why you shouldnt ignore that minor sprain or strain caused by a car accident

Jan 13, 2022

|Auto Accidents


Sprains and strains are common injuries in life. However, a sprain or strain caused by a car accident can be different. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore it.

What is a Strain or Sprain?

Strains and sprains happen to ligaments, muscles, or tendons when you impact, twist, or overextend a joint and damage the tissue. They can range from a slight stretch to a complete tear that requires surgery. Sprains are more common in the ankles and knees while strains often occur in the neck, back, leg, and foot. Symptoms can include pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, swelling, or difficulty flexing. Sprains and strains can impede motion and, depending on the severity, take weeks to heal. While minor sprains and strains can heal on their own, you shouldn’t ignore a sprain or strain caused by a car accident. It could be a sign of something worse or be something else entirely.


The most common, and most ignored, sprain or strain caused by a car accident is whiplash. This injury happens when your head jerks quickly back and forth causing a strain in your neck and shoulder muscles. You might experience neck pain, shoulder pain, limited range of motion, or tingling in your arms. However, symptoms might not show right away, but if they do seek medical attention. If not treated properly, this can lead to chronic pain in your neck, chronic headaches, and even tinnitus.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc happens when the cushions, or disks, that sit between your vertebrae tear. This injury occurs most often in the lower back but can also happen in the neck. You might mistake it as a sprain or strain caused by a car accident due to similar symptoms. If you have a herniated disc, you might be experiencing pain in the back, shoulder, neck, arms, or legs. You could also feel numbness, tingling, or weakness. For a proper diagnosis, seek medical care. Without treatment, it could cause issues with your daily life and lead to chronic pain.


While fractures are different from strains and sprains, they can still be mistaken for one another. Strains, sprains, and fractures all exhibit signs of pain, swelling, and bruising and often can’t be differentiated without x-rays. To know how to treat your injury, you need to know what it is. Fractures often need to be immobilized with a cast or brace, or in extreme cases, screws, rods, or other fixtures to make sure it heals properly. If you have any signs of a sprain or strain after a car accident, seek medical attention to make sure it’s not a fracture.

When in Doubt, Seek Medical Care

If you’re experiencing pain similar to a sprain or strain caused by a car accident, seek medical care and treat it according to the doctor’s orders. A doctor can evaluate your condition and tell you what to look out for. They can also tell you what to do if you see related symptoms and recommend you come in for a follow-up. Unless you are following your doctor’s instructions, do not try to treat it on your own. Some injuries may require professional care or physical therapy to fully recover.

Don’t Forfeit Reimbursement

Another reason you shouldn’t ignore a sprain or strain caused by a car accident is that it could cost you money. A strain or sprain could become expensive not just in future costs for physical therapy, but also in lost insurance compensation.
In Florida, every driver is required to have at least $10,000 in PIP or personal injury protection. To get reimbursement under PIP, you must seek medical care within two weeks of your car accident. If you don’t, then your insurance company can argue that your injury is not related to your car accident and deny your settlement. So if you think you have a minor strain or sprain caused by a car accident seek medical care and document everything: the records, bills, treatment, and time off work to recover.

Set Yourself Up for a Successful Claim

Even the slightest injuries can cause you issues long-term, but any pain after your car accident can mean you are entitled to compensation. To make sure you get the compensation you deserve, check out our Car Accident Tips: Do’s and Don’ts guide. With these tips, you can ensure that you’ve taken the right steps to set yourself up for your insurance claim


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