top of page
Emblem For Sneed|Mitchell - The Injury Team







How Long After a Texas Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

After experiencing a car accident in Texas, a person sometimes does not exhibit symptoms until weeks or even months after the accident.

Car accident victims in Texas are often left dealing to serious injuries. The only thing worse than hearing from an emergency room doctor that you are suffering from a life-altering injury, is never being informed at all. This happens often in Texas as people walk away from the scene of the accident - whether it a standard passenger accident, or involved a truck, Uber or Lyft, bus, pedestrian, or bicycle - seemingly unharmed and feeling fine.

Delayed injuries, often called “delayed onset injuries”, are extremely dangerous and often considered a “silent killer”. This is because a few possibly fatal complications – such as internal bleeding, concussions, displaced fracture, and organ damage – are sometimes not detected by the sensory receptors in our skin, so the warnings of pain and damage are never sent to our spinal cord and then relayed our brain. In these situations, it something takes an extended time for additional symptoms to arise, which often means that a person’s complications have greatly increased since the time of the accident.

In most cases however, a person is able to determine the extent of their injuries three days after being in an auto accident, which is generally the time is take form the adrenaline rush caused by the experience to subside. The National Institute of Disorders and Stroke affirmed this finding and added the three-day window of adrenaline and endorphins is even applicable to whiplash injuries, which is the most common kind of injury associated with car accidents.

If you were hit and injured in a car accident but are just now feeling pain — now what? In this article our legal professionals will let you know how to protect your health and legal rights from this point forward, along with important symptoms to look out for and how an attorney can assist you in still obtaining compensation.

delayed onset injury car accident

What are the most common delayed-onset injuries after a car accident?

There are a several kinds of delayed-onset injuries or symptoms you may experience after a car accident. Some of the most common delayed injuries include the following;

Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries

The symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury are undeniable and immediate, triggering bodily impairments such as paralysis, dizziness, blurred vision, and unconsciousness. You would feel debilitated if your head injury was of this category. However, if your concussion only mild, you won't have such physical impairments, and sometimes symptoms won't arise until weeks or months later. Persons in this mild or moderate concussion category might only experience a headache the day of a car crash and try to shake it off thinking it’s due to their neck or back stiffness.

Another factor that makes difficult to pinpoint is that symptoms such as memory problems, loss of appetite, or slow reactions are really hard for a victim to detect themselves and can go unnoticed until another person makes you more aware of their cognitive changes. This means that even in situations where impairment manifest at the scene of a car accident, you might be delayed in noticing the head injury.

Shoulder or Rotator Cuff Pain

People hurt in car crashes often don't feel their shoulder pain until weeks after the crash. This is largely because pain stemming from the shoulder is often masked be more noticeable, and sometimes related, discomfort to a person's neck and or back. In many cases, clients suffering from torn labrums, humerus fractures, or even shoulder dislocations leave the emergency room with mentioning their shoulder. After stiffness in the neck or back lessens, many people then start to feel the discomfort in their shoulder.

Victims of shoulder injuries are also late to detect sensations because one of the main symptoms of rotator cuff injury is difficulty reaching upwards – such as to come your hair or reach behind your back – people often go months before noticing pain and a more limited range of motion. After an accident, it is important to engage in a normal stretching routine to make sure you’re free from injuries. Rotator cuff injuries often cause chronic pain symptoms when left untreated and can lead to progression degeneration or wear and tear on your ligaments and tendons.


Numbness is a common side effect of various other medical conditions experiencing in an auto accident. Numbness often does not manifest until the swelling at an injury site has dissipated. In even more serious medical situations, numbness is a sign that an underlying condition - such as a bulging spinal disk - is increasing in severity and now putting pressure of a person’s spinal cord. A sliding disc can cause a disabling condition such as paralysis, if it is not addressed. If you feel numbness in an part of the body you should seek immediate care from a medical professional at a nearby general hospital or emergency clinic.

Back Pain

Back pain is an all-too-common condition experienced in an accident. However, like the symptoms mentioned, the symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, or muscle spasms sometimes does not appear immediately. Instead, injuries from minor whiplash to full blown spinal misalignments could be masked by an auto accident victim only noticing muscle stiffness for days following the crash. Additionally, a person suffering a herniated disk may only consider their initial condition to be a sprain, resulting in a person going about their daily activities until more gripping pain is experienced in the future.

Abdominal Pain

Another common delayed onset injury after a car accident is abdominal pain. Often times, this is causes by the seat belt digging into your abdomen during a forceful crash. Delayed abdominal pain often occurs in symptoms of minor bleeding, which is still serious in nature. As time goes on, a person that continues to suffer blood loss could experience circulatory issues and a loss of blood pressure. Additionally, a small or moderate amount of internal blood loss can cause infection, or sepsis, which is life-threatening and can progress to septic shock.


Vertigo is often hard to detect after an accident because this vestibular condition is often included in a cluster of complications, including inflammation in the ears, headaches, and headaches. When a person is suffering from an elevated case of vertigo the room spins, tilts, even when standing still, prompting a person to seek immediate care.

Flashbacks and/or Nightmares

Post-traumatic stress disorder has no timeline, meaning it can arise immediately following a near-death experience, or not develop into a diagnosable disorder until at lead 6 months after a person experiences the event. Sometimes, it takes a victim years to detect the emotional trauma response. In auto accidents that are severe enough to trigger a psychological alteration the person normally experiences other injuries that require quick medical attention.

