How Long Should You Be Sore After a Car Accident?By Stewart J. Guss on March 24th, 2020
When you survive a car accident, you count your lucky stars – but you still have problems on your plate. In addition to grappling with property damage and bills, you’re bound to feel sore after getting into a car accident.
The question lots of car accident victims want answered, however, is how LONG should I feel sore? A day? A week? A MONTH?
This answer is different for everyone, but we can provide some info. (If injuries linger and you need to keep going back to the doctor, it pays to hire a car accident lawyer to help you recoup those costs.)
How Long Recovery Times Can Last
Injuries from vehicle accidents nationwide cost $44 billion dollars, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s a lot of aches, pains, and downtime.
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
Broken bones are one of the most common car accident injuries. Obviously, breaking a bone – any bone – hurts a lot. Most of the time, the pain from a clean break goes away as the broken bones knit back together over the course of the next 4 to 8 weeks.
But NOT always.
How long soreness persists depends upon the severity of the fracture. Some broken bones need surgery or pins to set them properly. The more extreme the medical intervention needed to put you back together, the longer you can expect soreness to stick around. Unfortunately, some breaks are so bad that they can cause chronic pain that lasts long after the bones themselves mend.
Cuts and Bruises
Even a minor fender bender can leave you with cuts and bruises. The soreness and inconvenience of these injuries should not be brushed off lightly.
How long should soreness last? For the most part, it depends on the severity of the cuts and bruises. Deep cuts may need surgery and stitches to fully heal, or you may need doctors to remove glass or debris from your wounds. If this is the case, you may stay sore and uncomfortable much longer than an injury you can mend with a Band-Aid and some Neosporin.
Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injury occurs when tendons, ligaments, and muscles sustain damage in a crash. What kind of damage? Think strains, sprains, bruises, tears, or slipped discs. In general, the worse the damage, the longer the pain will stick around.
One common form of soft tissue injury involves damage to the soft structures of the neck and shoulders. Pain from a soft tissue injury can last a lifetime: Soft tissue injuries notoriously inflict lasting, chronic pain, especially if they are not properly treated with medical intervention and physical therapy. It’s important to realize that treatments that relieve the pain are not necessarily healing the injury. You may feel relief if you put ice on a sore tendon, but ice does not actually heal the injured tissue. Tendons may heal with rest and time. How long that takes depends on a wide variety of factors, including your age, diet, lifestyle, and dedication to physical therapy.
The three types of injuries above all cause “soreness,” which is to say, a persistent tenderness or ache that is less than extreme pain but more than mild discomfort. Of course, those three injuries are just the tip of the iceberg of the harm a car accident can cause.
Car accident victims can sustain other injuries that inflict even more serious pain:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal injuries
In other words, pretty much any car accident injury can leave you in physical – and emotional – discomfort. Your pain levels could range from extreme agony to mild annoyance. The length of time you feel pain will vary widely based on the nature of the injury, the extent of the medical interventions needed to treat it, and all of those other factors we mentioned above (age, health, etc.).
4 Reasons to See a Doctor Immediately After a Car Accident
No matter what kind of injury you may have suffered, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you don’t feel injured.
First, just because you don’t “feel” injured does not mean you avoided injury. Only a doctor can tell whether you are hurt after examining you.
Believe it or not, accident victims frequently feel unaffected by a car accident in the moments afterward, only to discover they have sustained a severe or even life-threatening injury.
Broken ribs, for example, don’t necessarily feel sore at first—and broken ribs can puncture your lungs if they are broken in a certain place. Traumatic brain injuries and internal bleeding don’t show symptoms at first, either. Even a spinal cord injury can take time to develop symptoms.
How do these things go unnoticed?
After a car accident, adrenaline is pumping through your body.
This hormone can mask pain for days – until it’s too late.
Seek prompt medical examination after a car accident. Never gamble with your life just because you feel “okay.”
