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Tampa Auto Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car accident > Why Whiplash Pain is Often Delayed After a Crash

Why Whiplash Pain is Often Delayed After a Crash


Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, as it tends to occur when a person’s head suddenly snaps forwards and backwards, straining the ligaments and muscles in the neck. Unfortunately, the symptoms of whiplash, which typically include pain and limited mobility don’t always show up immediately after a crash, often because the adrenaline that is released during traumatic events can mask initial discomfort and pain. The onset of symptoms can end up taking hours or even days, resulting in potentially delayed treatment and in some cases, reluctance from insurers to cover the injury.

What is Whiplash? 

Whiplash occurs when the head is jolted backwards and forwards at a high rate of speed, with the movement stretching and even tearing the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Although it can be painful to sustain these injuries, when they’re minor, accident victims can often fully recover within a few weeks. Treatment could include pain management with ice packs and pain relievers, as well as physical therapy to help regain function and movement. Unfortunately, not all whiplash injuries resolve on their own, with many accident victims suffering from lingering effects for years to come. This is especially common in cases where the injured party wasn’t diagnosed immediately due to delayed symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash? 

Most whiplash cases involve a few specific symptoms, including:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck;
  • Headaches at the base of the skull;
  • Dizziness and blurred vision;
  • Shoulder pain;
  • Weakness or pain in the arms; and
  • A ringing in the ears.

For many accident victims, these symptoms begin almost immediately after a crash, but for others, symptoms can end up being unpredictable in how and when they appear. It is, for instance, not uncommon for the adrenaline that floods the body during a car crash, to mask injuries for up to 24 hours after the accident. In other cases, it could take a few days before the injury becomes obvious. The onset of symptoms is difficult to pinpoint, as it is influenced by a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury and the victim’s age and health.

Why Was My Whiplash Pain Delayed? 

Whiplash-related symptoms are typically delayed because of the body’s initial response to traumatic events. As we mentioned previously, adrenaline can easily make symptoms immediately following an accident. Whiplash also involves soft tissue damage that may not become apparent until swelling starts to occur. Unfortunately, swelling can take hours or even days to reach a point where a person recognizes that something is wrong. Furthermore, whiplash can involve microtrauma to the muscles and ligaments in the neck, which can also take time to develop into stiffness and pain. These processes can all make it more likely that symptoms will be delayed, which in turn, can delay treatment and make it harder to obtain recovery after an accident.

Contact Our Office Today 

Many insurers are wary of approving claims when accident victims don’t report their injuries immediately. However, in many cases, filing a late claim is legitimate and caused by delayed symptoms. Don’t let your own delayed injuries get in the way of your recovery. Call the experienced Tampa auto accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson for help pursuing the legal compensation to which you are entitled.




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