Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine recently concluded the first large study evaluating the musculoskeletal pain outcomes following motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.
What they’ve found is that while a great number of people experience some type of neck pain in the immediate aftermath of a crash, few seek treatment and even fewer file a personal injury lawsuit to protect their rights.
Our Asheville car accident attorneys find this deeply troubling because the long-term effects of these kinds of injuries can impact a person’s ability to work, engage in recreation and generally live a life free of pain. The worst part is, many people don’t realize the full impact of the injury until hours or days later. A mild neck ache in the aftermath of a crash evolves into a sharp, stabbing pain that keeps the victim awake at night and makes it difficult to enjoy activities they once loved.
This is why we always recommend car accident victims seek immediate medical treatment for seemingly minor pain. Digital imaging scans may reveal injuries that are not immediately apparent. It’s also a way to help preserve one’s right to seek compensation later if the pain does worsen.
According to the study authors at UNC, some 4 million people are treated at U.S. hospital emergency departments after car accidents. About 90 percent of those are discharged after evaluation.
The study, “Incidence and predictors of neck and widespread pain after motor vehicle collision among U.S. litigants and nonlitigants,” was published in the February 2014 edition of the journal Pain.
The researchers analyzed data from eight emergency rooms in five states – North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York and Florida. Of the 950 individuals involved, more than 70 percent reported experiencing some type of persistent musculoskeletal pain in some part of their body six weeks after the crash. More than 33 percent said they were experiencing pain in four or more parts of their body.
Yet six weeks post-crash, only about 17 percent had sought advice from a personal injury lawyer to discuss possible litigation. Of those who said they weren’t planning to file a lawsuit, about 30 percent reported moderate to severe neck pain. About 15 percent said they had widespread musculoskeletal pain in seven or more regions of their body.
So why are people so hesitant? Researchers theorize that people believe their reports of pain weeks after the accident will be met with suspicion or simply not believed. They fear people will think they are just looking for someone to sue.
The truth is, they have every right to sue. What’s more, it’s very common that drivers and passengers aren’t immediately aware of any trauma. It could be hours or days later that the pain becomes apparent.
These kinds of injuries sometimes require extensive medical treatment. Victims need to make sure they are compensated for this because otherwise, that’s coming out of their own pockets.
Contacting an attorney soon after an injury-causing crash doesn’t necessarily mean you will file a lawsuit, but it can help you determine whether such action might be appropriate.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Study: post-accident neck pain is common, Jan. 21, 2014, By Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs
More Blog Entries:
Jurisdictional Issues in Greensboro Car Accident Injury Claims, Jan. 20, 2014, Asheville Car Accident Lawyer Blog