What To Expect Physically After a Motor Vehicle Collision

The human body is not designed to handle the force and physical impact it absorbs during a motor vehicle collision. The amount of impact, safety features of the vehicle, and whether or not you have your seatbelt fastened, may not have as much to do with the likelihood of experiencing physical injuries after a collision. Often, vehicle collisions can lead to serious injuries and pain that can take months or even years to heal. There are multiple ways you may be injured in an accident, including:

  • Being thrown forward and backward
  • Being thrown against the dashboard of the car
  • Being thrown out of the car
  • Being jerked sideways against the windshield
  • Being hit by flying debris or loose objects

Vehicle collision injuries often do not appear instantly and can take days before onset. Accordingly, it is important that you learn what kinds of physical impact and symptoms to expect after a collision, and what steps to take next. We will guide you through the process.

How To Take Care of Your Physical Health After a Car Accident

One can expect to feel soreness, aches, and pains after a motor vehicle collision. However, it is imperative that you understand the difference between bumps or bruises and more significant physical injuries that require proper medical attention. Untreated physical injuries will worsen and cause long-term pain and disability in the future.

Keep reading to learn the physical symptoms you might feel after a vehicle collision and how to handle yourself once the symptoms appear.

Seek Immediate Care for Serious Symptoms

Some symptoms are more significant than others and require immediate medical attention. If you believe you have any broken bones/fractures or spinal cord/head injuries, you must seek emergency medical attention immediately.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and is very common after a motor vehicle collision. You may have a concussion if you experience any of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble remembering things

Do not delay seeking medical attention for a concussion, as this could result in more serious symptoms like brain swelling or bleeding.

Expect Delayed Pain and Symptoms

Several of the physical injuries after a motor vehicle collision like whiplash, concussions, soft tissue injuries, and spinal damage may not appear until several hours or days after the collision. During a motor vehicle collision, your body experiences an adrenaline rush that can mask pain and other symptoms. The adrenaline rush can cause you to believe that you are not injured. Even if you do not have visible physical injuries directly following a collision, you should closely monitor yourself for symptoms over the next few days and weeks.

Don’t Ignore Minor Aches and Pain

In the days and weeks following a car collision, any abnormal feelings you experience should be taken seriously. At the first sign of any pain or symptoms, you should seek medical attention. Delaying medical treatment or hoping the pain and injuries will go away will make matters worse. Even mild pain can indicate a serious injury that needs medical treatment. For example:

  • Neck pain could be a sign of whiplash, a herniated disc, a joint injury or a pinched nerve
  • Low back pain could be a sign of a herniated disc, a joint injury, a pinched nerve or a compression fracture
  • Headaches could be a sign of whiplash, soft tissue strain or a concussion

Failing to get a proper diagnosis and timely treatment may aggravate or exacerbate an injury and make it harder and longer to heal.

Find The Right Medical Provider

Following a motor vehicle collision, you should find a medical provider who has experience treating common injuries resulting from a collision. One of the most important steps you can take after being in a motor vehicle collision is finding medical help. Even if you feel no pain or injuries at the time, you may still have head, soft tissue, or spinal injuries that require a medical examination to detect. The following are tips on how to choose proper medical services to get the care and treatment you need after an accident.


Failing to seek medical help after a car accident, or shrugging off “minor” symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, or fatigue, can be dangerous to your health and well-being. Even if you feel no pain right after a collision, many car accident injuries (i.e., concussions, whiplash, soft-tissue injuries, and spinal injuries) may not display symptoms until several hours, days, or even weeks after the collision. In addition, you may have a herniated spinal disc, internal bleeding, tissue and ligament damage, or fractures that can only be seen with an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. For your own safety and well-being, seeking medical attention directly following a collision or as soon as you experience pain or symptoms is a must. Timely care and treatment can prevent long-term pain and injuries.


Your PCP has been trained to treat internal health conditions but is not equipped to identify and treat motor vehicle collision injuries like concussions, whiplash, and soft tissue damage. Find a specialist who will run the necessary tests and prescribe the appropriate treatments. Also, it is important for the medical provider to make detailed documentation about the severity of your injuries and long-term effects. These providers are specially trained and qualified to determine how serious your injuries are and provide the best treatment options.


Research doctors in your area before making your selection. Online reviews and patient testimonials can help you judge what kind of care and service you can expect to receive. Additionally, online research through a practice’s website will tell you what kinds of injuries they treat. This will help you find a qualified doctor who is best suited to meet your needs.


At your first appointment, be completely upfront with your physician. Be able to tell him or her:

  • The circumstances surrounding your car accident and how it occurred
  • The symptoms you’re experiencing
  • When symptoms began
  • The severity of your symptoms
  • A full medical history, including pre-existing conditions and previous injuries

Your doctor will need a full and honest view of your medical history and current medical condition. This will allow them to diagnose your injuries accurately and prescribe the appropriate treatments.


Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. When your health and safety is on the line, you need to be your own biggest advocate. A reputable doctor will be able to prove the credentials and qualifications he or she has to treat your specific injuries. Ask your doctor to explain the detailed treatment plan they’ve created to treat your injuries, as well as any long-term effects you may experience from your injuries. Additionally, don’t be afraid to tell your doctor if you’re considering filing a personal injury lawsuit as the result of your car accident. Ask your doctor if they know how to properly document your injuries and treatment plan. You may need medical records for a lawsuit. It is important that you be proactive in ensuring that you are receiving the best care and treatment to aid in a full recovery.

How Our Law Firm Can Assist with Your Injuries and Recovery

Your injuries sustained and the damages suffered after being a victim in a motor vehicle collision are hard to identify and quantify for a variety of reasons set for this in this blog. Hiring a personal injury attorney for representation will ensure that your injuries and damages are well documented in order for you to account for the responsible third party for proper and full compensation. Our Law Firm has expertise and skill in making sure our clients get the proper medical attention and documentation for all injuries they have suffered as a result of the motor vehicle collision. In turn, this allows us to negotiate and settle with the responsible third party for an amount that fully compensates our injured clients for the injuries they sustained. Maximum value and recovery are the goals we strive for every client we represent, and our Law Firm is by your side throughout the whole process to ensure you are well taken care of.