What Happens If My Injury Appears Late?


Accidents often leave enduring trauma, but that trauma doesn’t always manifest itself right away. It may be days, weeks, or even months before you notice that anything is wrong, and by that time, you may wonder if you still have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

The truth is if your injury is the result of another person’s neglectful actions, you are likely entitled to personal injury damages, even if you don’t notice your injury right away.

Reasons You Might Not Immediately Notice Injuries

There are a number of reasons you might not immediately notice a personal injury. These largely stem from the nature of the accident and the type of trauma it might cause.


Often with highly traumatic or sudden accidents—particularly vehicle crashes—you’ll get an adrenaline rush that numbs pain and gives you extra energy. As such, it may not be until the day after that you feel your injuries catch up with you.

Apparently Minor Symptoms

Some symptoms may feel too minor to worry about, but if you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s still worth going to your doctor to make sure you’re completely okay. For example, concussions often might not have dramatic symptoms from the start, but that doesn’t make them any less serious.

Another example is the side effects of using certain products. If those products cause serious problems that are only manifested by minor symptoms, and if their side effects are the result of poor design or marketing, you may have a product liability case.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries—such as bruises or whiplash—often seem fairly minor, at least at first. They’re easy to brush off, and they may even take some time to show up at all. However, they could get worse within a few days of your accident, making them worth a visit to your doctor.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations and Late-Appearing Injuries

In Illinois, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is generally two years. On top of that, it often takes a while to get a lawsuit going once you decide to start the process, making it imperative to get going as promptly as possible.

This raises the question of what it means for your case if you don’t notice your injury until later on. The good news is the clock doesn’t start ticking until you either realize that you’ve been injured, or until you could be reasonably expected to realize it. It’s still important to be diligent about it and see a doctor if you have even minor symptoms, but at least there is some leeway for late-appearing injuries.

Pursuing Damages for Late Appearing Injuries

Vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and so forth could all cause trauma that doesn’t manifest itself in any immediate or dramatic way. If you have been in an accident, or if you are experiencing recurring aches, pains, and other symptoms, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

Should you experience symptoms long after an incident involving another party’s neglect, see a doctor as promptly as possible. In addition, contact a personal injury attorney. Our attorneys at Hart David Carson LLP can help you pursue the damages you deserve for your injury.

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