No two car accidents are the same. Minor fender benders typically don’t have much of an impact beyond cosmetic damage. On the other hand, serious car accidents can lead to significant injuries, totaled vehicles, and a litany of long-term consequences.
5 Long-Term Effects
It’s easy to focus on the short-term impact of a car accident since it’s the immediate aftermath that must be dealt with first. But to ignore the long-term impact of a serious car crash would be to dismiss the realities that often accompany these situations. In particular, the following often come into play:
1. Physical Injuries
Car accidents cause various injuries and physical ailments, but few have more of a long-term impact than whiplash-related issues. For months and years after a whiplash injury, individuals can suffer from pain and stiffness, upper or lower back pain, jaw pain, severe headaches, blurred vision, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, osteoarthritis, and/or spinal stenosis. In fact, according to one study, as much as 71 percent of whiplash patients continue to experience symptoms more than seven years after the accident.
2. Psychological Issues
Car accidents don’t just cause physical issues; they also create long-term psychological problems in many accident victims. Common issues include anxiety, PTSD, fearfulness of driving, and even depression. Left untreated, these issues can last for many years after the accident.
While it’s normal to feel acute stress and anxiety after an accident, it’s wise to seek therapy if these symptoms last for more than a few weeks after the incident.
3. Financial Costs
Many car accident victims are focused on reducing stress and simplifying the recovery process. As a result, they may choose to avoid getting lawyers involved. And while there isn’t always a case that can be made with every car accident, it’s unwise to immediately write-off the possibility of pursuing legal action.
Even if your injuries’ short-term costs can be covered by insurance, there’s no telling what the future financial costs will be. When you account for the aforementioned physical and psychological issues that often emerge and continue for years at a time, the costs can add up. It’s best to consult with an attorney so that you can get an accurate picture of your situation.
4. Career Impact
In the short term, a combination of employment flexibility, sick days, and disability insurance will allow most people to survive without going to work. However, the long-term impact of a serious accident can have a major impact on an individual’s career.
In addition to lost salary, the long-term physical and psychological effects can make it challenging for individuals to perform their duties. As a result, the potential is greatly limited.
5. Relational Issues
A serious car accident can have a significant impact on relationships. If you’re injured and require significant physical care, relationships may become burdened. Even if you don’t lose relationships, there will most certainly be a new dynamic.
Because of the lingering side effects, you may not always feel well enough to engage in the same social life that you once had. Sadly, this may eventually erode some of the relationships you’ve built over the years. Learning how to continue managing these relationships healthily is key.
Make a Full Recovery
If you’re involved in a serious car accident, your primary focus is to make a full recovery. This means getting the right medical care and following the instructions of your doctor. But once your condition is stable and you start to recover, you need to broaden your scope and look towards the future.
The long-term effects of an accident can be much more serious and involved than you think. By preparing for these consequences now, you can give yourself a better chance of being happy, healthy, and successful down the road.