Motor vehicle accidents occur every day, and the vast majority of them only result in minor injuries. If you get into a serious crash and don’t suffer an obvious injury, you might believe that you have avoided the worst potential consequences. However, that isn’t always the case.

In fact, some of the most serious injuries that you could suffer in a car crash may not have immediate symptoms. Understanding this can inform the way that you respond to a collision. Just because you can walk away doesn’t mean you should avoid adequate medical review after a crash. You should also stay alert and aware of potential symptoms for many days or even weeks after the crash.

Soft tissue injuries may not be immediately obvious

Most people have heard of whiplash, but not everyone really understands what it is. Whiplash is a common term used to describe the muscular pain and tension people experience in their neck and shoulders after a collision. Whiplash results from the violent shaking and rocking of the vehicle, which can overexert your neck muscles as your head moves violently.

Immediately after a crash, what pain you have may not be obvious. The adrenaline surge many people experience during a motor vehicle collision can mask the pain symptoms. The worst symptoms can also take several days to develop as the tissue begins to swell.

You should watch for soreness or tenderness in the shoulders and neck, issues with your range of motion and headaches. Any of these symptoms is a reason to visit a doctor for an examination. In most cases, whiplash will resolve in weeks or months. However, it can require extensive therapy and may keep you from work for some time.

Serious brain injuries aren’t always obvious either

The impact of a crash, as well as shaking, rocking or rolling can contribute to a traumatic brain injury. When the brain bruises and swells, the skull can increase the pressure on this most important of organs.

Traumatic brain injuries often don’t present symptoms immediately after a crash. Instead, the symptoms will develop as the swelling of the brain increases over several days. The best prognosis for a traumatic brain injury coincides with early treatment and diagnosis. If you strike your head, lose consciousness or experience violent shaking in a crash, it is in your best interest to see a medical professional as soon as possible for a brain injury evaluation.

People who find themselves dealing with severe, even lifelong injuries after a crash may have legal rights depending on the circumstances of the collision. Talking with an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney can help you make sense of your options.