When you get in a car collision, your initial reaction may simply be thankfulness to be alive. Indeed, many collisions end in fatality, so if you are still breathing, you are fortunate. The shock of the situation and the rush of feelings often precede awareness of any physical injuries, though, and you may not immediately realize you have sustained an injury.
Whether the collision was minor or serious, your body has been through trauma, though signs might not be apparent until much later. There are several reasons this is a common occurrence, so if your symptoms arrive late, you should not discount their legitimacy.
Rush of adrenaline
Adrenaline is a hormone in the human body that triggers a fight-or-flight response. It is released when you experience a traumatic, painful or surprising incident, and car collisions are often all the above. The chemical reaction that follows suppresses pain receptors throughout the body, so it is entirely natural you would not feel an injury immediately after being in an collision.
Bruising appears later
According to the Wound Care Society, it may take up to one to two days for a bruise to begin developing. It could take even longer than that until the bruise is visibly discolored and noticeable. A person who did not think he or she had been injured in a car collision might wake up sore with black and blue bruises a few days later. Even if your bruises appear late, they are an indication you should seek medical treatment for apparent injuries.
Effect of bad advice
When emergency responders and police arrive on the scene of the collision, they may offer an informal assessment of your condition. Without meaning to, they might even discourage you from seeking the immediate medical care you need. You are not to blame if you inadvertently neglect treatment on the basis of such comments.