Yes. When a symptom of an injury arises is not definitive of a legal claim. While a delayed symptom can impact the causative relationship between a wrongful act (e.g. getting struck by an at-fault driver) and an injury, providing a defense to the claim, it certainly does not alleviate a claim. A long delay between a wrongful act and an injury is more impactful than a short delay in symptoms, but it still does not alleviate the claim itself. The burden of proving causation remains on the injured victim though the determination of whether a wrongful act created the injury is a question of fact solely within the province of a jury or an arbitrator. A judge cannot unilaterally determine this issue and dismiss your claim on the judge’s own volition.
In addition, a delay in symptoms, such as pain or limitation in function is often delayed. It is not uncommon for victims to experience pain or limitations hours or even days following a car accident or other mechanism of injury. This is often attributable to a rush of adrenaline experienced by the injured victim immediately after an accident. In addition, every person’s body and reaction to injury is unique to some extent. Some people feel pain and incur limitations immediately while others often do not start to feel pain or incur limitations for hours or days later.
Symptoms that arise weeks or months later become more difficult to causally relate to the collision, but this does not mean that a medical provider cannot relate it to an accident. Often one injury, such as tremendous pain in a shoulder overshadows another injury, such as less pain in a knee. Thus, while the victim incurred injuries to both a shoulder a knee, the pain in the knee does not become noticeable until the pain in the shoulder lessens.
In other words, there are many reasonable reasons that symptoms do not immediately manifest themselves but can still be related to the initial impact. Again, the injuries sustained are issues to be determined by a trier of fact and this concept is widely understood by all parties involved in a claim at every stage of litigation, including negotiation of a settlement.