Car accidents can be extremely dangerous, and they can leave you with an incredibly serious injury, or can even be fatal. If the accident is minor, it’s probable that you’ll be a bit luckier, and you will walk away with a minor injury or no injury at all.
However, with the adrenaline, the panic, and the nerves of the moment, it is very common to accidentally overlook an injury or to write it down as being a lot more minor than what it actually is.
That’s why it’s important to check your body for any injuries, or pain, during the days after a car accident, even if you believe you didn’t get any at all. They could simply be taking some time to develop, and it’s important that you stay on the safe side!
If the car accident is big or serious, medical services will probably be called to the site, and your injuries will be checked out then and there.
But if it was a minor accident, you might just decide to treat the pain or soreness yourself, which is usually fine, but it could potentially lead to problems down the line.
How long should you be sore after a car accident? When is it time to go to the doctor? Let’s answer all these questions!
Recovery time for common car accident injuries:
The amount of time for which you should remain sore after a car accident completely depends on the type of injury that you suffered. More serious injuries might have you end up in the hospital, in which case you might suffer the consequences for months or even years!
However, with the minor injuries, the average time of recovery tends to be around 6 weeks. Of course, this time can still vary from injury to injury, and even from person to person, as we all heal differently.
Here are some of the most common minor injuries that are suffered during a car accident, and the average recovery time they should take:
Whiplash is one of the most common minor injuries caused by a car accident, especially if the accident involved a rear-end collision. Immediately after the accident, if you’ve suffered whiplash, you will notice that your neck, shoulders, and arms feel tingly.
It is only a day or two after the accident when the proper pain and soreness of whiplash will kick in, so that’s when you’ll know for sure. Your neck will feel very sore, and it will hurt to move it.
You might also get headaches and feel weak. Luckily, whiplash gets better by itself, and should no longer cause you any issues after just a few weeks.
In a car accident, your body will usually tense up in order to brace for impact. This actually puts the muscles at risk, as it causes them to take more damage.
Whether you’ve received a hard impact, crashed against the seatbelt, or fallen around the car, you can get muscle soreness in almost any muscle during a car accident.
Usually, this soreness will begin to decrease after a few days, and you should not have any soreness after around 6 weeks have passed.
Sprains or Strains
Sprains and strains to your ligaments and body parts are another highly common injury that people tend to suffer during a minor car accident. Usually in hands, arms, or legs.
Unless these sprains and strains are serious and in need of medical attention, they should heal by themselves within a time frame of around 6 weeks. Just make sure to rest your body, and not force it while it heals!
It is super common to get a few bruises when you’re involved in a minor accident, as they can be caused by many different impacts. Whether it’s from crashing into your seatbelt, crashing into the airbag, or impacting your body against any item or object, a bruise is likely.
Luckily, even the nasties-looking bruises tend to heal by themselves, within just a few weeks. They will start to look worse a few days after the accident, but should then take a turn for the better and begin to fade.
Should you go to the doctor?
Being sore and experiencing aches and pains within the first few weeks after a car accident is normal, as your body requires some time to heal and process the trauma. However, if you’re still experiencing soreness after 6 weeks, we highly recommend that you go and visit your doctor. It could be that the injury is much worse than it seems, or that you’ve gotten used to the pain and are therefore unaware of how serious it actually is.
It is actually quite recommended that you go to the doctor straight after an accident takes place, or at least within the following days, even if you’re not particularly worried about your minor injuries. It’s safer to get a full check-up, as the doctor might spot something that you’re unable to see.
You should also go to the doctor if any of your minor injuries don’t start to feel better after the first few days or weeks. If the pain is getting worse, or you’re developing new symptoms, don’t wait the full 6 weeks before seeking help, as it might be something serious. You should also absolutely go and visit the doctor if you feel disoriented, develop nausea, can’t breathe as well, or if the soreness is interfering with your day-to-day in any way.
If you’ve suffered any minor injuries during a car accident, you should feel sore for no more than 6 weeks.
After 6 weeks, all of the minor injuries most commonly caused by an accident should have healed by themselves. If you’re still sore after this time frame, or the injuries have gotten worse, you 100% need to go and see the doctor get it checked out.
Regardless of this, it is highly recommended that you get a doctor check-up anyways, if you’re not troubled by the minor injuries. Better to be on the safe side!