If you are seriously injured in a car accident, emergency services will probably come to the scene and take you to the closest hospital, where you will receive all the medical care you need. But what about seemingly minor car accidents, where there is no immediate pain or noticeable discomfort?

Many times, people involved in car accidents don’t even know they have been injured. One reason for this is that your body responds to pain signals and the stress of the accident by producing morphine-like hormones called endorphins. Endorphins (and adrenaline) mask the pain until your body and mind have had time to recover from the stress of the accident.

A lot of personal injury attorneys have stories about clients coming into their offices saying they felt no pain at the scene of their accident, or later the same day. But the following morning they woke up feeling like they had been run over by a truck. These stories are credible — they’re not examples of healthy people looking for a payout via a lawsuit. It can take several hours, several days or even a week for injuries or serious discomfort to register with a car accident victim. (Learn more about common car accident injuries.)

So, the lesson is this: whenever you feel symptoms of injury after a car accident — pain, numbness, dizziness, not feeling like yourself, whatever it is — get medical care. Don’t assume that your injuries will clear up on their own. Do the safe thing and get checked out.