Long-Term Effects of Car Accidents

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | May 16, 2024
Long-Term Effects of Car Accidents

Car accidents can be traumatizing, and you can never truly prepare for the emotional and physical after-effects of a sudden crash. After an automobile accident, address your physical concerns first. Getting a full diagnosis of your injuries and a proper medical treatment plan is critical for your health and to protect your legal rights.

While some car accident injuries can have long-term effects no matter what you do, getting a prompt diagnosis and treatment might improve your prognosis or avoid complications. Even with immediate treatment, you might need ongoing care and feel symptoms of your injuries for years to come.

Some people continue to experience the long-term physical consequences of car accident injuries long after their injury claim concludes, so you must always factor in future losses when seeking compensation from liable parties. An experienced car accident attorney will know how to accurately account for your future losses during the complicated claim process.

In this post, trusted car accident lawyers look at a car accident's long-term emotional and physical effects. If you want to discuss your specific situation and legal rights, reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer near you today.

Lasting Physical Effects Following a Car Accident

Car accident injuries vary as much as the crashes themselves. Some people walk away without only some bruises, while others feel the effects of catastrophic injuries for the rest of their lives.

Some serious injuries that can have lasting physical effects after a crash include:

  • Head trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Disk damage or other back injuries
  • Compound fractures
  • Amputations
  • Burns

Even with all the appropriate treatment, the above injuries can cause ongoing pain and suffering with little relief.

Many severe injuries result in permanent disability or disfigurement, and impairments might involve:

  • Decreased cognitive capacity
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Paralysis below the point of a spinal injury
  • Loss of a limb or extremity
  • Scarring
  • Movement restrictions from soft tissue injuries
  • Chronic pain

The above impairments can prevent you from returning to your job. Maybe you have to find a lesser-paying position, work only part-time, or refrain from working at all. You might not pick up or play with your kids anymore, might need assistance with basic household chores, or might require around-the-clock care. All of these result in ongoing financial losses, pain, and suffering.

Determining the extent of an injury and the potential for future physical effects is an important component of auto accident recovery. Estimating your future medical expenses, home health or assistance costs, lost future earnings, and the value of your future pain and suffering is complicated. You want the right legal help from a car accident attorney who handles catastrophic injury claims.

Emotional Trauma After a Car Accident

Many people focus on their physical injuries sustained in the aftermath of a crash, and they fail to address the emotional effects of the experience. These effects can be long-lasting, leaving psychological scars and severe injuries to your mental health.

Getting the treatment you need is critical. For example, it is surprisingly common to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic crash.

Traumatic injuries can result in many emotional effects, including:

  • Irrational fears
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Anger management problems
  • Flashbacks
  • Feelings of shame
  • Panic attacks

In addition, if your injuries prevent you from returning to life as usual, you can experience a loss of enjoyment, depression, and other emotional symptoms due to your impairments and restrictions. These feelings often require extensive therapy, and some people continue to feel such effects for the rest of their lives.

Never discount or ignore lasting emotional distress and mental injuries following a car crash. Instead, be honest with your car accident lawyer so they can accurately calculate all of your damages for future pain and suffering.

Proving Future Damages for Long-Term Injuries

When you need to prove past economic losses, your car accident lawyer can provide medical bills, pay statements, letters from your employer, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and similar documents. While proving past pain and suffering can be more challenging, your lawyer can do so with journals, witness testimony, and other tools they commonly use to value non-economic losses.

How do you prove future losses? You have no bills for the future expenses you will face, so how can you collect compensation for future losses due to injuries that will last years or possibly the rest of your life?

Your car accident attorney should know how to calculate and prove future damages if you have injuries with long-term effects. Often, this requires hiring experts to assess your situation and give their professional opinions on what your future losses might be.

Future medical bills

Many severe injuries require ongoing care for years after a car accident claim is over. You might need to replace prosthetics several times over your life following an amputation. A severe TBI can require occupational therapy sessions for the rest of your life to maintain your abilities. A paralyzing spinal injury might lead to bedsores, infections, or other complications that need medical care.

Your lawyer can present your situation to a medical expert who helps patients like you. The expert can prepare a report on the proper treatment people with your injury need and how much the treatment generally costs. Your lawyer can adjust these costs for inflation when necessary and present the report to the insurance company to demonstrate your future medical bills.

Future lost income

If your physical trauma causes a permanent impairment that affects your earning ability, you need to seek future lost income. Perhaps you cannot return to work at all and need disability benefits. You might still work, but you might need to take a lower-paying position with less strenuous duties or shorter hours. Either way, you deserve to recover financially for your future lost income.

This also requires analysis by occupational and economic experts. An occupational expert can review the effects of your injuries and give their opinion that you cannot work in your previous capacity due to your injuries. An economic expert can help calculate the difference in wages you should have earned and will now earn with your impairments. These calculations should consider all types of compensation, benefits, inflation, and other complex figures.

Future pain and suffering

How do you put a dollar sign on a completely altered life? Your attorney will know the standards for calculating your future pain and suffering damages and also compensation for the permanent disabilities or disfigurement you experienced.

Insurance Companies Can Challenge Your Future Losses

Insurance adjusters try to limit settlement offers for every claim. It can be difficult for an insurance adjuster to dispute the total of medical bills you already received or the income you already lost. However, adjusters take the opportunity to challenge your future claimed losses to decrease the overall settlement.

Knowing how much is fair for your future losses can be challenging without the right legal guidance. The adjuster might make an offer that seems like plenty of money to you. However, given the severity of your injuries and their lasting effects, it might be only a fraction of what you deserve.

Injury victims should never accept a settlement offer without speaking with a car accident lawyer first, and this is especially true if you will have future losses. When you accept an insurance settlement, you sign an agreement that waives your rights to future compensation for the accident and injuries in question.

If you accept an offer that is lower than you deserve, you might have to cover your future expenses as they arise if you run out of settlement funds. This is a situation you always want to avoid.

Instead, consult with a lawyer who has experience with catastrophic injury claims. They will have the knowledge and resources to calculate the long-term financial impact and seek and obtain full and fair compensation for all your past and future losses.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you suffered harm during a car accident, never wait to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney. The right law firm can account for any potential future losses and fully protect your legal rights and future.

Time is of the essence, as there are deadlines to file a car accident lawsuit. Never give up the compensation you deserve for your lasting losses - reach out for legal representation and guidance today.

If you have concerns about the cost of an attorney, know that you never need any money upfront to hire a car accident law firm. You will only pay fees if your lawyer wins compensation for you. Otherwise, you owe nothing. Even after legal fees, most car accident victims with long-term injuries take home more than they might without legal representation.

You can keep focusing on your injuries - and adjusting to life with your impairments - while a skilled car accident protects your rights to compensation.

Contact The Bruning Law Firm for a free consultation with a car accident attorney today. We understand the financial challenges of the long-term effects of car accident injuries.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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