Risk Factors for Prolonged Disability Following an Auto Accident
For many individuals, earning their driver’s license is a rite of passage. The ability to drive grants a new sense of independence and freedom. On the other hand, driving a car also requires a significant amount of responsibility. The car, like many other machines, must be properly maintained and people must always put safety first. A car accident can happen at any time and even a fender bender can lead to serious injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many people are injured in car accidents every day. Some of the important statistics include:
- The leading cause of death for individuals between 2 and 34 years of age in the United States is an auto accident.
- They are also one of the most common reasons that people visit the hospital or emergency room.
- About six million car accidents happen every year in the United States.
- Over 2.5 million people are injured in a car accident every year.
In addition to causing serious injuries, thousands of wrongful deaths occur every year. Some of the fatality statistics published by the NHTSA include:
- There are over 30,000 people killed in car accidents every year.
- More than half of these people were not wearing their seat belt.
- More than a quarter of those killed were actually ejected out of their vehicle.
- Alcohol was listed as a contributing factor in almost half of all accidents involving a fatality.
- Speeding played a role in about a third of all fatal auto accidents.
Even those who survive their traumatic injuries in a serious accident can have significant problems down the road. Some people who are injured in a car accident never make a full recovery and have to live with a long-term disability.Living with a Long-Term Disability
When someone has been seriously injured in a car accident, they may never be able to make a full recovery. This can create a lot of challenges that can impact someone’s quality of life. Some of these barriers include:
Stigma: There is still a significant stigma surrounding people with a disability. They may think that the disability needs to be “fixed” or that it is somehow a shortcoming. These attitudes can be difficult for people to handle.
Financial: There are numerous financial implications that come into play when someone has a disability. Some insurance companies may not cover all of the costs because of a lifetime cap. For others, their disability could prevent them from working and their disability insurance may not cover their living expenses. This can create a significant drain on a family.
Logistical: If their injuries prevent them from driving, it can be a challenge to arrange transportation. This includes rides to and from doctors’ appointments as well as trips around town to run errands or meet with friends. Furthermore, if their injuries prevent them from doing chores around the house, this can create more stress for others in the home.
Because of the serious issues that disabilities can create, it is important to take a look at some of the risk factors of long-term disabilities in a car accident.Risk Factors for a Long-Term Disability in an Auto Accident
A team of researchers recently conducted a large review of the medical literature. The goal was to figure out what the risk factors were for long-term disability following an auto accident. They looked at the people who were seriously injured in a car accident and listed the symptoms that they experienced along with the conditions of the accident. Then, they tracked those points in time and examined the recovery of the individual over multiple visits. According to the research:
Pain Rating: Patients were asked to rate their pain on a scale of 0-10. They found that people who rated their pain as a six or greater when they first arrived had a high chance of having long-term disability. Some of these individuals required long-term medications to manage their chronic pain.
Seat Belt Use: Perhaps not surprisingly, individuals who did not wear their seatbelt in an auto accident were at a significant risk of developing a long-term disability. The job of the seat belt is to prevent someone from being ejected from the motor vehicle in addition to restraining them against making contact with the vehicle’s interior. Without the seat belt, people run the risk of developing a long-term, chronic medical problem.
Report of a Severe Headache: Many people also reported a severe headache following an auto accident. While a minor headache may only be a sign of a neck strain, a severe headache was found to be an indicator of a traumatic brain injury. Someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury is at risk of developing a long-term medical problem because the brain tissue, along with other bodily tissues, does not regenerate as well.
Pre-Injury Medical Problems: Some people involved in auto accidents already have a chronic medical problem. Examples include heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. When someone already has existing medical conditions, the body does not recover as well from a traumatic injury. For this reason, people with prior chronic medical conditions are often unable to recover to the same extent that someone who was otherwise healthy.
When someone has been seriously injured in a car accident, they may never make a full recovery from the collision. This can create a serious amount of stress for a family. For those in this situation, it is a good idea to meet with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento. The accident should be fully investigated and all details must be examined. You and your family may be entitled to financial compensation.
Watch YouTube Video: Understanding Car Crashes: When Physics Meets Biology. This informative video explains the laws of nature that determine what happens to the human body in a car accident.Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Long-term medical problems can be a challenge to live with. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact me for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400 or (800) 404-5400.
I'm a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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Image Attribution: The image seen above was found on Pixabay and is shown here with permission from the CC0 Creative Commons License.
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