What Are The Symptoms To Watch Out For After A Car Accident?

By Daniel Kirk. Last Updated 2nd November 2022. According to the Department for Transport, there were 1472 deaths in Great Britain due to road traffic accidents in 2020. Great Britain road traffic accidents caused 23,486 deaths or serious injuries in the same year. In this guide, we are going to look at symptoms you may experience after a car accident and what these symptoms might mean. What’s more, we will explain how to claim compensation for injuries caused by another driver’s breach of duty of care.

What Are The Common Symptoms You Could Suffer After A Car Accident?

Symptoms to watch out for after a car accident guide

Symptoms to watch out for after a car accident guide

Advice.co.uk can offer you free legal advice about making a car accident claim all you have to do is call our claims teams. They can take the details of your case from you and evaluate your case for you. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they could connect you with a personal injury solicitor from our panel.

To learn more about claiming compensation for a car accident, contact us today. Call us on 0161 696 9685. Alternatively, use our claims enquiry form to contact us in writing or speak to us using the live chat feature to the bottom right of this screen.

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A Guide On What Symptoms After A Car Accident You Could Experience

You may experience symptoms of injury immediately after being involved in a road traffic accident. On the other hand, you may experience delayed symptoms that aren’t immediately apparent. It doesn’t matter whether you noticed your injuries straight after the accident or in the days following. If you can prove that your injuries were caused by another driver neglecting the duty of care they owed you, you may be entitled to compensation.

We will explain what types of injuries can happen as the result of a car accident. We will also answer any questions you may have about claiming compensation for your injuries, such as “How much compensation can you claim for a car accident?“. Furthermore, we will explain how to start the personal injury claims process and how compensation is calculated.

If you’re interested in knowing how a No Win No Fee agreement could help fund legal representation, this guide can help. We will look at what a No Win No Fee agreement is and what it means for funding your solicitor.

It is important to point out here that if you are a driver or passenger in a car accident on or after 31st May 2021 the way you make a personal injury claim is different. The Government alongside the Motor Insurance Bureau MIB has changed the way some car accident personal injury claims are made.

We can offer you free legal advice about making a car accident claim. Contact us today to speak to a claims advisor, or read on for more information.

Calculating Compensation For Symptoms After An Accident

If you have suffered physical or psychological injuries, such as anxiety after a car crash, you may be able to claim compensation for them. In order to claim compensation, the accident that resulted in your injuries needs to have been caused by another driver neglecting their duty of care to you.

You can use the table below to estimate approximately how much your compensation claim could be worth. The compensation amounts included in this table are based on guidelines by the Judicial College. Please note, the amount of compensation you may receive can vary depending on the severity of your injuries and how your quality of life has been affected. There has been a recent change in cases involving passengers and drivers in road traffic accidents. How much can be claimed for whiplash-type injuries has been revised. Please see this link for more details.

Type And Level Of Injury Estimated Compensation About This Injury
Very Serious Thumb Injury £19,600 to £35,010 Where the injured thumb was severed and reattached at the base of the thumb. The thumb no longer functions and may have sme cosmetic deformity.
Moderate Thumb Injury £9,670 to £12,590 Injury to the thumb which require an arthrodesis of the interphalangeal joint. The injury could also include nerve or tendon damage. Symptoms could reduce function and sensation.
Moderate Toe Injury Up to £9,600 A break or fracture of the toe or where pre-existing injuries have been exacerbated.
Serious Hand Injury £29,000 to £61,910 Injuries which reduce the function of the hand by as much as half. This could present with the loss of several fingers.
Moderate Hand Injury £5,720 to £13,280 Moderate laceration and crush injuries to the hand.
Less Serious Hand Injury £14,450 to £29,000 Crush injuries or other wounds which reduce the hands usage without future surgery.
Moderate Foot Injury £13,740 to £24,990 Displaced fractures of the metatarsal bones which cause permanent deformities.
Moderate (i) Back Injury £27,760 to £38,780 Many different types of back injury will fall into this category.
Minor – Moderate Elbow Injury Up to £12,590 Most types of injury to the elbow joint fall into this category of injury.
Minor Head or Brain Injury £2,210 to £12,770 This includes minimal forms of head and brain injury.

