Q: Could a recent car accident have long-term effects on my future?
At the age of 16, you and your brother were in a severe car crash. He broke his pelvis, and you broke both of your legs and punctured your kidney. You both had to have surgery and go through months of recovery before you were able to walk again. However, although the accident wasn’t worse or fatal, you’ve had occasional pain in your legs for no reason, and your doctor has informed you that you have early onset arthritis in both knees. Could this persistent pain and arthritis have been caused by the accident?
You only bring this up because you’re currently sitting in the hospital emergency room, waiting for your teenage daughter to get casts put on her arm and leg. She was hit by a drunk driver earlier that night and had broken several bones. Again, you’re extremely thankful that it wasn’t worse, but what long-term effects could she wind up suffering as a result of her injuries?
Long-Term Collision Injury Risks
When you’re a victim of a severe car accident, recovering from your injuries can be a long and painful battle. Between surgeries, physical therapy, and rehabilitation, you could wind up spending all of your energy and will power trying to get better. Hopefully your recovery is short and you’re back on your feet quickly. However, it is an unfortunate fact that for many, even after rehabilitation, their sustained injuries will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Research performed by the Mayo Clinic suggests that car accident injuries have many long-term effects on their victims, well after they’ve “recovered.” Some of these future injury complications include:
- Cognitive and degenerative brain issues. The brain is an extremely complex organ and when it becomes damaged small changes can gradually affect its function. For example, the development of scar tissue can affect nearby parts of the brain and cause function problems. In addition, as you get older, the brain starts to lose its elasticity—causing memory loss, and cognitive strain. If your brain is already damaged, these effects could become worse.
- Increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Although research isn’t complete, the Mayo Clinic suggests that if you suffer a brain injury that causes you to be unconscious for more than 24 hours, or causes you to have episodes of dementia, your risk for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases could increase as you get older.
- Loss of strength. Although broken bones do heal, the connection where the bone split will never be as strong as it once was.
- Periodic pain. Weather and pressure change is a common problem for people who have experienced bone trauma. The change in barometric pressure causes tissues within your body to expand and contract, putting pressure on joints and the weaker areas of the bones that were broken.
- Bone spurs. When a bone breaks, it can chip, leaving bone fragments behind in your muscles and tissues. These fragments can go unnoticed for years, until they calcify and grow—pressing on blood vessels, and pushing on muscles and tissues.
- Deformity. If a bone isn’t set perfectly it can cause a lumpy deformity, shorten the bone so it isn’t the same size as it once was, or cause strange angles within the bone itself.
- Early onset arthritis. In addition to the offensive bone being inherently weaker because of the break, recovery can cause you to adjust your gait, put more pressure and weight on other joints, and move differently throughout rehabilitation. Although this may go unnoticed at the time, it can increase your risk of arthritis down the road.
- Increased risk of depression. Feeling the long-term effects of a previous injury can be hard to take, especially when you had to go through so much during recovery. This stress can lead to depression.
- Increased anxiety. Any type of tragedy or stressful event can cause varying degrees of psychological trauma. In some cases, these effects can be dormant until later in life when something triggers it. This can include a loved one suffering an accident, a photo of the wreckage, or other incidents.
Securing Your Future
When you’re in an accident, your insurance company will try to do everything in its power to give you the least amount of damages possible. This means that they will try and trick you, confuse you, and omit certain facts about the financial burden your injuries may cause. Don’t allow them to get away with this! You’ve already suffered enough, you don’t deserve to be blindsided years from now when you no longer have the option to file a claim. Use us to fight back, and secure your future.
Call today for a free consultation and review of your case, your rights, and your future options. We know the value of injuries, and how they can cost you well after recovery. Thankfully, we also know how to get you the settlement to cover those future costs. Call now to see how we can help you today, tomorrow, and beyond.