A car accident can be a traumatic experience for anyone, both emotionally and physically. Even if you only suffered a minor injury, you should expect to be sore for at least a few days following the accident. However, there are times when some injuries could take longer to heal. With any injury, you want the recovery to happen as soon as possible.
The extent of your injury plays a major role in how long your pain will last, but there are other factors as well. Your age, the type of injury, as well as what happened in the car accident all influence how long you will recover.
If you are wearing a seat belt, the seat belt will restrain your body to help prevent a severe injury. If you are not wearing a seat belt, then something else must stop your body from moving when the car stops, such as the dashboard or the steering wheel, which can cause a catastrophic injury. When your body comes to a complete stop, the momentum of the accident can affect your internal organs, which can lead to internal organ damage.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
Your age and overall health will also determine the severity of your injury. Younger people will generally heal quicker than the elderly. People with poor health cannot heal as quickly as well. For example, a person with a pre-existing condition like an autoimmune disease will take longer to heal, even if the accident is minor.
Most mild injuries take a few days to a few weeks to heal. On average, a car accident injury takes about six weeks to heal, but each injury is different. You cannot predict the recovery time of your injury, so it is important to get medical help as soon as possible.
Although many factors can determine the severity of your injury, some injuries are more common than others. Common car accident injuries include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is common in rear-end accidents, where the head moves forward and back in a violent motion. This causes back and neck soreness, disc pain, and shoulder and arm pain. Whiplash is generally not felt immediately, rather, it takes hours or days after the accident to show up. If you have whiplash, your injury may take up to a few weeks or longer to heal.
- Soft tissue injuries: There are many different types of soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, sprains, and strains. These injuries can take weeks or even months to heal.
- Back or neck injuries: The impact of a car accident can cause the discs in your spine to shift and go out of alignment. More serious accidents can cause major back injuries, such as ruptured discs. The recovery time of a back injury varies, but most take about six to 12 weeks to heal if surgery is not needed.
- Broken bones: In most cases, broken bones take six to eight weeks to heal. However, the severity of the injury can cause a longer recovery period.
It is imperative to seek medical attention after any type of car accident. Many injuries take days to appear. Additionally, insurance companies may deny a claim if you take too long to see a doctor after a car accident.
What Are Possible Treatments?
Every injury is unique as well as the treatment plan. Doctors may prescribe the following to treat your car accident injury:
- Over-the-counter pain medications.
- Prescription medications.
- Physical or occupational therapy.
- Epidural injections.
What if My Pain Worsens?
A main reason to seek medical attention immediately after an accident is because a doctor can determine the severity of your injury. Minimal pain can be misleading, and you may be seriously injured without even realizing you are hurt. A doctor can examine you and create a treatment plan, and they can give you a timeframe of your recovery period.
You may find that your pain extends past your estimated healing time. If your pain worsens or does not subside, you should return to the doctor who diagnosed you, as they may have missed something during your initial appointment. You should schedule a follow-up appointment if you are experiencing the same symptoms. It is important to follow the doctor’s orders and go to all follow-up appointments. You should go to the doctor immediately if you have any new symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or if you are having trouble sleeping.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
There are some steps to take following a car accident:
- Seek immediate medical attention. This is the only way you can determine the severity of your injury.
- Document your injury as well as your treatment plan. Keep all medical records.
- You also should contact your insurance company right away. You should notify them of the accident.
- Speak with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer will protect your rights and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury suit.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Provide Legal Help While You Focus on Healing Your Car Accident Injury
Many factors determine the severity of a car accident injury. You should always go to the doctor after an accident, but it is also important to seek legal help if you have a catastrophic injury that was caused by a negligent driver. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your legal options after a collision. Call us today at (302) 427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.