We all heal at different rates. We each have different pain thresholds. Your bone fracture or concussion will not be the same as the next person’s.

But doctors – and employers and insurance companies and lawyers – rely on statistical averages to gauge how long you can expect to be “out of commission” for a particular injury. In a personal injury case, the medical bills and the amount of lost time from work will determine the bulk of your compensation.

Doc, how long it take me to heal from this?

Even experienced physicians can only make an educated guess. Your age, your health and following doctor’s orders all factor into healing. But below is an average recovery or range of recovery for various injuries.

  • Broken arm: A simple fracture of the ulna or radius (forearm) will take about 6 weeks.
  • Broken collarbone: A fractured clavicle will heal in 5 to 10 weeks.
  • Sprained ankle: A mild sprain will heal in less than a week, but a severe ankle sprain may take 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Whiplash: The pain and stiffness from neck sprain may last a few days or linger for several weeks. Some people still feel neck pain or back pain years later.
  • Pulled hamstring: This injury is famous for slow progress and setbacks. Typical recovery is 6 to 12 weeks.
  • Back strain: A severe muscle pull or strained ligament in the lower back is another frustrating injury. It is common for recovery to take 4 to 6 weeks, and to have flare-ups for months afterward.
  • ACL injury: You should be walking on crutches in a few weeks after surgery, but complete rehab for this devastating knee injury typically takes 5 or 6 months.
  • Hip fracture: A broken hip requires surgery, and possibly an artificial hip replacement. If all goes well, most people can return to work in 1 to 4 months, but it will take 6 to 12 months for your hipbone to fully heal.
  • Concussion: Experts recommend pure rest (no physical or mental activity) for 3 to 5 days and then gradual resumption of life. With proper treatment, most people recover within 2 to 6 weeks with no lasting symptoms. However, some people suffer from post-concussion syndrome (foggy feeling, fatigue, headaches, problems with memory or concentration) for months or a year.

While a broken bone is painful, in some ways it is merciful. Recovery tends to be quicker and more predictable. Injuries to ligaments and joints are more likely to lead to long-term leaves from work or permanent disabilities. They are also more prone to setbacks during recovery and later re-injury.

Medical documentation is the key to your legal recovery

If you are injured because of someone’s negligence – such as an auto collision or a slip-and-fall from a safety hazard – it is critical to get a prompt medical diagnosis and to follow up with medical treatment until you are fully healed. The more complete your medical records, the easier it will be make the case for compensation. The medical complications and personal and financial hardships along the way also factor into your damages for pain and suffering.