of soft tissue damage. Sprains and strains are normal after a car accident, but you may also have badly torn tissue that takes some time to show it’s damage by swelling and becoming tender. You should get medical treatment to address the problem and get on the road to recovery.

Swelling in your abdomen, however, can be a sign of internal organ damage. Immediately visit a doctor, as organ damage can very quickly become life-threatening.

Lingering Neck or Back Pain

Neck, back, and shoulder pain are all common signs of injury from a car accident, and it is impossible to tell on your own whether this is a minor strain or something life-changingly severe like a herniated disc. If the pain does not subside in a few days, see a doctor and explain both the accident and the pain.

Sudden and Accute Back Pain

Sudden back pain is another big red flag. If you thought you were fine after a car accident and feel sudden intense pain in your back, this may be a sign of a spinal injury that should be treated immediately before further damage occurs.

Inability to Grip, Lift, or Support Weight with a Limb

If you lose the full use of a limb such as the inability to grip, lift with an arm, or support weight with a leg, go directly to the doctor. This may be a simple sprain, or it could be serious musculo-skeletal damage.

Signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Lastly, watch for signs of PTSD in yourself and others who have been in a recent car accident. Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychological medical condition after a car crash, whether the crash was major or minor. The crash itself can be traumatic and some people do not recover easily from the violent experience of a collision. 

PTSD shoud be identified and treatment begun immediately to help you or another person recover from the often life-interrupting symptoms that can develop.

  • Insomnia or Excessive Sleep
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Re-Experiencing Trauma
  • Avoidance
  • Easily Startled
  • Self-Isolation
  • Unexplained Anger and Mood Swings
  • Difficulty Concentration
  • Emotional Numbness or Depression

Adding Newly Discovered Injuries to Your Car Accident Insurance Claim

When you discover additional injuries after a car accident, you have two important priorities to pursue. The first is to see a doctor and get on the road to recovery. But medical bills are also real issue. Therefore, your second priority is to add your new injuries to the insurance claim related to the crash.

While insurance companies may resist or try to diminish your injuries because they were not immediately evident, hidden and late-surfacing injuries are very common after a car accident. 

The experienced car accident attorneys of Hutzler Law can help you  fight for your rightful medical coverage in the car accident insurance settlement if you discover additional injuries in the days, weeks, and months after your accident. Our Top-Rated Phoenix car accident lawyers at Hutzler Law help victims of accidents and injuries recover and get the compensation they deserve.

To book a consultation, contact us at 602-730-4530 or reach out through our online form.

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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