A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Fender benders and other minor car accidents: When should you seek care?

Vehicle accidents happen almost daily. When you find yourself in a minor automobile crash like someone rear-ends your car, or you are side swiped by another vehicle, chances are you may walk away with some bumps and bruises, and a sore neck.

Two cartoon characters after a fender bender - Should you see a doctor after minor car accidents?

After a minor accident, watch for signs and symptoms that something major could be wrong with your health.

But, what if a few days go by and your body is still hurting from the accident and something just doesn’t feel right?

“It can be difficult even for someone with training to decide who should be seen after minor car accidents and who can safely go home,” said Dr. Nathan Blankenheim, a Marshfield Clinic Health System emergency medicine physician.

Watch for these symptoms

Here is a list of symptoms to watch for after minor car accidents. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek care immediately:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bleeding
  • Chest or abdominal pain or bruising
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Vision changes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Back pain
  • Inability to walk either due to pain or weakness

Blankenheim also recommends that if you were in an accident going faster than 40 mph, you should seek emergency department care to rule out any serious injuries. Contact your primary care provider if you have any other concerns.

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