Each year drivers travel more than 282 billion miles on Texas roadways each year. Given the volume of traffic, it is not surprising that statistics show there is a motor vehicle accident nearly every minute. Vehicle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. While some fortunate victims only suffer minor aches and pains, many suffer serious injuries, and, unfortunately, more than 3,000 people lose their lives each year.
When a victim of a car accident suffers an injury, of course, their first priority should be their physical recovery. However, depending on the severity of your injury, physical recovery may be an extensive, time-consuming process. While you are recovering from your injuries, you may have to miss time from work. The more serious the injury, the longer it will take to fully physically recover.
Lower-Extremity Injury Recovery
Lower extremity injuries are commonly sustained when a seat belt comes unlatched during an accident. Victims may suffer a broken bone, sprains, or strains, all of which require different recovery times. A strain or sprain may only require a week or so to physically recover.
Treatment is usually simple, involving ice, rest, and refraining from physical activity. Broken bones, however, will take a minimum of six to eight weeks to fully heal, provided there are no complications. Victims who suffer more serious fractures may require surgery and physical therapy before they are fully recovered.
Back and Spinal Cord Injury Recovery
As we discuss various accident injuries, keep in mind that every person heals differently and every injury is unique. Back and spinal cord injuries tend to require complex medical and legal action. Minor back pain after a car injury typically results from your body being thrust forward upon impact in a collision. For some, minor back pain may subside within a few days of the accident. However, more serious back injuries, including bulging or slipped discs, can cause extreme pain and potentially manifest periodic pain for the rest of your life.
Spinal cord injuries are almost always very serious. If you have sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident, you can expect an extensive recovery period. Spinal cord injuries are complicated. Depending on the severity of the injury, some victims may never regain even basic motor functioning. Some victims of spinal cord injury will suffer neck pain, back pain, while others will suffer complete or partial paralysis.
Internal Injury Recovery
Commonly, victims of car accidents suffer internal injuries. The recovery time for internal injuries can vary significantly from person-to-person. Internal injuries are particularly dangerous because they may not exhibit symptoms until days or weeks after an accident.
In many cases, these injuries are minor and the pain will last only a few days. However, in serious cases, you could suffer internal organ damage that could threaten your life Your recovery time could range from a few days to several months, depending on how serious the internal injury is. If your injuries require surgical repair, you can expect a much longer recovery period.
Fortunately, in many cases, applying compression and ice packs, along with mild pain medications will help alleviate your symptoms. However, you must make sure you do not rush the healing process. Attempting to be active before you are healed can compromise your recovery.
Whiplash injuries are complicated because victims typically have no physical signs of trauma. Normally, victims of car accidents will notice discomfort within 24 hours of a car accident. Other victims may not experience symptoms of whiplash for weeks following the accident.
Whiplash injuries can cause blurry vision, back pain, ringing in the ears, sleep disruptions, and chronic pain. Many people recover from mild whiplash injuries within a couple of weeks. In some cases, victims may suffer discomfort, sleep interruption, and other side effects for months after an accident. Your physician should be advised immediately should you develop any additional symptoms after you are diagnosed with a whiplash injury.
Knee Trauma Recovery
You may not think about potential damage to your knees during a car accident. However, the forward trajectory of your body in a rear-end collision can cause significant damage to your knees. If you are driving the vehicle, your knees could be jammed up against your steering column. If you are a passenger, your knees could be jammed into the glove compartment or underneath the dashboard. Knee pain may not appear for a few days following an accident, and bruising may serve as the only initial clue.
Because your knee is a delicate joint surrounded by ligaments and tendons, the pain can be excruciating. Recovery time could be complicated if your knee is swollen. For those who work in an environment which requires them to be on their feet, or walk a great deal, recovery times can be lengthy. Surgery may need to repair the damage, which can extend your recovery time.
Chest Injury Recovery
You may take all the proper precautions and think you have escaped a car accident with only a few bruises on your chest from your seat belt. However, a few days after the accident you notice you are experiencing difficulty taking deep breaths.
Always seek a medical evaluation. A physician may discover that you have suffered chest contusions, which can be serious injuries. Depending on the severity of your chest contusions, your doctor may recommend you stay home from work while your body has a chance to heal. The healing process could take several days or several weeks, depending on the extent of the contusions.
Be Patient, Work With Your Doctors, and Hire a Car Accident Attorney
There is no standard recovery time for injuries suffered during a car accident. Factors that can affect the amount of time an individual requires to fully recover may include an individual’s physical condition before the accident, the severity of the accident they were involved in, and even their mental state.
You should not push yourself to return to work without consulting with your physician. A physician is qualified to determine whether you have made enough progress to safely return to work. Taking on too much too soon can compromise your recovery and result in long-term health issues.
Following a car accident, you probably have several questions about your injuries and what legal rights you are entitled to. You can always contact a car accident attorney to find the answers to your questions. The longer you expect your physical recovery to take, the more you will need an advocate to help you through the process will become.