Organ Failure

Victims may go into organ failure after a car accident as well. Symptoms of organ failure can take at least a month to appear and include silent symptoms such as a low-grade fever, decreased urine output, lightheadedness, or swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles. The Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine claims that organ failure incidents can lead to “late deaths” whenever symptoms aren’t treated.

Damaged Breast Implants

When women strike their chest against a steering wheel column or airbag in a car crash, the blunt force trauma to the chest area can cause breast implants to rupture. When a silicone implant raptures, the gel leak and be incredibly slow. Although the gel is benign and doesn’t cause a health issue when absorbed into the body, the pace of the leak is often hard for the victim to notice until weeks or months afterwards. In some cases, it takes up to a year for a woman to notice the symmetry of the breast has been impacted.

This list of the common types of delayed-onset medical complications after a car accident is not exhaustive. Due to the immense force the human body endures in a serious accident, almost any type of injury has the potential to go undetected in the emergency room and would thereafter be considered delayed. If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, but the symptoms took an extended time to manifest, seek immediate care and consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

I didn’t know I was hurt in the car crash. What should I do next?

The two things you should do after realizing you sustained physical injuries due to your involvement in a car crash is to; 1) seek medical attention; and 2) consult with an attorney.

Seek medical attention

See a doctor the moment you notice any pain or sensations that you believe are attributable or reasonably related to the auto accident, even if you feel the pain will pass, or is only mild.

Seeing a doctor is critical after a car accident, regardless of the severity of it. The hospital physicians can examine you for any injuries that may might be caused by the automobile accident and provide you discharge paperwork that includes additional symptoms to watch for in the coming days.

Seeking medical care also helps you meet the burden of proof. In order to bring a successful civil claim and recover compensation, the claimant (or plaintiff) must prove negligence, which requires proof that defendant’s negligent acts or omissions violated actually caused your resulting injuries and damages.

Consult with an attorney

When delayed-onset injuries are involved, you should seek the professional advice of an attorney experienced at handling cases involving a late onset of pain or symptoms. Do not attempt to handle the bodily injury claim with an insurance adjuster on your own. You also should not sign any paperwork provided to by the insurance company, as it may include waivers of liability. An experienced attorney can represent you to the insurance companies and prove that your injuries were in fact caused by the auto accident. Delayed symptoms are often a sign of a more serious underlying condition. If you’re facing a debilitating medical condition for the foreseeable future, you deserve maximum compensation that accounts for your future medical expenses. Attorneys can help attain compensation for any bills from hospital visits or stays. A legal professional can further aid in securing recompense for any missed wages or missed economic opportunities.

What can happen if you ignored delayed pains?

Ignoring delayed pain can result in a wide range of possibilities. On one end, absolutely nothing may happen if you ignore delayed onsets. In fact, the problem may just go away on its own if it’s a mild ailment such as whiplash. However, on the other hand, an undiagnosed injury could be severe nature and result in complications that could prove fatal, such multiple organ failure, or injuries to the central nervous symptom or cardiovascular symptom. Additionally, delaying medical attention for the onset of symptoms can affect your claim status and your case with the attorney overall.

How long do I have to bring an auto accident claim in Texas?

In Texas, you have a two-year statute of limitation for filing a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for the personal injuries you sustained in an car accident. This means that your bodily injury claim must be either settlement or filed in a court of law within this two-year span. If this doesn’t occur you could lose your legal right to recover money for your losses.

In a car accident, the statute of limitations begins when the person involved knew, or should have known with reasonable diligence, that he or she experienced injury or damages in the wreck. Texas courts are strict on this determination and are usually unwilling to extend, or “equitably toll” in any circumstance. In most cases – including car accidents, trucking accident, pedestrian accident, or motorcycle accidents – victims are aware of their injuries within the first week and seek care. However, as discussed in this article – delayed-onset injuries often result a person not seeking care until months or even years later.

If you did not seek care within the first week of your accident, you should consult with a skilled attorney that handle car accidents without letting another day go by. The lawyer will examine your circumstance and inform you of your recovery options.

Car accident attorney handling delayed injuries

The medical bills that come with delayed onset symptoms from car accidents can pile up fast. If you or someone that you love has started to experience any kind of pain after an auto wreck, you need to seek assistance. You should not have to come out of pocket for damages caused by the unsafe actions of another person, an attorney can aid you in obtaining justice.

Attorney Niles Sneed is a Texas car accident lawyer that handles delayed-onset injury cases throughout the state. Niles understands the medical research supporting late manifestations of symptoms and can aid you in proving that the motor vehicle collisions caused the complications and damages that you're continuing to suffer from.

From our four convenient law offices we litigate cases across Texas. Niles Sneed and his team are annually recognized as some of the best trial lawyers in the nation. Our trial attorneys also receive Top 40 Under 40 distinctions each year. From our Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin office we can help you today!

Your consultation is free and comply confidential. We also handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee model, so we don't pay any upfront costs and we us nothing until we obtain a settlement or award for you. Contact attorney Niles Sneed today by calling us at 866-434-0014, or by filling our an an online meeting request.


Get A Free Case Consultation

Ask To Speak Directly With An Attorney!

Thanks for submitting!

Jordan Still033-Edit- WEB VERSION Chris
Personal Injury Case Manager
Personal Injury Receptionist
Attorney Niles Sneed - Personal Injury Lawyer
Attorney Brit Mitchell - Personal Injury Lawye




Premises Liability Settlement

August 2023


bottom of page