The Long-Term Impact of Serious Injuries
How a Serious Personal Injury Can Impact Your Life
Severe injuries sustained in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, assault and battery, and other mishaps can often have long term effects on the victim’s physical and mental health. While many individuals return to normal life after costly treatments lasting several months and even years, some never make a full recovery.
The injuries that can have a long-term impact include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), whiplash, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden and violent blow, jolt or impact to the head disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. It is also caused when an object penetrates the skull, such as a bullet or a shattered piece of glass. The top three causes of TBI are car accident, guns (bullets) and falls (as in slip and fall). Contact a personal injury attorney immediately if you have suffered TBI from any of these causes, even if the symptoms haven’t arisen yet.
Depending on the force of the impact and the extent of damage to the brain, TBI can be mild to severe. Mild and moderate TBI can result in a loss of consciousness for a few minutes followed by headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, tired eyes, bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, fatigue, loss of memory, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, seizers, confusion, restlessness, loss of coordination, slurred speech, inability to wake up from sleep, and behavioral and mood changes. The good news is that patients usually recover after treatment and time.
It’s severe TBI that one should really worry about – it can change your life. Severe TBI can result in the loss of consciousness for more than half an hour followed by impairment of higher level cognitive functions in addition to the all the symptoms mentioned in the previous paragraph. Survivors of severe TBI often experience limited function of arm and legs, loss of ability to think, loss of memory, and abnormal speech. While some individuals do make a recovery after several years of treatment, many do not.
Thus, severe TBI can result in lifelong pain, disability and lower quality of life. Many victims require long-term rehabilitation. All this can have a devastating impact on the victim as well on his or her family.
Whiplash and Spine Injuries
Whiplash is an injury of the neck that occurs when a person’s head is rapidly jolted backward and forward by a sudden and violent force. It often happens to the occupants of a car when it is rear-ended by another car. The sudden force and rapid movement stretches and tears the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck and the cervical portion of the spine. Depending on the magnitude of the force of impact, whiplash can be mild to severe.
Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, worsening pain with neck movement, reduced range of motion in the neck, headache starting from the base of the skull, tenderness in the shoulder and upper back, tingling or numbness in the arms, fatigue and dizziness. Some people also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, irritability, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, memory loss and depression.
While most whiplash victims make a full recovery within three months, some people experience pain and discomfort throughout their remaining life. Studies have shown that between 15 and 40 percent of people who have sustained whiplash injuries develop chronic neck pain.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe physical injuries often lead to mental injuries. Victims of car accidents, assault and battery, and other traumatic events often develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a serious condition that can wreck the victim’s life if left untreated. The symptoms of PTSD include shock, anger, fear, nervousness, and even feeling of guilt and mistrust.
People suffering from PTSD often relive the bad experience through flashback, hallucinations and nightmares. They feel distressed when they are reminded of the trauma. They try to avoid the places, people and situations that may remind them of the trauma. Some experience high emotional sensitivity, irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, and inability to fall asleep. All of these can lead to physical symptoms like high blood pressure, muscle tension, rapid breathing, nausea and diarrhea. Talk to a personal injury attorney to find out how you can get compensated for PTSD.