(210) 529-3000

Delayed Neck Pain After a Car Accident: What It Means 

Written by Tom Crosley
Dec 09, 2020 Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Spine Injuries
  1. 1. What Causes Delayed Neck Pain After a Crash?
  2. 2. What Your Delayed Neck Pain Means for Your Car Accident Claim
  3. 3. How “Maximum Medical Improvement” Affects Your Claim
  4. 4. Crosley Law: Fighting for Texas Crash Victims With Neck Injuries

At first, you didn’t think the car wreck was that bad. The driver behind you was texting and driving, and because they weren’t paying attention, they rammed their vehicle into the back of your car. Your head snapped back and forth upon impact, but other than that seemingly minor injury, you walked away from the accident a little sore but unharmed.

A few days later, your neck, head, and shoulders are in terrible pain. The headache that developed the evening after the crash has only gotten worse. You’re too stiff to move and aren’t sure what to do next. You didn’t know it at the time, but the impact from the crash caused serious damage to the soft tissue in your neck, and the wreck also inflicted a possible concussion and a slipped disc.

If you walked away from a car wreck and felt okay at first, it might come as a shock when you develop severe pain after a few days go by. However, it’s not uncommon for neck pain to show up after the wreck or worsen over time. 

In this blog, our team of experienced car accident lawyers outlines what delayed neck pain can mean after a car accident and what to do about it.

What Causes Delayed Neck Pain After a Crash?

If you’re suffering from unexpected neck pain after a crash, you should know that while your situation is uncomfortable and scary, it’s also something we’ve encountered many times before at Crosley Law. The moments after a crash are filled with adrenaline and endorphins, which are chemicals that your brain produces to help you survive stressful situations.

In addition to helping you handle a crash on an emotional level, these brain chemicals also tend to dull physical pain. It’s a bit like when you get out of the hospital after surgery — at first, you feel surprisingly great, because you’re pumped full of pain-killing drugs. Then, as the drugs wear off, the discomfort sets in.

These are some of the most common delayed injuries car crash victims experience.


Headaches are easy to ignore after a crash because most of us get occasional headaches. But if your head hurts after a crash, don’t assume it’s the same as an everyday headache. There’s a good chance you could be suffering from whiplash, a concussion, or even a blood clot in the brain.

Sore Neck

When you suffer an impact from behind, like in a rear-end crash, your neck can snap back and forth, which puts tremendous strain on your muscles and ligaments. When your soft tissues and joints overextend in this way and suffer damage, it’s known as whiplash.

Many people don’t think whiplash is serious, but it can cause severe pain, complications, and suffering for people after a crash. And without proper treatment, the issues can persist for a long time to come.

Pain in the Shoulders and Upper Back

The spine is one of the most complicated and sensitive parts of the body. When one part of the spine suffers trauma, it’s not uncommon to experience a wide range of related symptoms and health complications. If your shoulders and upper back are hurting after a crash, it could be a sign of whiplash, a slipped disc, damage to the soft tissue, or even fractures.

Numbness, Tingling, or Loss of Sensation

A crash can throw your vertebrae out of alignment, which can put pressure on your spinal cord or other nerves. This pressure can cause numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation. These symptoms may appear in seemingly unrelated locations, like your arms, hands, or feet. Numbness or tingling can also indicate damage to the nerves themselves.

What Your Delayed Neck Pain Means for Your Car Accident Claim

If you’ve been involved in a crash, no matter how minor, it’s in your best interest to go to the doctor as soon as you can. A doctor can help identify and address injuries that might cause delayed neck pain before it becomes a severe issue. And if you are suffering from a complicated, persistent, and painful condition like a herniated disc, whiplash, concussion, or something else, going to the doctor allows you to include those injuries in your insurance claim.

After a crash, many victims choose to settle their insurance claims so they can pay their immediate medical bills, repair their damaged vehicle, and move on with their lives. The problem is that after a crash, many victims don’t have all the information they need to understand the true costs of their injuries. Too often, a victim will accept a settlement, only to realize they’re facing years of expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation that will cost much more than the insurance company’s settlement offer can pay.

Because it can take time to understand the true extent of your injuries, you should usually wait to agree to a settlement until you get a complete picture of the long-term health challenges you’re facing. Once you agree to a settlement, you can’t go back to the insurance company and ask for more compensation. So, if you’re suffering from any kind of physical ailment that could be connected to the crash, get checked out before agreeing to a settlement offer that doesn’t include coverage for the cost of these injuries.

RELATED: Herniated Disc Settlements: What Is My Case Worth in Texas?

How “Maximum Medical Improvement” Affects Your Claim

A term you may hear doctors or legal team reference is “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI. Your MMI refers to the highest level of healing you can achieve after an accident. Some people fully heal after a crash, so their MMI is 100%. Others, especially those suffering from nerve damage or spinal injuries, may have a lower MMI because they’re never fully able to regain the level of function and comfort they enjoyed before the crash.

The concept of MMI is critical to your case. Your lawyer and doctors will work together to determine your MMI. If your body has healed as much as it can, but you’re still left with a life-changing disability, you may be entitled to additional compensation.

If you’re still suffering from persistent neck injuries after a crash, don’t wait to go to the doctor, and don’t hesitate to talk to an experienced attorney about your options.

Crosley Law: Fighting for Texas Crash Victims With Neck Injuries

No one should go through life worried about injuries that weren’t their fault, how they’ll pay their bills, or what their options are after a crash. At Crosley Law, we know how confusing and painful the time after a crash can be. We’re committed to helping you get the confidence and peace of mind you need to recover.

If you have questions about your case, what to do next, and how much your settlement could be worth, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is experienced at handling all types of Texas personal injury cases, and we are proud to support victims through every step of the claims process, including taking the matter to trial if need be.

To schedule your free consultation with our team or learn more about our track record of success, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today. You can call Crosley Law at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill use our quick and easy contact form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Website | + posts

Related Articles

View All Blog Articles

Do you or a family member
need legal advice?

Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death.

We Can Help

Request Your Free Consultation
  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    * Required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Office Locations and Contact Info