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How Long Should You Be Sore After a Car Accident?

Woman with soreness in neck after accident

You may already know that automobile accidents are among the leading causes of personal injury in the United States. But did you know researchers estimate that vehicle accidents claim one human life every 50 minutes?

Most car accidents result in some form of injury to both the drivers and passengers. If you are suffering from car accident soreness, you’re probably wondering how long you will be sore after a car accident.

It is very common to experience a sore back or a sore neck after a car accident. Whatever the nature of your injuries, it is important you know how long you should expect to remain in pain and when it’s time to get help.

How Long Will I Be Sore After a Car Accident?

A certain amount of pain is normal after a car accident. If it was a severe accident, your body will have experienced major trauma. However, even a minor accident can have significant and lasting effects on the body.

How long should you be feeling sore after a car accident depends on the type of injuries you’ve sustained. There are several factors that can have an effect on the seriousness of your injuries and the length of time it will take you to recover.

These factors can include where you were sitting in the vehicle, whether you were wearing a seatbelt, and whether your airbags went off.

The speed of the crash, the size of your vehicle, and the size of the other vehicle(s) involved may also have an effect on your recovery time. Preexisting injuries can delay recovery.

On average, you can expect to feel some soreness for a few weeks after the accident occurs. Many people who suffer car accident injuries experience prolonged soreness for up to six weeks.

When it comes down to it, the amount of time you experience soreness and pain depends on the nature of your individual injuries.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

It is most likely that if you were involved in a car accident, you have sustained some sort of injury. Many people experience car accident sore neck and back injuries.

Most people benefit from filing an insurance claim for their injuries. Make sure to do some research first or consult with a lawyer before filing any type of claim.

The following are a few of the most common injuries that result from car accidents.


Bruising is the most common car accident injury, especially on the face, limbs, and torso. Airbags, seatbelts, and loose items from inside the car often leave sizeable marks and bruises on car accident victims.

Bruising can take a long time to heal. Deep bruises can take weeks to disappear in their entirety. However, most bruising should have improved after six weeks or so.

Muscle Soreness

In most instances, car accidents come out of nowhere. There isn’t time to prepare or react. The few who do see the accident coming tend to tense up in anticipation of the impact, which can cause increased muscular trauma.

If you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time you might have been thrown around the inside of the vehicle. Getting tossed around during an accident can result in muscle soreness even in a minor accident.

Muscle soreness can also result from the force of a seatbelt pressing against the hips and chest. Pay close attention to any pain in your back, arms, legs, and abdomen after a car accident.

Sprains and Strains

Injuries like sprain and strains are most common in drivers due to their close proximity to the steering wheel at the time of the accident. But any passenger can experience a sprained or strained ligament or tendon during an accident.

It isn’t uncommon to continue to experience tenderness up to eight weeks after getting a strain or sprain from a car accident. Most sprains and strains should heal after six weeks.


Whiplash is an injury that occurs most often in rear-end collisions. Whiplash can cause soreness in the shoulders, arms, and neck.

If you have suffered whiplash, you may experience some muscle weakness or tingling sensations around your arms and neck, and some even experience increased headaches and tension headaches.

Whiplash can go unnoticed at first because the effects sometimes do not appear until a day or two after the accident. Most of the time, whiplash symptoms subside after a few weeks.

When Is It Time to See a Doctor?

It is never an overreaction to see a doctor after getting involved in a car accident. Even if you don’t think you are severely injured, even a minor injury can have an effect.

If you experience car accident soreness or think there is a possibility you have been injured in an accident, it would do you well to consult a doctor right away.

It is also possible to have more severe injuries than you are aware of right away. Some serious injuries, such as internal bleeding, can hide in plain sight and have dire consequences if left untreated.

Contact a doctor at the first sign of any delayed injury symptoms, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that doesn’t improve after one week
  • Injuries that haven’t healed after six weeks

Symptoms like disorientation and confusion may indicate the possibility of a traumatic brain injury. It is important to seek medical attention if you’re experiencing these symptoms. They can lead to serious complications. It is also important to get in touch with a traumatic brain injury attorney to get help with your case.

Shortness of breath that occurs when performing regular activities after a car accident is cause for serious concern.

Shortness of breath after an accident could result from chest contusions or broken ribs. Chest contusions can damage the lungs and heart, while broken ribs can easily puncture a lung.

Dizziness and nausea can be normal after a car accident. Many people experience these symptoms when standing up too quickly. If dizziness or nausea symptoms worsen, seek medical treatment.

You should also see a doctor, perhaps for a second time, if your injuries and pain do not improve after one week. You should also return to the doctor if your injuries have not healed after six weeks.

Getting medical attention is the key to recovery. Seeing a doctor will also help you determine whether you will need physical therapy in order to make a full recovery.

What to Do When Injuries Appear Long After a Car Accident

Not everyone involved in a car accident seeks medical attention right away. Likewise, not everyone who is injured in a car accident experiences soreness immediately after the accident occurs.

If your car accident injuries did not require an immediate trip to the emergency room, you may doubt the severity of your condition. This can cause you to push yourself to return to normal activities too soon.

Returning to your routine before your body is ready and can result in exacerbating injuries you weren’t aware you had. In this type of scenario, you might begin to experience pain long after the accident.

If you do begin to experience pain or notice any injuries long after a car accident, there are a few steps you need to take.

Document Your Injuries

Make sure to write down your symptoms and injuries in some form and date the document.

Get Medical Attention

The best way to document your injuries is by consulting with a physician and getting a medical evaluation. Contact a doctor as soon as you notice signs of injury and get an examination to assess the severity of your condition.

Amend Your Insurance Claim

If you’ve already filed an auto insurance claim, contact your auto insurance company and amend it.

You may have already made a claim and listed some injuries you noticed right away after the crash. Make sure to amend the claim to include your new injuries.

Talk to an Attorney

If you haven’t already, consult with an attorney about your next steps. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a car accident injury claim.

When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident

The best time to hire a lawyer for a car accident injury is immediately after the accident occurs. The process of filing a car accident injury claim is complicated and often involves a time-sensitive deadline for filing.

Insurance companies can take advantage of injured parties and rush to settle for a lower amount than they deserve. Once this is done it cannot be undone.

If you want a chance to receive the highest amount of benefits possible, it can be very valuable to have a lawyer to guide you through the process.

An injury lawyer can also help in the event you are feeling sore after an Uber or Lyft accident.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Claim

Over 200,000 injuries from vehicle accidents occur across the state of California every year. Many of these accidents result in life-changing injuries and disabilities like paralysis and permanent brain damage.

If you’ve been injured or are feeling sore after a car accident in California, contact Heidari Law Group for a free consultation and case evaluation.

***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

Sam Heidari

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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