Injuries That May Have Delayed Signs After A Car Accident

car accident

Unfortunately, car accidents are common on California’s roads and highways. These accidents can happen due to various factors, including distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, and adverse weather conditions. Understanding the dynamics of car accidents is crucial for both prevention and seeking legal recourse in case of injuries.

In California, traffic laws are governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC). These laws outline rules and regulations regarding speed limits, right-of-way, traffic signals, and other aspects of safe driving. Violating these laws can result in citations or criminal charges, depending on the severity of the offense.

Injuries That May Have Delayed Symptoms

Injuries sustained in car accidents can be wide-ranging and may vary in severity. Some of the most common injuries include whiplash, fractures, concussions, lacerations, and internal organ damage. The force of impact and the position of the occupants in the vehicle often determine the type and extent of injuries sustained.


While some injuries may manifest immediately following a car accident, others may have delayed symptoms. One example is whiplash, which occurs due to the rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck during a collision. Symptoms of whiplash, such as neck pain and stiffness, may not appear until hours or even days after the accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are another type of injury that may not have immediate symptoms. In some cases, the signs of a TBI, such as headaches, dizziness, and cognitive difficulties, may not become apparent until days or weeks after the accident. It’s essential to seek medical attention promptly to diagnose and treat these injuries effectively.

In addition to whiplash and traumatic brain injuries, several other types of injuries commonly associated with car accidents may have delayed signs or symptoms.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as strains, sprains, and bruises, may not always present immediate symptoms. These injuries affect muscles, ligaments, and tendons and can result from the sudden jerking motion experienced during a collision. While pain and swelling may develop over time, it’s not uncommon for these symptoms to be masked initially by adrenaline and shock.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries, including internal bleeding, organ damage, and abdominal injuries, can be hazardous as they may not be apparent immediately following a car accident. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness may gradually worsen as internal bleeding or organ damage progresses. Prompt medical evaluation is crucial for diagnosing and treating these potentially life-threatening injuries.

Psychological Trauma

Car accidents can also cause emotional and psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These injuries may not manifest physically but can significantly impact an individual’s mental well-being and quality of life. It’s essential to seek support from mental health professionals if you experience symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, or difficulty concentrating following a car accident.

Even if you initially feel fine after a car accident, it’s not uncommon for pain to develop hours or days later. This delayed onset of pain can occur due to inflammation or swelling of injured tissues, exacerbating symptoms over time. It’s essential to monitor your condition closely and seek medical attention if you experience any new or worsening symptoms following an accident.

Understanding that not all injuries are immediately apparent underscores the importance of seeking medical attention after a car accident, even if you believe you were not seriously injured. Prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional can ensure early detection and treatment of injuries, as well as provide valuable documentation for insurance claims or legal proceedings. Ignoring or downplaying symptoms in the aftermath of a car accident can have serious consequences for your health and well-being in the long run.

The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention Immediately After An Accident

Regardless of whether you feel injured after a car accident, seeking medical attention is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, some injuries, as mentioned earlier, may not present immediate symptoms but can worsen over time if left untreated. Prompt medical evaluation can ensure early detection and proper treatment of these injuries.

Additionally, seeking medical attention creates a documented record of your injuries, which can be vital for insurance claims or legal proceedings. Delaying medical treatment may weaken your case and make it more challenging to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

California Car Accident Injuries FAQs

What should I do immediately after a car accident in California?

After a car accident, the priority is to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. Call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed. Contact and insurance information with the other parties involved and gather evidence, such as photographs and witness statements.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim after a car accident in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, it’s essential to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure compliance with all legal deadlines and requirements. Some statutes of limitations may shorten time to as little as 6 months!

Can I still recover compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?

California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that you can still recover compensation for your injuries even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your compensation may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can help assess your case and determine the best course of action.

Car accidents can result in a myriad of injuries, some of which may not exhibit immediate symptoms. Seeking medical attention promptly after an accident is critical for early diagnosis and treatment of injuries and for establishing a documented record of your injuries for insurance or legal purposes. Understanding your rights and responsibilities under California law can help protect your interests and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve in the aftermath of a car accident.

Contact Our Inland Empire Car Accident Lawyer For Exceptional Representation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence in Orange County, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local law firm near you. Schedule a complimentary legal consultation today to explore how we can help safeguard our clients’ legal rights. Our dedicated Inland Empire car accident lawyer is committed to advocating for a client’s fair compensation. Contact Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. at (888) 883-6588 to receive your free potential case review and to begin the process of recovery.

