Hip Pain After Car Accidents: What Should You Do?

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A woman pressing her hands against her injured hip.

Lower extremity injuries to the knee, thigh, and hip represent nearly one-third of auto accident injuries. From the impact of your knees slamming into the dashboard to the trauma of a side-angle collision, several elements of a motor vehicle accident can cause hip pain. In some cases, you may not feel pain symptoms right away. 

Whether hip pain after a car accident is immediate or delayed, it’s crucial you learn which pain symptoms are cause for concern. Severe injuries will require a visit to a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. Discover the common causes of hip pain after a car accident, the potential recovery timeline, and how a personal injury attorney can simplify the recovery process. 

What to Do if You Have Hip Pain After a Car Accident

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience pain in your hips after an accident.

You owe it to yourself to get a physical examination, even if you think your symptoms are minor. Serious injuries, including those to the hips, can take days or weeks to present themselves. A medical professional can diagnose the source of your pain before things become worse or even life-altering.

Seeing a doctor won’t just help you get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan.

It can also help you if you end up needing to make a personal injury claim. Documentation from medical professionals is a critical part of proving the source of your injuries. Without documentation, it is harder to prove fault or win a lawsuit.

Can a Car Accident Cause a Hip Injury?

Many accident victims are surprised to learn that a car accident can cause a hip injury. Each hip is composed of a ball-and-socket joint surrounded by a network of sensitive muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. The blunt force trauma of an auto accident can injure any or several of these structures, creating immediate or delayed symptoms after a car accident.

What Causes Hip Pain After a Car Accident?

The force of impact during an auto accident can violently crush or slam your lower extremities against the steering wheel, dashboard, center console, or side door of your vehicle. This blunt force trauma can inflict multiple injuries to various hip structures and cause pelvic injury.

Common injuries after a car wreck include:

  1. Hip fracture
  2. Acetabular fracture
  3. Hip dislocation
  4. Bursitis 
  5. Tendonitis 

1. Hip Fracture

The bones of your hips form one large U-shape, with each thigh bone connecting to each side of the pelvis at a socket. The U-shape of the hips is broken into three sections:

  1. The ilium, or the top part of the hip bone and crest of the pelvis
  2. The pubis, or the lower part of the hip bone 
  3. The ischium, or the back part of the hip bone 

A hip fracture is a break or crack in any of these sections.

2. Acetabular Fracture

An acetabular fracture is a break or crack in your hip socket where your thigh bones meet your hip. This is a slightly less common hip injury due to its location in your body. An acetabular fracture only occurs upon severe impact and will require emergency care. 

3. Hip Dislocation

An x-ray image of the hip bones.

Hip dislocation occurs when the bone that connects your thigh to your pelvis is shifted from its normal position. Traumatic dislocations may cause a degradation in the bone resulting from a loss of blood flow, also called avascular necrosis. Other injuries may cause a labral tear which is when the soft tissue that covers the hip socket is torn. 

4. Bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the space in your hip joint fills with excess fluid causing inflammation at the injury site. As one of the leading causes of hip joint pain after a car accident, bursitis in the hip demands urgent medical care to prevent lasting damage. 

5. Tendonitis

Tendonitis is one of the only types of hip injuries that affects soft tissue. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the soft tissue that connects hip muscles to hip bones. This condition can cause severe pain and additional thigh injuries when left untreated. 

What are Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident? 

Can you have hip pain days after a car accident? Yes! Immediately after an accident, the stress of the situation can cause your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are a type of chemical that can mask current pain symptoms. 

Hip injuries such as an acetabular fracture may be felt immediately; however, the trauma of bursitis or tendonitis may take time to settle in. This delay in symptoms means that you can transition from mild irritation to excruciating pain in a matter of hours or days. 

If your pain levels begin to spike, visit a doctor immediately. 

Delayed pain after a car accident isn’t just a factor in hip injuries. Many different types of injuries, such as those to the stomach, back, chest, and more, may not present themselves right away. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor after an accident, even if you don’t feel any pain in the moments after a crash.

Symptoms of a Hip Injury: Immediate and Delayed

Whether the symptoms of a hip injury are immediate or delayed, hip and pelvic pain typically manifest in similar ways. Some of the most common symptoms of a hip injury after a car accident include:

  • Limping
  • Swelling
  • Bruising 
  • Knee pain
  • Groin pain 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of muscle strength 
  • Muscle pain
  • Intense pain when walking 
  • Difficulty moving the hip joint
  • Soreness or tenderness at the site of injury 

Treatment for Hip Pain After a Car Accident

Car accident victim in massage therapy for hip injuries.

To effectively and safely treat hip pain after a car accident, always begin with a proper diagnosis.

A medical professional will utilize a physical examination, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to diagnose your injury. Next, they will prescribe a treatment plan to best address your pain symptoms. 

For minor injuries, anticipate physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs.

For more severe injuries, you may have to undergo a more painful process like steroid injections or surgery to address the trauma. 

How Long Can Hip Pain Last After an Auto Accident?

The recovery period for a hip injury varies depending on the type of damage. For instance, tendonitis may heal in two weeks, while a hip fracture may take 10 to 12 weeks to heal and even longer to regain strength.

Severe or untreated injuries may result in long-term complications such as traumatic arthritis. To avoid a lengthy recovery time and life-changing consequences, visit a doctor immediately and let a team of specialists work their magic. During recovery, follow their recommendations for the best healing results. 

How an Attorney Can Assist with Compensation for Hip Pain 

The recovery period for a hip injury can be months. Understandably, crash victims cannot be expected to fight for compensation and a fair settlement alone during this time. If you are suffering from hip pain after a car accident, let a car accident lawyer go to bat for you. An experienced attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your hip injuries and the damages you’ve incurred.

A trusted attorney will compile all accident injury damages, including:

  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Necessary medical equipment
  • Home healthcare expenses 
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

An attorney can document all financial and emotional losses, as well as medical records and crash reports to help form a personal injury claim for your insurance company.

What is the Average Personal Injury Claim for Hip Pain?

Healthcare professional calculating the cost of treatment for hip injuries.

Past results do not predict future outcomes, so it is almost impossible to determine the exact amount you could expect in a settlement for a hip injury. Numerous factors come into play in calculating a settlement or verdict, and each case is different.

Hip injuries have an assortment of treatment and recovery timelines, so the average injury settlement amount will vary.  

We looked at some recent case results from around the country and found a wide range of settlement results. For example, one woman who suffered an acetabular fracture in a head-on collision received a $33,000 settlement. Another driver who fractured their pelvis in a car accident received a $450,000 settlement.

To receive a tentative estimation of your possible settlement, reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

Allow an Attorney to Aid in Your Accident Settlement Today 

Hip pain after a car accident can turn your life upside-down overnight. When the dust settles, you don’t want to be left standing alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with an accident-related hip injury, reach out to a car accident attorney today. At David Bryant Law, our attorneys are on your side, no matter what. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let’s discuss how we can move forward together.

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David G. Bryant is certified to practice in all state courts in Kentucky, and federal courts in the Eastern and Western districts of Kentucky, Southern District of New York, Southern District of West Virginia, Northern District of Ohio, Middle District of Tennessee, and Western District of Pennsylvania. He is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.