The Long-Term Impact of Injury Accidents

Personal injury accidents can have physical, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and economic consequences in the long term. These long-term effects are often more severe than the more immediate ones and can take weeks or even months to surface. Understanding the potential long-term impact of accidents can help injury victims plan adequately for their future.

Physical Impairment

The injuries from an accident may affect a person’s ability to stand, sit, bend, run, or carry items. As a result, tasks like dressing, driving, and carrying grocery bags become harder or impossible to do. A serious injury can even make a person permanently disabled.

Cognitive Impairment

At an accident scene, a person may experience pain, headache, fatigue, confusion, and temporary balance issues because of an injury to the head. In the long run, the injury can affect the person’s ability to speak, think, or comprehend what he or she reads or hears.

Accident victims may have trouble reading, understanding, communicating their thoughts and feelings, or remembering important things for long periods, possibly the rest of their lives.

Psychological Problems

Injury victims can have vivid memories of an accident. They may worry about money because of the accident impacting their finances or may have to adapt to the changes brought about by the injuries suffered. All these factors can make the victims suffer emotionally and develop psychological problems like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Outbursts of anger

Financial Impact

The health complications resulting from personal injury accidents can have significant financial consequences for individuals. Injuries may require advanced medical treatments, ongoing physical therapy, long-term care, and possibly an extended stay at a hospital. Medical bills can add up quickly and result in stressful financial situations for victims and their families.

For example, a child may be injured at birth because of a medical mistake. Some medical accidents result in a baby suffering a permanent, lifelong injury, such as cerebral palsy. Such an injury imposes a substantial financial burden on the family of the child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the lifetime cost of caring for an individual with cerebral palsy to be approximately $1 million in 2003 dollars.

Many people find themselves unable to work because of their injuries. That results in lost wages. People forced out of their primary occupation because of serious injuries may have to be trained in another field. The training can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the new occupation may require them to take a pay cut.

Change of Lifestyle

Accidents can cause chronic pain and affect movement. Consequently, victims may be unable to engage in the activities they regularly did before being involved in an accident. They may be unable to return to work or support their families. Participating in hobbies and enjoyable activities like family outings and games with children may be impossible. The physical and psychological effects of injuries may impact an individual’s ability to participate in intimate relations.

Accident victims are likely to incur several future costs because of the long-term consequences of their injuries. Understanding these long-term effects helps them avoid making mistakes that could threaten their financial security, such as quickly accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer without considering the future costs.