Recent studies have shown that the long-term effects of serious personal injuries are often more devastating than the more immediate effects. For example, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury, there are a number of ailments and disorders that may develop years later as a direct result of the initial injury. These long-term consequences must be considered when determining damages in a personal injury case.
Long-term consequences may be any combination of physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral. For example, the latent effects of neurological injuries commonly include:
- Problems with concentration, arousal, attention, slowness
- Difficulty with speech, language comprehension, word finding
- Memory loss
- Fatigue, sleep disturbances, other sleep disorders
- Problems with judgment or planning
- Visual impairments
- Decreased motor abilities
- Sensory loss or impairment
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irritability, anxiety and depression
- Inappropriate behavior.
Many of these conditions may affect anyone who has had a serious, incapacitating, or disfiguring injury. In addition, it is common for people who have sustained such injuries to struggle with grief, relationship stress, chemical dependency, and any number of other related issues.
Any of these consequences may lead to increased economic difficulties down the road. A serious injury may eventually force you out of your primary occupation, requiring training in another field. This training may be costly and time-consuming, and in some cases your new occupation may force you to take a pay cut. Some injuries may require you to make a long-term appeal for social services.
These long-term effects often don’t get the serious consideration they deserve when determining damages in a personal injury case. After all, they are impossible to prove if symptoms haven’t yet developed. Furthermore, insurance companies are often in a hurry to settle a case before any long-term effects have the chance to develop. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to account for the likelihood of long-term effects when calculating monetary damages.