two people experiencing physical pain after car accident

If you were in a car accident, one of your first questions is probably: How long before I’m better? We’re not doctors, so we can’t answer that, but we can share some of the patterns we see clients experience physically after a car accident.


Days and weeks after a car accident


The body takes a lot of force in a car accident. Airbags deploy, glass breaks, and metal bends. People often don’t realize the full extent of their injuries until a few weeks have passed. Unfortunately, insurance companies often use this to their advantage. Here’s how it plays out. 


  • John Smith is in a car accident. John goes to the emergency room and reports his most obvious injury – a broken arm. Because he is so focused on his arm, he doesn’t report his more subtle injury, some soreness in his back. 
  • John has surgery to repair his arm and over the next couple of weeks his arm starts to feel better. However, his back pain doesn’t improve. In fact, it gets worse. A few weeks pass before John decides he needs to go to the doctor for his back. 
  • John informs his insurance company that he is seeing a doctor for his back, because of the accident. The insurance company refuses to pay his doctor bill because “he didn’t hurt his back in the crash,” because he didn’t report it. He must have hurt it somewhere else. He must be faking or lying. 




After a traumatic car crash, it’s hard to think clearly. So many thoughts are running through your head. “I have to call my family.” “I have to call my boss.” “Who’s going to pick up the kids?” But remember, the sooner you report your injuries, the better. It will help to prevent the insurance company and defense lawyers from questioning your injuries. 


Months after a car accident


Months after a car crash your medical treatment starts to get specialized. Initially, you will see primary care doctors. They may give you medications and tell you to rest. Sometimes that solves the problem, but not always; not if you are dealing with a more serious injury.  


Many primary care doctors will allow some time to pass before referring a person to a specialist, to see if the physical injury heals. If it doesn’t, they will make a referral to a specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. These doctors are busy, and several months can pass before a car accident victim sees a specialist. 


Even after you see a specialist, things may take time. Specialists typically start with conservative treatment and order more intensive or invasive treatment, like surgery, if the patient’s problems don’t resolve. 


Here is a common example. A patient goes to see an orthopedic surgeon for back pain after a car accident. The orthopedic surgeon prescribes some physical therapy. The patient does therapy for about eight weeks. Unfortunately, therapy is not successful. The back pain continues. The doctor refers the patient to a pain specialist who recommends some injections. Injections are medicine designed to control the pain. The injections help, but they don’t completely correct the problem. The orthopedic surgeon then orders an MRI. The MRI shows a herniated disk in the back. Because the more conservative treatments have not corrected the problem, the orthopedic surgeon recommends surgery. This process often takes several months. 


This is often frustrating for car crash victims. You want to know what is going on and you want to get back to normal quickly. But the best you can do is continue to follow your doctor’s advice. We often see clients at this stage begin to show signs of depression and anxiety. Chronic pain sucks, and it takes a huge toll on a person physically and mentally. If you are in this position, and you are struggling, know you’re not alone. 


Years after the crash


Hopefully, your car accident injuries resolve quickly. But for some people, that doesn’t happen. Even with significant treatment, some injuries can be long lasting and cause permanent harms and losses. People with these types of injuries often deal with depression and anxiety. 


Chronic pain caused by a car crash wears on a person. It’s always there. It nags at them. It’s a day in and day out frustration. Then an insurance company says these changes aren’t a big deal. It’s an incredibly frustrating situation. 


Everyone deserves to be heard. 


Our job as personal injury lawyers is to sit with people, at any of these stages, and really listen to them, so that we can communicate their harms, losses, and stories. You deserve that. 

Call or contact Conybeare Law Office now to talk with an experienced car accident lawyer

A car accident is a scary, painful, and traumatic experience. It can be difficult to know who to talk to after a crash, but having an experienced Michigan car accident attorney can help alleviate much of the stress and uncertainty that comes after an accident. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you understand your rights so you feel like you in are in control, and they will fight to get you the money you deserve. To learn more about the wide range of legal services offered to our Michigan car accident clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and proudly serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. Remember, if it’s not fair, call the bear.