It depends on your injury and how pain affects you. That's the conclusion I've reached after helping car and motorcycle accident victims for over two decades. While your doctor will determine the length and specifics of your treatment, I can give you an idea of how long it might last based on my experience.

And let me assure you that you and your doctor are in charge of your medical care, even if I represent you. Contrary to what you've heard and what other lawyers may do, doctor referrals are not part of my legal services. The reason is quite simple: an attorney referral to a doctor can kill your case.

However long you treat with the doctor, always be mindful that the doctor is a key witness in your case

How Long You'll Get Treated by a Doctor for a Minor Car or Motorcycle Accident Injury

As any accident victim can tell you, injuries are only minor when they happen to someone else. The injuries I'm talking about here don't require a referral to a specialist like an orthopedist or a neurosurgeon. They may include some soreness or even a little whiplash.

If you're lucky, it can clear up with just a doctor's visit or two and maybe a week or two of therapy. But beware, it may get worse. And you always need to be on the lookout for signs of a more serious injury stemming from your whiplash. You need to be particularly vigilant for pain that shoots from your neck or back into your arms or legs, especially if it causes weakness, numbness, or tingling. Those can be indications of an extremely serious cervical or lumbar disc herniation. If you experience these symptoms, report them to your doctor immediately.

Regardless of how serious you think your injuries might be, it's always a good idea to get legal advice first so you don't mess up your case before it gets off the ground. You've got to watch out for the insurance company adjuster's tricks. They’re always looking to cash out cheap before you realize how badly you're hurt.

Don't get taken advantage of; this is your only chance to do your case right. Get your questions answered in a FREE, NO PRESSURE strategy session with a Spartanburg, SC, car and motorcycle attorney. Call toll free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form

How Long Medical Treatment Can Last for a More Serious Car or Motorcycle Accident Injury

Many crashes cause more serious injuries requiring more extensive treatment. A serious injury is one of the chief reasons to get legal advice. You're overwhelmed, and you've got a complicated case the insurance company will fight harder. It requires a professional eye to make sure no insurance is overlooked, including from your own policy. All this combines to make it easier to shortchange yourself with a low settlement.

Here's how long it can take to treat certain types of injuries, based on what I've seen from clients:

  • Broken bone. If it's a “compound” fracture, meaning the bone breaks through the skin, you could be looking at treatment for a year or more. It'll likely include an operation to put a rod in the bone to put it back together. You might also have external fixator-screws and rods attached to the outside of your body to keep the bones still while it reunifies. You may need plastic surgery to fix gruesome scarring. And then you'll have months of physical therapy to get back as much strength and motion as possible. A simpler break may still land you in treatment for up to a year while you progress through casts and splints, then potentially months of physical therapy.
  • Torn ligament or damaged cartilage. These are damaged joints, like tearing your ACL or meniscus in your knee or tearing your rotator cuff in your shoulder. First, your orthopedist may refer you to physical therapy for a couple of months and give you steroid shots, hoping to avoid an operation. Sometimes it works. When you need the operation, you'll likely be looking at several weeks to a few months of physical therapy and maybe some more shots to help you with flare-ups.

The Most Severe Car or Motorcycle Accident Injuries Can Require Lifetime Medical Care

The worst South Carolina car and motorcycle accident injuries require the longest recoveries. Sometimes, the need for medical care is lifelong, as it often is for the following types of injuries:

  • Spinal injuries. Paralysis is a catastrophic, life-changing event that will require a lifetime of close medical management, potentially involving multiple specialists and home health care. But even cervical and spinal disc herniations can result in a permanent need for medications to overcome nerve pain from radiculopathy. Some herniations cause permanent pain so intense they've got to be addressed with a spinal cord stimulator. That's a device implanted by a surgeon to send electronic pulses to relieve pain so a victim can lead a somewhat normal life.
  • Multi-trauma injuries. Horrific accidents, especially those caused by tractor-trailers or to motorcycle riders, can cause severe injuries to multiple body parts. Suffering several severe bone fractures and nerve injuries can leave a victim with a lifelong dependence on medical treatment. 
  • Traumatic brain injury. Serious brain injuries often require long-term treatment of up to a year or more. You may need multiple specialists to help recover the ability to think and talk properly, relearn everyday activities, overcome depression and anxiety, manage anger and mood swings, and help recover the ability to move. Cases involving these injuries are complicated. You can learn more about the challenges we faced in a case like this.

In these types of cases, it's critical to protect your right to a settlement reflecting your need for medical treatment after your case is over.

If you suffered a serious injury in a South Carolina car or motorcycle accident case, I know you don't want to contact a lawyer. You didn't want to go to the doctor, either, but sometimes you just need professional help. It's no different with your case. Don't set yourself up for a lifetime of regret for a case you ruined because you didn't know any better.

Instead, give yourself a shot at peace of mind with some legal advice from an experienced Spartanburg, South Carolina car and motorcycle accident attorney. Call toll free at  888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.

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Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.