How Long Can it Take for Whiplash Symptoms to Appear After an Accident?

The signs and symptoms of whiplash may take some time to show themselves, at times a day or more. So it’s important not to rush into signing any sort of release of liability forms.

More than 1,000,000 whiplash injuries occur each year due to car accidents. However, this is just an estimate because many whiplash cases go unreported. This is often due to the fact that the symptoms of whiplash can be delayed by 24 hours or more. The victims that experience these delayed symptoms may never end up seeking medical attention for their injuries. In addition, they may not get enough of a settlement to pay for their medical expenses.

Understanding Whiplash

The term “whiplash” is a generic one that encompasses several types of neck injury. Specifically, neck sprains and strains are very common, but they can be characterized by a number of different symptoms. Just our neck has numerous parts and components, including the discs, the vertebrae making up the cervical spine, spinal cord, nerve roots, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Any one of the parts can be injured by trauma.

Whiplash injuries occur when the head is jerked (whipped) backwards and forwards, or side-to-side. The most common cause of whiplash injuries is vehicle accidents, but they can certainly occur in other situations too. We have seen whiplash injuries from horseback riding accidents, boating accidents, and even falls. Victims of a car accident should always seek medical evaluation, even if the accident seems very minor. Typically, when a collision occurs, the adrenaline rush that results masks pain ( it’s our body’s natural pain-killer, released during a parasympathetic nervous system response) and may make it so that injured victims do not become aware of their injuries until much later. A delay of medical care can potentially delay detection and treatment of injuries, and may impact your case.

Symptoms Associated with Whiplash

No two whiplash claims are the same. A lot depends upon the degree of the trauma or injury. It’s possible to have only minor symptoms, while others may have severe injuries and that may take a lot of time to recover. Some symptoms may be felt right away, while others may take a couple of days to show up. If a person has experienced whiplash, they may develop one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Pain between the shoulder blades
    • Dizziness
    • Problems sleeping
    • Fatigue or irritability
    • Neck pain and stiffness
    • Headaches
    • Shoulder pain
    • Low back pain

When Delayed Symptoms Occur

On top of the negative health ramifications that can occur from delayed evaluation and treatment, there is also the insurance factor to consider. Many people end up paying out-of-pocket for their medical expenses when accident-related injuries, like delayed whiplash, don’t show up right away. This is even more true if a person settles with the insurance company right away.

Therefore, it is wise not to be in a hurry to sign any kind of release of liability forms. Instead, there needs to be time allowed to see if any delayed symptoms reveal themselves. This is why seeking appropriate medical attention right after being in an accident is such a good idea. Not only does this help from an insurance aspect, but a person will have an improved chance of a more complete and rapid recovery.

Read Five Things You Must Do After an Accident here.

Why Hire the Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley?

Our sole focus is on helping the victims of car accidents receive full and fair compensation. We never rush to settle your case for less than its full value. We do not hesitate to take cases to court when insurers won’t treat you fairly.

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before you speak with a lawyer. Call us at (916) 457-5022 or fill out our online contact form to request a Free Consultation.