A young adult suffers from neck pain after a car accident.

Important Symptoms to Look for After a Car Accident

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A young adult suffers from neck pain after a car accident.

Important Symptoms to Look for After a Car Accident

After a car accident, it is not uncommon to experience some aches and pains or to be more on edge than normal. These are expected reactions to the intense stress your body went through during the accident. But how do you know if your injuries are severe?

While the damage to your vehicle is generally apparent immediately after the crash, the damages to your body and mind are not always as evident. The symptoms of serious injuries often do not come to light until some time after the crash.

Our car accident attorneys at Gauthier Amedee have compiled this list to give you an understanding of the symptoms you may suffer from after a crash. While this does not replace the advice of a physician, it can serve as a guideline for recognizing when there is an emergency. If your symptoms are not listed here, please consult a medical professional for the next steps.

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Pain in the Shoulders, Head, or Neck

Post-traumatic headaches are one of the most common symptoms that people experience after a crash, and they generally go away on their own leaving no long-term damage. However, headaches can sometimes be indicative of a more critical condition, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Whiplash is another condition that can develop after a car wreck, causing headaches as well as shoulder and neck pain. Whiplash occurs when the head moves very suddenly backward and then forward. While it is generally a minor (though painful) injury, there are cases in which chronic pain or even severe spinal injuries can occur after whiplash. 

If you’re experiencing pain or stiffness when moving your head or arms, marked weakness in your limbs, extreme headaches that won’t go away, or if you’ve already seen a doctor but your symptoms have remained or gotten worse, you should seek urgent medical care.

Abdominal Pain

Some of the most concerning injuries that can result from a motor vehicle accident are those that cause abdominal pain. Life-threatening problems such as internal bleeding or damage to the organs and blood vessels can occur after a wreck, and abdominal pain can sometimes be the only sign.

Unlike many of the symptoms on this list that could have either mild or severe causes, abdominal pain is almost always an indicator of urgent complications. In fact, if you are suffering from pain anywhere in your stomach or abdomen after an accident, especially if you feel dizzy or short of breath, you should call 911 immediately for emergency medical treatment.

A man shows his doctor where his back hurts after a car accident.

Back Pain

Because there is significant force put on your spine during a collision, back pain is a common pain people feel after an accident. Many times, the pain will slowly get better and eventually alleviate, but if your pain is getting worse and not going away, you may want to make an appointment with your physician. 

Conditions such as strains, fractures, and even herniated discs can all lead to pain in the back. Depending on the severity, your doctor could recommend hot and cold packs with pain relievers, or they may determine that you need surgery and physical therapy to treat your condition.

Numbness and Tingling

Another symptom that could be a reason for concern is numbness or tingling in your limbs and extremities. This will most likely be due to nerve damage, such as a pinched nerve caused by whiplash or blunt trauma experienced during the impact.

While it is possible that nerve damage could be mild and temporary, going away on its own, it is difficult to say what the extent of the injury is without a medical evaluation. If the damage is severe and not treated soon after the accident, you could end up with chronic pain or loss of sensation in that area.

Behavioral Changes

As mentioned, TBIs are a common consequence of car crashes, ranging from concussions (the mildest form of TBIs) to serious brain injuries. Along with the physical symptoms that manifest with a TBI, such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, and vision problems, these are a few of the noticeable changes to someone’s behavior that can signal an acute injury to the brain:

  • Feeling lethargic and sleeping more than usual
  • Having a hard time getting to sleep
  • Having memory trouble
  • Brain fog, zoning out, or difficulty focusing
  • Mood swings or feeling more emotional than usual
  • Sudden bouts of rage and/or depression

It is recommended that you take these symptoms seriously and see your doctor, as a moderate-to-severe TBI left untreated can have permanent, even deadly results.

A female sits on her couch fighting her PTSD from a recent car accident.


Another cause of changes to behavior or personality after an accident could be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a difficult, sometimes long-term disorder that affects both the mind and the body of those who go through a traumatic experience. 

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of PTSD, and victims can be left with debilitating nightmares, an extreme fear of driving or being in a vehicle altogether, and sleep disorders, among many other life-altering symptoms that can become worse if not addressed. If you’re experiencing the effects of trauma, you should know that there are treatment options available for PTSD and you can seek help.

Injured in a Car Crash?

At Gauthier Amedee, our team of experienced Louisiana motor vehicle accident attorneys fights hard to protect your rights.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, the attorneys at Gauthier Amedee can help. Don’t delay, contact Gauthier Amedee today at 225-401-0127 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.