A newly published study finds that one in four elderly people may continue
to suffer pain several months after being injured in a
car accident, including pain that keeps them from being able to perform their daily
If you or a loved one is an older person who has been involved in a car
accident, resulting in what may have seemed at the time to be only "minor
injuries," this study reinforces the need to schedule a follow-up
visit - especially if pain is still being felt.
You may be suffering from a serious medical condition. A follow-up visit
can allow that condition to be diagnosed and treated by doctors as early
as possible. It can also help to protect your right to full compensation
if your crash was caused by the negligence of another driver.
Persistent Pain Keeps Many Seniors from Engaging in Daily Life Activities
Annals of Emergency Medicine published the study in early June. The researchers set out to identify
the incidence, risk factors and consequences of persistent pain among
those ages 65 and older after they had been in a crash.
The researchers conducted the study by interviewing 161 seniors who had
gone to emergency departments after a crash between June 2011 and June
2014. The seniors had not suffered any major injuries requiring hospitalization.
The researchers interviewed the patients at four stages: At the emergency
department, six weeks later, six months later and one year later.
The seniors were asked to rate their pain, on a scale of 1 to 10, both
overall and in 15 body parts. If the senior reported pain at a level of
4 or higher at the six-month mark, the study deemed the pain to be "persistent."
When interviewed at the emergency department, 72 percent of the seniors
reported that they had moderate-to-severe pain. When they were interviewed
six months later, 26 percent of the seniors reported moderate-to-severe
pain, including pain in the head, neck, jaw, lower back or legs.
The researchers discovered that seniors who were still experiencing pain
at six months tended to have poor self-rated health, less formal education,
pre-crash depressive symptoms and a recovery that was expected to last
longer than 30 days. Many of them had also failed to go to the doctor
for follow-up treatment in the weeks after the crash.
Additionally, the seniors with persistent pain were more likely than those
without pain to experience the following at the six-month mark:
- A decline in their capacity to physically function
- New difficulties with performing the activities of daily living
- Reduction in overall self-rated health
- Change in their living situation to obtain additional help.
Study Highlights Importance of Medical Attention after a Crash
In an article about the study, a medical expert told
Reuters that chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million people in the U.S.,
especially older adults. The pain can lead to decreased cognitive performance
and expose the victim to other health and safety risks such as falls,
the expert said.
Getting into a car accident must be treated seriously. Even if one believes
that a crash resulted in only minor injuries, a follow-up visit should
be scheduled in the weeks after a crash in order to understand the full
impact of the accident.
If you would like to learn more about taking legal action after a crash
that has been caused by another,
contact The Maher Law Firm. We can provide a free review of your case and help
you to understand your legal options.