How Long Does Trauma Last After a Car Accident?


  • Car accident trauma can involve physical injuries as well as emotional issues.
  • Recovery from whiplash, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and other injuries can, in some cases, take months or years.
  • PTSD, anxiety, and survivor’s guilt often require extensive therapy from skilled mental health professionals.
  • An experienced car accident attorney can help victims obtain the compensation they deserve for their physical and emotional trauma.

Experiencing a car accident can have profound and lasting effects on individuals, both physically and mentally.

The duration of car accident trauma varies greatly depending on the severity of the accident, the types of injuries sustained, and individual differences in coping mechanisms and resilience.

The personal injury attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm would like to share some information on some common forms of car accident trauma and how long they last.

We encourage you to take a moment to learn how a skilled lawyer can help if you’ve suffered harm due to another’s negligence. Please call 772-225-5566 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Physical Trauma From Car Accidents Can Have a Lasting Impact on the Body

More than 250,000 people suffered significant injuries in Florida car wrecks in 2023. Car accidents can result in a wide range of physical injuries, varying from cuts and bruises to severe and life-altering trauma.

Understanding the types of physical injuries commonly sustained in car accidents and their typical recovery times can provide insight into the challenges faced by victims as they navigate the healing process.

Whiplash injuries

Whiplash is a common form of car accident trauma, often resulting from rear-end collisions. When one car strikes another from behind, the heads and necks of those in the car being hit violently jerk back and forth.

This movement can severely strain or sprain the neck muscles and ligaments.

Recovery from whiplash typically takes a few weeks to several months, depending on the injury’s severity and the victim’s response to treatment. Medical professionals often prescribe physical therapy, pain management techniques, and rest to aid in recovery.


Car accident trauma can include fractures or breaks in bones throughout the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and spine.

The recovery time for fractures varies depending on the location and severity of the break. Simple fractures may heal within a few weeks with proper immobilization and rest.

More complex fractures may require surgery and months of rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

TBIs occur when the head sustains a sudden impact or jolt, leading to brain tissue damage. The main factor determining recovery time from a TBI is the extent of damage to the brain.

Mild TBIs, such as concussions, may resolve within a few weeks with rest and monitoring, while moderate to severe TBIs may require months or even years of rehabilitation and therapy to regain cognitive and physical function.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Car accidents can also result in spinal cord injuries, ranging from minor nerve damage to severe paralysis. Recovery from spinal cord injuries depends on the location and severity of the nerve damage.

While some individuals may experience partial or complete recovery with intensive rehabilitation, others may face long-term disability and require ongoing medical care and support.

Soft Tissue Injuries

After an auto accident, it is common for occupants to sustain soft tissue injuries. Examples include strains, sprains, and contusions caused by the forceful impact of the collision.

Soft tissue injury recovery typically involves rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), and physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility.

While minor soft tissue injuries may heal within a few weeks, more severe injuries may require months of rehabilitation.

Emotional Trauma is Common in Car Accident Survivors

Car accident trauma isn’t just physical – it can also cause significant emotional trauma. The following is a look at the common types of emotional trauma and their typical recovery times.

This knowledge can help victims recognize and address their mental health needs following a car accident.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a common psychological response to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as a car accident.

Symptoms of PTSD may include intrusive memories or flashbacks of the accident, avoidance of reminders or situations related to the event, negative changes in mood or thoughts, and heightened arousal or reactivity.

While some people with PTSD may experience significant improvement with therapy and support within a few months.

In other cases, car accident survivors grapple with permanent and life-altering mental injuries, aided by ongoing treatment and coping strategies to manage their symptoms effectively.

Anxiety Disorders

Car accidents can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and specific phobias related to driving or being in a car.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders may include excessive worry or fear, panic attacks, physical symptoms such as racing heart or sweating, and avoidance of situations perceived as threatening.

In some cases, victims may experience significant relief with therapy and medication within a few months. Others may require long-term management and support.

Survivor’s Guilt

Survivor’s guilt is a common emotional response for individuals who survive a car accident while others involved do not. Feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame may occur, along with intrusive thoughts or images of the accident and its aftermath.

Recovery from survivor’s guilt can vary depending on individual factors such as the perceived level of responsibility for the accident and access to support and therapy.

Unfortunately, some victims may need ongoing therapeutic guidance and coping strategies to eliminate feelings of guilt and self-blame.

Contact The Eberst Law Firm For Claims Involving Car Accident Trauma

At Eberst Law, we understand that you likely bear physical and emotional scars following a serious car accident. Even if your body heals, it may never be the same.

Our team of personal injury attorneys specializes in helping injured survivors receive financial acknowledgment for their car accident trauma.

We know what is on the line for you, and we will tirelessly pursue compensation for your damages. An attorney with The Eberst Law Firm can help you obtain fair compensation for your physical and emotional car accident trauma.

As accomplished personal injury lawyers, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to fight for clients’ rights. You can use our online form or call 772-225-5566 for a free case review.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it typically take to recover from car accident injuries?

Recovery times vary widely depending on the type and severity of injuries sustained. For example, whiplash may take a few weeks to several months.

On the other hand, recovery from more severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries can take months or even years. Some individuals with catastrophic injuries never fully recover.

What are some common long-term effects of car accident trauma?

Long-term effects may include chronic pain, mobility issues, cognitive impairment, and psychological conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

How can support from friends, family, and professionals aid in recovery?

Social support can provide emotional and practical assistance. For example, having a friend to offer encouragement during physical therapy or drive you to an appointment can be a huge help.

Professional support from therapists, counselors, and support groups can offer coping strategies and guidance for navigating the challenges of recovery.

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Attorney Jon Eberst

Attorney Jon Eberst

Jonathan Eberst, the driving force behind The Eberst Law Firm, is known in his community and across Florida for knowledge and skill in the personal injury industry. Respected for his friendly and help attitude, he has consistently helped thousands of clients, ensuring their rights are upheld. Jon's profound expertise makes him a sought-after voice in the legal community, both online and in-person.

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