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By Jarome Gautreaux

One of the most common pieces of advice you might hear when you have been in a car accident is to document what happened at the scene and see a doctor afterward in case injuries or pain show up later.  There might be injuries that are either not immediately apparent or present themselves later and were not visible following the accident.

Invisible injuries resulting from car accidents are physical or psychological conditions that are not immediately apparent right after the accident occurs. Unlike visible injuries such as broken bones, cuts, or bruises, invisible injuries can take time to manifest and be more challenging to diagnose and treat. 

Various Types Of Invisible Injuries

  • Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries: Whiplash is a common invisible injury resulting from the rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, typical in rear-end collisions. It affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. These soft tissue injuries do not always appear on X-rays or MRIs, making them harder to document and treat.
  • Psychological Injuries: Mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and phobias often can develop after a car accident. Victims might experience flashbacks, nightmares, persistent fear, or mood swings. These psychological injuries require professional treatment because they can be as debilitating as physical injuries and can last long after the accident has occurred.
  • Internal Injuries: Internal bleeding, bruising, or damage to organs may not be immediately noticeable after an accident. Symptoms such as pain, dizziness, or fainting can appear later, making these injuries dangerous if not promptly diagnosed and treated.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): TBIs, including concussions, are major invisible injuries that can occur even without direct head impact. Symptoms can range from mild – such as headaches, confusion, and dizziness to severe –  cognitive impairment, mood changes, or unconsciousness. TBIs can have long-term effects on an individual’s mental and physical abilities.
  • Chronic Pain: Some accident victims experience ongoing pain that persists even after the initial injury has healed.  Headaches, back, neck, or other musculoskeletal pain may appear later. Chronic pain can be difficult to link directly to the accident, complicating insurance claims and treatment plans.
  • Neurological Damage: Damage to the nervous system can result in various symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or changes in vision or hearing. Neurological issues can stem from spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, or brain injuries and may not be immediately apparent following an accident.
  • Herniated Discs: The impact of a car accident can sometimes lead to a herniated disc, which is when the discs in the spine rupture or shift. While not always immediately painful, a herniated disc can lead to chronic back pain, sciatica, and nerve damage over time.
  • Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ): TMJ issues can take time to develop after an accident. An impact can cause dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, leading to pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or locking the jaw. 


Car accidents could end up placing you in the position of managing and treating invisible injuries.  A comprehensive approach is required, including medical evaluation, imaging tests, and sometimes psychological support. Individuals involved in car accidents must seek immediate medical attention, even if they feel fine initially, as many invisible injuries can have delayed symptoms. Additionally, documenting all medical visits, symptoms, and treatments is essential for insurance claims and potential legal action. Suppose you find that you have been injured in a car accident and have suffered injuries as a result, visible or invisible. In that case, you may hire an attorney skilled in personal injury law in Georgia.  Gautreaux Law, LLC has attorneys with years of experience who can help you with your negotiations or legal action. Contact our office for an initial complimentary consultation.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.