Car accidents, even those that seem relatively minor, are still very violent experiences for the human body. Although we are surprisingly resilient as a species, we often take for granted just how unnatural traveling in a car is, and may not realize when we suffer an injury in a collision.

A number of different types of injury may not cause a car accident victim any pain immediately. Unfortunately, these injuries may not feature many outwardly visible signs. A victim in a car accident may not even experience any pain from the injury for hours or even several days after the accident.

We refer to these injuries collectively as delayed onset injuries. Depending on the nature of the injury itself, a victim may have a long journey ahead to recover from a serious medical problem, or he or she may have a very serious injury that could threaten one’s life.

If you recently experienced a car accident, you should consider going to see your doctor. A doctor may be able to help you identify injuries before they worsen and cause more pain or long-term harm. You may also want to speak with an attorney to understand your options for pursuing fair compensation for your injuries and protecting your rights.

Some delayed pain indicates an emergency

There are a number of different types of delayed pain injuries, but those that occur in the abdomen are by far the most dangerous to victims. Delayed pain in the abdomen often means that a victim suffered organ damage or some other injury that caused internal bleeding.

If left untreated, damaged organs can lead to organ failure, which can kill a person very quickly. Similarly, internal bleeding is far more dangerous than many people realize. If victims have internal bleeding, they are at risk of an infection reaching their bloodstream and spreading throughout the entire body. Like organ failure, this can kill a victim very quickly.

Should you notice abdomen pain shortly after an accident, you should go to an emergency room immediately. Not tomorrow, or even later today — you should go seek medical help right now.

Other types of delayed pain

Often, muscle groups that experience trauma in car accident do not hurt for hours or even a day or so after the trauma itself. It is common for a person to experience a car accident and then wake up the next day in a great deal of pain. This generally falls under the category of whiplash, which may cover a number of injuries in the neck, shoulders and back.

A person may also strike one’s head in the accident, and may receive a mild brain injury. In the weeks and even months after the accident, a person suffering a minor brain injury may find it difficult to perform simple tasks or think clearly. This victim may also find it is very difficult to understand conversations or may misinterpret intent while reading.

Many spinal injuries do not immediately cause pain. If a victim suffers a spinal injury, he or she may not notice any change for hours or days, then may experience many kinds of pain, either acute or radiating throughout the back or in arms, legs, hands and feet.

If you suffer from delayed pain, be sure you understand all of your options for pursuing fair compensation for your injuries and losses.