Second, a doctor can check you out thoroughly for injuries and prescribe proper treatment. When you think your ankle is simply bruised, a doctor might see it sustained a hairline fracture. If it’s not properly diagnosed and treated, this will leave you with chronic arthritis. Why risk your long-term health and comfort by trying to treat an injury with home remedies that might only make your condition worse?
Third, if you take legal action for compensation from the party who caused the car accident, you will need EVIDENCE to support your claims. It’s not as simple as “I got hurt. Pay me.” You need proof, and doctor visits can provide that proof in the form of medical records. This will document the connection between your physical injury and the car crash that preceded them.
Fourth, piggybacking off the previous point: If you do not see a doctor right away, an insurance company or the at-fault party in a lawsuit could try to argue that you did not sustain your injury in the crash at all, or if so, that the injury did not do as much harm as you claim. They will push the narrative that if you had really gotten hurt, you would have gone straight to a doctor. Do not fall prey to such an obvious argument. Go see a doctor.
What if My Soreness Doesn’t Go Away?
Persistent soreness is a cause for concern, and no one can determine the cause of your pain except for a doctor. You may need x-rays or MRIs to get to the bottom of the matter. Don’t suffer a moment more – seek a medical examination as soon as you can.
What Does Soreness Have to Do With Damage Compensation?
The length of time you remain sore after an accident can affect your damage compensation in a car accident.
Getting hurt in a car accident caused by someone else entitles you to compensation from the “at-fault” party. Also, as a general rule, the more hurt you get, the more money you have the right to receive as compensation.
The compensation you might receive for a car accident injury can include:
- Medical costs. An at-fault party should pay ALL of your medical bills, whether they are from doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, surgical centers, pharmacies, or medical device companies. If a doctor prescribes physical therapy to relieve soreness or you have to buy medication for pain relief, someone should pay for that, too.
- Lost wages and future earning potential. If an injury causes you to miss work while you heal, or disables you in a way that prevents you from going back to your old job temporarily or permanently, then an at-fault party should pay for your lost income. Soreness can play a major role in your ability to work, even if your profession doesn’t require physical labor. Standing or sitting in one position for too long can irritate many injuries.
- Pain and suffering. You deserve compensation for your life having been made worse by a car accident injury. This means getting paid not just for the bills you incur, but for the generalized decay of your quality of life after a car accident injury. Prolonged soreness, especially, can cause lasting suffering for which you deserve to get paid.
These represent just a few of the categories of damages you might recover in a car accident injury claim. As a general proposition, the more soreness an injury leaves you with, the more money you should receive as compensation.
How much money? Well, it varies. Every patient’s medical bill will be different. Lost wages depend on how much you earn, and how much time you miss from work. Finally, pain and suffering represents a more abstract cost—one that does not come with a price tag—so it can vary as well.
Keep in mind, too, that how much money you get for your soreness can also depend on how much money the person who hurt you has available, either in the form of insurance or assets. If a commercial driver for a company with $2 million in liability coverage caused your accident, then your claim might have a higher value than if you sustained injuries in an accident with a taxi driver who carries only the state minimum coverage.
Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer to figure out the damages you might expect to get for your crash-related soreness.
How Can I Pursue Damages for Soreness?
An experienced car accident injury lawyer can help you pursue damages for soreness.
How do they do it, exactly?
They investigate and determine liability, then negotiate on your behalf for payment from those liable parties (often an insurance company.) Our goal is to see you walk away with a fair settlement. When that doesn’t work, we take your cases all the way to court and present our arguments for compensation to judges and juries.
You deserve the best full-service legal representation. You deserve a personal injury lawyer who will fight for you. You deserve compensation for your soreness, no matter how long it lasts.
You’ve dealt with enough pain already – let us make the legal process painless.
To get started on seeking compensation for your car accident injuries and related soreness, contact an experienced car accident attorney today for a 100% free case evaluation.