To confirm how much your claim could be worth, you’ll usually be invited to attend a medical assessment with an independent expert as part of your claim. This expert will assess your injuries and confirm that they were caused by your accident. Their findings and your prognosis will be detailed in a report, which can then be used with the help of the Judicial College Guidelines to value your claim.

Please be aware that this table includes general damages you could receive as part of your claim. However, the table does not include special damages compensation, which we will look at in greater detail later on.

Types Of Damages Awarded For Symptoms Of Car Accidents

When personal injury claims are successful, you may receive two heads of claim. These are known as general damages and special damages.

General damages take into account the physical impact of your injuries. The nature of the injuries and their severity will be taken into consideration, as well as the impact they have had on your quality of life.

On the other hand, special damages compensate you for any monetary expenses bought on by your injuries. Here are some examples of special damages that you could claim after a car accident:

  • Medical expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Care expenses
  • Reimbursement for any income lost
  • Mobility equipment expenses
  • Funds to adapt your home or car if you become disabled as a result of your accident.

In order to claim special damages, you must provide evidence of your financial losses. This can be in the form of bills, receipts and invoices. If you’d like to know more about what can be included in your claim or would like to know more about what kind of proof might be required, get in touch with our team today.

What Symptoms After A Car Accident Could You Suffer?

When you’re involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, it can cause a range of different injuries. These injuries can result in a number of different symptoms.

The symptoms of some injuries are very easy to spot. For example, if you suffer a broken ankle, you will usually experience the symptoms right away. Symptoms of a broken ankle can include pain and tenderness. You may also notice swelling or find it difficult to support your weight on your injured leg.

However, victims of car accidents can also experience hidden injuries. These are injuries where the symptoms may be difficult to spot straight away, such as a herniated disc. Furthermore, if you experience whiplash after the accident, this might not be apparent for the first few hours if not days after the accident occurs.

If you have experienced whiplash after a car accident, then the Whiplash Reform Programme may affect how you claim compensation. Get in touch with our team for more information about how this can impact your claim.

After A Car Accident – Possible Injuries

There are many incidents on the road that could result in injury. After a car accident, the injuries you sustain could range from relatively minor to quite extreme. In some extreme cases, a car accident could even be fatal.

Below, we have compiled a short list of examples. However, there are other ways in which you could be left injured after a car accident:

  • Bruising – Injuries such as this can cause varying levels of pain and discomfort.
  • Cuts/lacerations – Even minor injuries of this kind can result in scars. Nerve damage and infections are also possible, depending on the nature of the injury itself.
  • Broken bones – The impact caused by a car accident can cause fractures.
  • Neck/back injuries – Your mobility could be affected on a long- or short-term basis. In severe circumstances, you could end up permanently paralysed.
  • Head injuries – You could experience lasting problems with memory and concentration, amongst other symptoms.

Get in touch if you have any questions regarding claiming for injuries in car accidents in the UK and whether you can claim.

Symptoms Of Delayed Injuries After A Car Accident

There are also common car crash injuries that may have delayed symptoms. This means that the injury symptoms may not be experienced immediately after the accident. For example, if you experience whiplash, you may not experience any neck pain for a few hours or sometimes even days.

Let’s now look at what symptoms you might experience after a car accident.

Traumatic Brain And Head Injury Symptoms

Car accidents can result in severe head injuries, especially if the injured person experiences a forceful blow to the head or blunt force trauma. Head injuries can lead to traumatic brain injuries, which can be life-threatening or cause permanent disabilities.

Symptoms of a severe head injury include the following:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Concussion
  • Fits or seizures
  • Amnesia
  • Difficulty walking or lack of coordination

While some of the symptoms of a head injury can be noticed immediately, the symptoms of concussion may not be apparent until the days or weeks following the accident. You should always keep an eye on your symptoms as you begin to recover.

