What Are the Long-Term Effects of Car Accidents?
All drivers are at risk of getting involved in a car accident, no matter how careful they are. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected 42,795 deaths from motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Considering the figures above, traffic death is still a national crisis in the United States. If you are involved in a car accident, you must protect your interests. Here are things to do after a car crash:
- Don’t drive away from the scene, no matter how minor it is.
- Prevent any further accidents from happening by turning your flashers on.
- Contact the police.
- Provide an accurate record as best as you can once the police arrives. Don’t guess or speculate.
- Take pictures of vehicle damage, including any visible injuries you may have.
- Report the accident to the insurance company as soon as you can.
- Seek immediate medical treatment. Most victims note that they feel the most pain a day or two after the accident. Unless you’re 100% sure you were unharmed, get medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Get an experienced personal injury lawyer to protect your rights and ensure that important evidence isn’t destroyed.
The Physical Effects of a Car Accident
You’re lucky if you came out of the accident with only minor physical injuries like bruises, scrapes or permanent scarring. Unfortunately, this isn’t a guarantee that you’re 100% fine. A doctor must thoroughly examine you to check for any car accident injuries that may have been masked by shock or adrenaline.
Some of the severe injuries a victim can get from a car accident include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: These cause severe damage that can place car accident victims in a comatose state. Those who survive may lose or have difficulty maintaining normal functions, such as articulation, balance, and speech.
- Spinal cord injuries: These can make you immobile for a long period of time or, worse, permanently disable you.
- Chronic pain: This pain can be felt due to soft tissue injuries in the spine, head, neck, or limb.
- Lifelong disability: It can hinder you from getting back to work. It may also come to a point where you need to search for a less demanding job or even stop working if you have permanent disability.
- Internal organ damage: The car crash may cause car parts to puncture or compress an organ. This can get worse if the injury leads to internal bleeding.
- Herniated discs: These are relatively less severe injuries but may need prolonged treatment. It may also prevent a person from working normally.
The Mental, Psychological and Emotional Effects of a Car Accident
Most people tend to overlook the emotional trauma they suffer from a car accident. They assume it’s not as significant as a natural disaster or the death of a loved one. However, a car accident victim may experience mental injuries that can hinder him as much as physical injuries. Some common examples include:
This is a disorder where the brain’s chemistry is affected due to extreme conditions. You may freeze or go into fight or flight whenever you recall a previous traumatic experience.
Major depressive disorder
This is the most frequently diagnosed type of depression. Symptoms associated with it include insomnia, fatigue, and decreased appetite.
Approximately 40 million adults in the country are affected by this illness. It starts with complex risk factors such as genetics, personality, brain chemistry, and traumatic life events such as car accidents. It can come in different forms, such as panic attacks and social anxiety disorder.
A 2019 report from the NHTSA estimates the total amount of societal harm caused by vehicle crashes at almost $1.4 trillion. Take symptoms of emotional distress seriously and consult a mental health professional to avoid disrupting your career and relationships.
The Financial Effects of a Car Accident
If there’s anything you must realize from this article, it’s that car accidents can cause a huge financial burden. The total economic cost of car accidents reached $340 billion in 2019. That’s approximately $1035 for each person living in the country.
The financial effect can hit you in different ways:
Car accidents can induce mechanical or cosmetic damage to your car. Most crashes lead to significant damage to the car’s body that can also affect the engine and other mechanical parts. Repairing the damage may require expensive cosmetic surgery that may not be covered by insurance.
Accidents that lead to permanent disability will probably hinder you from going back to work. Those who are fortunate to still have the capability to work may need to look for less strenuous jobs. Either way, there is a loss of income that can affect your quality of life.
Most serious injuries need continuous care for years after the car accident occurred. If amputation was done, the prosthetics must be replaced several times. A spinal injury might cause infections, bedsores, or other complications that require medical attention.
Can a Car Accident Cause Problems Years Later?
Recovery timelines for car accident injuries may vary. It may take several weeks, months, or worse, years! In life-threatening injuries, a full recovery may not even be an option.
Car accident victims can also experience ongoing pain or emotional trauma that they may carry into the future. The worst-case scenario for many people is that they drown in financial debt because of medical expenses brought about by severe injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney can determine the proper compensation to help the victim manage this.
Proving Future Damages for Long-Term Injuries
Statements for bills or medical expenses and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses can be used as evidence of previous economic losses. Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering can be documented using journals and witness testimonies.
Future damages are more challenging since there are no bills to show the future expenses you will have. A car accident attorney should be able to assist you in claiming fair compensation or disability benefits. Experts may also be hired to evaluate your status and provide expert advice on what future damages may be.
Statute of Limitations to Claim for Long Term Injuries From Car Accident
If you’re not satisfied with the settlement offered by the insurance company, a lawsuit can be filed if still within the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for claims related to long-term injuries may differ among states. It may range from 1 to 6 years. There may also be special considerations that may shorten this:
- In North Dakota, filing injury claims related to wrongful death is shortened to 2 years.
- If a government entity is involved
- If the case in a state where Dram Shop Laws are applicable
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation.
The Clark Law Office understands how a car accident can have a major impact in your life. Our experienced Michigan car accident lawyers go beyond what’s expected to investigate and identify which party is indeed liable. We seek the help of experts in the field to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Book a free consultation at our law firm today. Call (517) 347-6900 today to reach our new office located in Okemos or our Eaton Rapids office at (517) 224-6313