How Long Should You Be Sore After a Car Accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident, right after the impact you may feel shaken up but not in any pain. You might experience some soreness within a day or two of the crash, but it goes away within a short time, and over-the-counter pain relievers alleviate the effects.

However, if you were involved in a car accident and the soreness and general discomfort persist for more than several days, you may very well suffer from a more serious condition. How long the soreness lasts depends on the severity of your injuries. Never wait and expect the soreness to vanish on its own. A Lafayette personal injury lawyer at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can hold those responsible for your injuries liable, so you receive the compensation you deserve.

Seek Medical Attention

After any car accident, even a fender bender, seek medical attention as soon as possible. A proper diagnosis and prompt treatment can lessen the amount of time spent suffering the after-effects of the car accident. Seeking immediate treatment is also important from an insurance company viewpoint, as delaying treatment can cause the insurer to allege that your injuries were not serious or that they did not result from the car accident.

Soreness after a car accident often lasts up to six weeks after a car crash or longer. Follow the advice of your healthcare provider, not only for your own sake but because failure to do so is another issue the insurance company may use against you. A doctor can monitor your pain and progress, and send you for further testing if your pain and impairment does not diminish within a reasonable amount of time.

Basic testing for those involved in a car accident may include:

  • X-rays
  • Range of motion tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


One of the most common causes of long-term car accident soreness is whiplash. The renowned Mayo Clinic describes whiplash as a “neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Most often, whiplash occurs when a vehicle, generally moving at low speed, rear-ends another car. The impact can cause the driver and other occupants in the front seat of the vehicle to experience the rapid back-and-forth head and neck movement.

Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms usually do not appear for a day or two after the collision. Besides muscle soreness, whiplash symptoms may include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Jaw pain
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision

Whiplash Treatment

In most cases, patients diagnosed with whiplash recover in a month or so. Whiplash treatment may include:

  • Massage
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Neck exercises
  • Chiropractic

Besides the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as naproxen or ibuprofen, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants for short-term use. However, for some whiplash victims, the pain lasts for a long time, interfering with driving, employment, participating in normal activities, and negatively affecting quality of life.

In some cases, whiplash becomes chronic. This may require nerve block injections for pain relief or even disc surgery. The medical expenses keep piling up, and if you cannot work, household bills may go unpaid.

Other Soreness Causes

While whiplash is among the most frequent causes of soreness after a car accident, it is far from the only one. Other possible reasons for such soreness include:

  • Disc injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Sprained or strained joints and tendons
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Hairline fractures

A personal injury attorney protects your rights and negotiates with the insurance company on your behalf. Most cases are settled, but Bart Bernard will go to trial, if necessary.

Contact a car accident lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident because of the actions or inactions of another driver, you need the services of an experienced Lafayette car accident lawyer at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. Call us at any time or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits in Louisiana is just one year from the date of the accident, so time is of the essence. We will review your case and advise you of your options. There is never a fee unless we win.