If someone has suffered a head injury in a car crash, you should call 999. This NHS guide has more information about the symptoms of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

Symptoms Of Neck And Whiplash Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

Whiplash is a type of neck injury that can be caused by car accidents. Whiplash can happen when the head is suddenly moved. The impact of the crash causes the neck to be pushed backwards and forwards. In turn, this sprains and strains the soft tissues in the neck.

Symptoms of whiplash can include the following:

  • A stiff neck
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty moving your head
  • Pain in the shoulders and arms

This NHS guide has more information about whiplash and whiplash symptoms. Please be aware that the symptoms of whiplash are often delayed. Sometimes the casualty won’t experience the symptoms until several hours after their accident.

As we have already mentioned, the Whiplash Reform Programme may affect how you claim compensation if you’ve experienced whiplash as a result of your accident. Speak to a member of our team today to find out more about claiming.

Shoulder And Upper Back Injury Symptoms

Because of the position of your seatbelt when you’re travelling in a car, a road traffic accident could cause you to sustain a shoulder injury. These injuries can range from relatively minor, such as a soft tissue injury or sprain, to a more serious injury like a broken collarbone.

Symptoms of a broken or fractured collarbone can include the following:

  • Bruising to the skin
  • Tenderness and swelling
  • Bleeding (if the fracture is displaced and the bone has pierced the skin
  • Pins and needles or numbness (this might indicate nerve damage in the shoulder have been damaged)

If you suffer an injury to your shoulder and fail to receive the proper treatment for it, this could affect the mobility in your shoulder in the long term. In some cases, the effects may even be permanent. This is why it’s really important to seek medical attention for any injuries you’ve sustained in a car accident as soon as you notice your symptoms appear.

Symptoms Of Back Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

If you’re involved in a car accident, you may suffer a herniated disc injury. This can also be known as a slipped disc injury or a prolapsed disc. A herniated disc can be a painful and debilitating injury. Slipped discs happen when the cushion of tissue between the vertebrae in the spine pops out. It can affect the neck as well as the back.

Symptoms of a herniated disc can include the following:

  • Neck pain
  • A weakness of the muscles
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Difficulty making the back straight or bending it
  • Sciatica (from a pinched sciatic nerve)
  • Tingling or numbness in the shoulder, arms or fingers, due to a pinched nerve.

Herniated disc symptoms after a car accident may take days, weeks or even months to develop.  If you suspect you’re suffering from a slipped disc following a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms Of Leg And Knee Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

Knee and leg injuries can also take place following a car accident. A road user may experience a broken leg, broken knee, broken ankle or broken foot after a serious car accident. People suffering from a broken or fractured bone may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling in the affected area
  • The site of the break or fracture appears to be misshapen
  • Inability to bear weight on their injured leg.

In some cases, you may notice a grinding or popping sound as the leg, foot or ankle breaks. Depending on the severity of the break, you may have an open wound on your leg.

If you break your leg or knee in a car accident, you will likely experience the symptoms immediately. You should always seek medical attention straight away if you’ve broken a bone. Failure to do so could cause serious long-term implications if the bone fails to heal properly.

Abdominal And Internal Injury Symptoms

Internal bleeding or organ damage can be difficult to spot because the cuts or tears are on the inside of the body. However, internal bleeding or damage to the internal organs can be very serious, so you should seek medical attention as soon as you become aware of your injuries.

In the days after an accident, casualties should look for these signs of internal injuries:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath that is getting worse
  • Chest pain that is getting worse
  • Abdominal pain

Internal bleeding can be life-threatening. If you believe you have internal bleeding seek the appropriate medical attention right away.

Psychological Injury Symptoms After A Car Accident

Car accidents can be traumatic experiences. Some people develop psychological injuries after car accidents, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The signs of post-traumatic stress disorder may take weeks or even months to occur after a traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Feeling numb
  • Avoiding situations that remind the person of the trauma
  • Feeling on edge
  • Re-experiencing the trauma in the form of nightmares or flashbacks.

Psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder can have a detrimental effect on a person’s well being. Please seek medical treatment if you have suffered PTSD symptoms after a car accident. You may be able to receive treatment to help you cope with life after your trauma.

After A Car Accident – How Long Do I Have To Claim?

If you’re injured after a car accident, you will generally have 3 years from the date you were injured to begin a personal injury claim. This is the time limit stated in the Limitation Act 1980, though there can be certain exceptions.

Whiplash symptoms, for example, can be delayed. You may only be aware you’ve been injured at a later date than the accident itself. In cases such as these, you could use the date of knowledge as the first date of your 3-year time limit. You would require evidence, such as medical records.

If children are injured in car accidents, the injury can be claimed for by an appointed litigation friend with no time limit to adhere to until the injured child turns 18. From this date, they can start a claim for themselves within 3 years if one had not already been started.

There can be other scenarios where the time limit can be suspended, such as with claimants with a reduced mental capacity.

Get in touch to find out more about claim time limits after a road traffic accident in the UK, and car accident claims in general.

No Win No Fee Injury Claims For Symptoms After A Car Accident

You may have heard the term No Win No Fee before, but be unsure about what it actually means. Essentially, a No Win No Fee agreement is a contract between you and your solicitor that sets out the conditions they need to meet before they receive payment.

It means that you won’t be asked to pay anything upfront in order for your solicitor to start working on your claim. You also won’t be asked to pay them anything while the claim is ongoing or in the event that it’s unsuccessful.

The only time you will be asked to cover your solicitor’s costs is if you succeed in your claim. Then, a small, legally capped percentage of your compensation will be deducted from your compensation award to pay them.

Why Would You Want To Make A No Win No Fee Claim?

  • No Win No Fee agreements can be a more affordable way of funding legal representation. This is because there is no upfront fee to pay. Instead, the solicitor’s costs are taken in the form of a success fee deducted from your compensation payout.
  •  Success fees are legally capped, meaning you will keep the majority of your compensation package if you win your claim.
  • If you’re offered a No Win No Fee agreement, it often means your claim has a good chance of success. This is because your solicitor is depending on winning the case in order to get paid.

Please read our online guide to find out more about making a No Win No Fee claim. Or call us today to speak to an advisor about funding your solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis.

Speak To Our Team

We can offer you free legal advice if you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver breaching their duty of care towards you. To begin your compensation claim, contact us today using the details below.

  • Call us on 0161 696 9685
  • Please use our online enquiry form to contact us in writing
  • Or you can ask us a question directly via our chat widget on the right-hand side of your screen.


We hope you have found this guide to symptoms you may experience after a car accident helpful. Please see the guides below for more information about making a car accident claim.

Advice On Claims For An Accident Caused By Faulty Traffic Lights – Our guide on what to do if faulty traffic lights cause an accident in which you are injured.

How To Claim Compensation For A Car Accident – A guide about claiming compensation if you were injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver breaching their duty of care to you.

Other Car Accident Claim Guides

External Information

Support from road safety charity Brake for people who have been seriously injured in road traffic accidents. Or who have suffered a bereavement?

Information about how to give first aid treatment in a medical situation.

How Safe Are The UK’s Roads?

symptoms after a car accident statistics graph

The graph above from the Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Provisional Results 2020 shows the casualty rate for different vehicle types for 2019 and 2020. As we can see, there has been an overall decrease in the number of casualties on the road for all road users.

The largest decrease in casualties was for those travelling in cars, with a decrease of 25,219. The smallest decrease was cycle casualties, with a decrease of 654.

Road Traffic Injury FAQs

We will now answer some frequently asked questions about road traffic accidents.

Can you claim compensation if your child was injured in a road accident?

If your child has been injured in a car accident, you may be eligible to claim child accident compensation on their behalf as a litigation friend. The child’s money will be held in trust for the child until they are 18. Once they turn 18, if no claim has been made, they can claim on their own behalf until their 21st birthday.

How long after a car accident can symptoms appear?

Some car accident injury symptoms will be apparent straight away. This might include things like broken bones. Other injuries, like whiplash, can take hours or even days to appear.