What are the long-term consequences of injuries sustained in car accidents?

Most of us wake up in the morning and plunge headlong through the day expecting everything to go on without a hitch. That doesn’t always happen of course and sometimes accidents happen, from spilling your morning coffee to being involved in a car crash on the way to work. The latter is always stressful, even with the most minor collisions, and injury often results. While vehicles involved might begin their repair processes right away and insurance claims are in the works; physical and emotional injuries can take days or even weeks to appear and last a very long time.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these post-accident outcomes and their impacts:

Effects of physical injury after a car accident

One of the most common types of injury sustained in a car accident is whiplash caused by rear-end collisions. These injuries can be very severe and result in brain and neck injury, neck strain, trauma to the head, herniated discs, strained or bruised muscles, and spinal injuries. For example, a herniated disc results from impact that causes a disc’s soft gel to seep into recesses of the spinal column where it doesn’t belong, and this leads to weak or numb muscles and is almost always painful.

The hyperextension from whiplash can also inspire severe headaches, ear ringing and many related injuries that can last for years.

All of these maladies have the potential to become long-term and painful conditions including amputation, paralyzed limbs, and other permanent disabilities. Mental trauma is also a concern, as are damage to soft tissue that cause significant pain in ligaments, tendons, and related muscle groups in the neck, back, knees, and chest. Loss of mobility and capacity to complete everyday tasks is a potential end result that can radically change a person’s lifestyle and even familial dynamics.

Effects of emotional injury after a car accident

If you are fortunate enough to walk away from an accident with only a bump or scrape it doesn’t mean you are 100 percent injury-free. Mental and emotional trauma can also have long-term debilitating effects, including shock, fear, random bouts of anger, appetite loss, moodiness, loss of sleep, and other related conditions. In fact, roughly one-third of (nonfatal) accident victims suffer these types of symptoms a year or more after an accident. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are also common and have dramatic impacts on people’s lives.

Whether physical or emotional, it is important to seek thorough medical care as soon as possible after a car accident.