How Vicarious Liability Can Impact Your California Car Accident Case

car accident

If you were hurt in a car accident in California, you might be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Suppose the negligent driver was working for his employer during the accident. Learn more about vicarious liability in California car accidents in this article. Contact our Orange County car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Joseph Richards P.C. for assistance.

What Is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that states that a party can be held indirectly responsible for an injury even if they did not directly cause it. For example, in California, a person or entity may be held vicariously liable for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and property damages after a car accident.

This is critical because the vicariously liable party could have more insurance coverage and assets than the person who caused the accident. But vicarious liability is restricted to situations where the person or entity has a legal relationship with the individual who caused the accident. For example, in California, there are three common scenarios where vicarious liability is a factor:

Where an employer is vicariously liable for the actions of an employee. For example, if a delivery van driver hits you at a traffic light and breaks your arm, you might hold the employer liable for the worker’s negligence. This is important because the company probably has more insurance coverage than the individual employee.

Parental liability for injuries and damages their children cause. For example, if a 16-year-old runs a red light and hits you in a crosswalk, you may be able to hold his parents liable in a car accident lawsuit.

The Tracy Morgan Case

A famous example of vicarious liability in action was the severe accident that comedian Tracy Morgan experienced in 2014. A Walmart truck driver hit Morgan’s limo at high speed on the New Jersey Turnpike, leaving him in a coma with critical injuries.

Morgan suffered a concussion, broken nose, ribs, and leg. A friend was killed and two others were also hurt. The truck driver that rear-ended the limo was going 20 MPH over the speed limit and did not stop in heavy traffic.

Instead of suing the truck driver, Morgan’s attorney filed a personal injury lawsuit against Walmart because his legal team argued that the company was vicariously liable for the accident. The case was ultimately settled for approximately $90 million.

Vicarious Liability In California For Employee Negligence

California law provides that if someone is driving a car to do their work duties or do something for the employer, that employer may be liable for injuries that happen in a car accident the employee causes. In addition, the employer may be responsible for torts that the worker commits if they were working when the accident occurred.

Note that vicarious liability applies to private companies and public entities. Also, if you suffer an injury in a car accident caused by an employee’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation in a claim or lawsuit.

The Independent Contractor Exception

The employer is vicariously liable for their employees’ negligence in auto accidents. However, the employee and employer relationship differs from that between the employer and an independent contractor. Therefore, the employer is not vicariously liable if an independent contractor causes a car accident.

For instance, suppose you are hit in an Orange County crosswalk by an independent contractor delivering flowers. Because the workers are not direct employees of the company, you cannot sue the employer for damages. Instead, you can only file a claim against the driver and his personal auto insurance policy. If there are questions about whether a driver is an employee or an independent contractor, your attorney will investigate this matter.

The defense attorney may try to argue that the employee was not really an employee. Instead, he was an intern, part-time, or contract worker. Your attorney will need strong evidence to show the worker was an employee in this situation. 

Was The Driver Acting Within the Scope Of Employment?

The employer of the driver who caused the accident could be vicariously liable for the accident if he acted within the scope of employment when it happened. However, the company attorney may try to argue that the worker was not working at the time of the accident. How do you know if he was working or not?

It helps to begin with this question: Was the worker doing his job when the crash happened? If so, the worker was likely acting within the scope of employment at the time. In most car accidents, the critical factor is if driving is part of the workers’ daily job duties. This does not mean the worker has to drive daily as part of his job. It simply means that the workers’ job duties require them to drive at least some of the time.

Another question that can be raised is whether the worker was doing something during the accident to benefit his company. For example, was he doing something for the company or engaged in a personal activity at the moment of the accident?

For instance, if the employee was driving to lunch when he hit you, this may be argued to be a personal activity under the doctrines of frolic and detour. So, the employer may not be held vicariously liable. But if the worker was making a delivery when he rear-ended you at the red light, the employer will probably be found liable.

Remember that driving to and from work is not usually considered acting within the scope of employment. But if the worker made job-related stops while driving home from work, your attorney will argue that the driving was for the company’s benefit.

Speak To An Orange County Car Accident Lawyer Today

Were you injured in a car accident in Orange County near Disneyland Park or Knott’s Berry Farm? If the negligent driver was working at the time of the accident, vicarious liability could be a factor in your potential case. Law Office of Joseph Richards P.C. can help victims get the compensation they deserve. Please contact our Orange County car accident lawyer now at (888) 883-6588 for a complimentary consultation about your potential case.