When you get injured in a car accident, you expect your injuries to heal. You expect to receive an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan which, sooner or later, allows you to get back to your normal life.
Unfortunately, this is not always what happens. The extreme forces involved in auto accidents can cause severe traumatic injuries, and for some people these injuries can have permanent consequences. In fact, recent medical evidence shows that auto accidents can lead to a number of chronic and debilitating conditions.
Three Chronic Conditions Linked to Traumatic Collisions
1. Chronic Brain Injuries
As doctors continue to gain a better understanding of the effects of traumatic brain injuries, there is a growing body of evidence to support a link between brain injuries and various chronic impairments. From concussions to severe penetrating brain injuries, virtually all types of traumatic brain injuries have the potential to lead to long-term effects.
In many cases, the link between an accident and a driver’s or passenger’s condition will not immediately be clear. The effects of traumatic brain injuries can manifest gradually, and forgetfulness, impulsive behavior, and other symptoms may not necessarily trigger concerns about an accident-related injury. This is one reason why all auto accident victims should seek prompt medical attention. In certain circumstances, a delay in seeking treatment can exacerbate the chronic effects of a traumatic brain injury, which may include:
- Anxiety, depression, and mood swings
- Cognitive impairments
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Headaches and migraines
- Impaired judgment
- Impulsive behavior
These and other effects of traumatic brain injuries can impact every aspect of an accident victim’s life. Once again, prompt treatment is critical, and individuals diagnosed with chronic conditions resulting from accident-related brain injuries must carefully follow the treatment plans their doctors prescribe.
2. Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is among the most common long-term injuries resulting from vehicle collisions. Like the symptoms of certain types of traumatic brain injuries, back pain can come on slowly over time, masking the accident as its root cause. Individuals who experience back pain in the days, weeks, or months following a collision should seek medical attention, and should carefully describe their symptoms so that their treating physicians can provide an accurate diagnosis.
Due to its chronic nature, treatment for trauma-induced back pain generally focuses on symptom management. Along with pain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)), other treatment options can include acupuncture, physical therapy, steroid injections, and self-management. If you are experiencing back pain following a car accident, you will need to have your doctor prescribe a treatment regimen that is tailored to your own unique injury and personal circumstances.
3. Chronic Thyroid Disorders
In addition to chronic brain injuries and back pain, there is now strong medical support for chronic thyroid disorders resulting from traumatic accidents. The thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck that secretes hormones your body uses for metabolism, temperature regulation, and general growth and development. When a traumatic accident impacts the neck, the physical effects can cause damage to the thyroid, which can in turn lead to a number of chronic symptoms. For example, thyroid conditions resulting from musculoskeletal trauma during car accidents can cause:
- Compromised brain function
- Compromised immune system
- Exacerbation of pain from other trauma-induced injuries
- Mood swings
- Reduced energy levels
- Reduced metabolic rate
Since thyroid disorders are both a result and a cause of pain in the muscular and skeletal systems, individuals who suffer neck injuries in auto accidents can find themselves in a vicious cycle of chronic symptoms. Fortunately, in many cases patients will have a number of treatment options available. Potential treatment options for chronic thyroid disorders include:
- Dietary supplements
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Physical therapy
- Radioactive iodide treatment
- Thyroid medications
While anyone injured in an auto accident should be aware of the risk of a chronic thyroid condition, drivers and passengers injured in rear-end accidents are among those who are most likely to face thyroid problems. Whiplash injuries are closely associated with trauma-induced thyroid disorders, and these injuries most frequently occur in rear-end collisions.
Seeking Financial Compensation for Chronic Conditions Resulting from Auto Accidents
Seeking financial compensation for chronic conditions can present additional challenges as compared to seeking compensation for acute physical injuries. This is due in large part to the difficulty in diagnosing chronic conditions as the effects of physical trauma. Individuals who experience symptoms of a chronic injury or disorder following a car accident should take appropriate steps to preserve their legal rights, including:
- Help Your Doctor Provide an Accurate Diagnosis. If your doctor is unaware of your symptoms, he or she will not be able to provide an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor is unaware that you were injured in an accident, he or she will not be able to link your condition to the collision. When seeking medical attention after an accident, it is critical to make sure your doctor has all of the relevant information. It can be helpful to write down notes and bring them to your appointment.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan. Treatment for chronic conditions often involves a multi-faceted approach – surgery, rest, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and a variety of medications could all be essential to minimizing the long-term effects. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you need to be prepared to make some changes in your life, and sticking to your doctor’s treatment plan should be among your top priorities.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk
If you would like more information about pursuing financial compensation for a chronic injury suffered in a Tampa Bay auto accident, the injury lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call our office at (800) 753-5203, start a Live Chat, or request an appointment online today.