When a person is involved in an accident that results in a personal injury, they may suffer physically, financially, and emotionally. Life may be different after an accident, with lasting effects on your work, social, and family life. Considering the impact an injury can have is an important step in determining what to do next. Discuss how an injury affects your life and what options you may have with an experienced, compassionate lawyer who is an expert at helping accident victims recover some of what was lost due to injury. If you are experiencing any of these difficulties, consider how seeking emotional, financial, and legal support as a victim of personal injury could help you move forward with your life.
1. Financial Hardship
Physical injuries can impact a person in multiple ways, preventing them from pursuing financial opportunities and harming their financial stability. Increased expenses, debt, and surprise bills can all result from an accident. Victims can see their savings wiped out when covering costs due to injury. These can be even more frustrating when your injury is not your fault. Injuries often cause significant financial hardship for the injured person and their family which diminishes their overall quality of life.
2. Long-term Disability
It’s scary to think about, but severe injury can result in long-term disability. It may take time after the initial devastation of an injury for a disability to become apparent. Long-term disability is frequently accompanied by chronic pain, loss of mobility, and in extreme cases, paralysis that can compound an already difficult situation. An injury may qualifiy you as disabled when it impairs your ability to perform physical or cognitive tasks.
Not all of the effects of injury are immediate. For instance, medical researchers have noted that cognitive and central nervous system injuries can appear years after an initial incident. Delayed symptoms might include difficulty with memory, problems processing information, trouble focusing, headaches, and mental fogginess.
3. Emotional Stress
The psychological effects of personal injury can be immense and add to already significant physical problems. Physical limitations are amplified by the emotional hardship they cause, creating a vicious cycle of stress that makes it more difficult to complete daily activities and focus on healing.
Those with severe injuries are more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder can all occur after an injury and can be compounded by the inability to earn a living and impaired personal relationships. British Columbian courts recognize that mental illness can be as serious as physical injury and have awarded damages to those whose personal injury had severe emotional, cognitive, and psychological effects.
4. Need for Rehabilitative Services
Common personal injuries include head and neck injuries, soft tissue injuries, joint and limb injuries, brain injuries, and broken bones. Any serious injury can require short- or long-term rehabilitative services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and vocational rehabilitation.
The process of healing can be time-consuming and at times, physically uncomfortable. In extreme cases, those with severe personal injuries might need ongoing rehabilitative services to keep an injury from worsening.
Types of accidents that can require rehabilitative services:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Car accidents
- Dog bites
- Bicycle accidents
5. Loss of Enjoyment of Life
In legal terms, loss of enjoyment of life refers to the diminished quality of life that occurs as a result of serious injury. For loss of enjoyment of life to factor into a personal injury claim, the loss of enjoyment must be connected to reduced function, pain, or other effects of an injury. While at times difficult to quantify, loss of enjoyment of life can be included in the calculation of damages awarded in a personal injury case. Talk to a lawyer who can help determine how this could affect your disability claim.
6. Impaired Personal Relationships
Personal relationships are based on emotional connection. They require you to be present and active in a significant other’s life. But when you are dealing with an injury, it can be difficult to give loved ones the attention they deserve.
The stress of doctor visits, acute and chronic pain, loss of mobility, and diminished quality of life can all be significant. Arguments with family members as well as isolating or avoiding contact with significant others are signs your injury is taking a toll on your personal relationships. It’s important to talk to your doctor or your mental health provider about what you are feeling. Personal relationships are important to healing and quality of life.
7. Lost Income and Limited Career Prospects
An injury could prevent you from fulfilling a job’s physical duties like lifting or operating machinery. Or you may be unable to complete the required mental tasks, either because of the overwhelming emotional toll injuries can take or because an injury has resulted in cognitive impairment.
Incidents like slips and falls, car accidents, and other accidents can prevent you from working in your chosen profession or significantly reduce your overall earning potential. An injury might also prevent you from advancing your career beyond your present position. Or perhaps you had to take a different, lower-paying job after you were injured.
In these cases, past and future income losses can be included when calculating damages in a personal injury case. Future income losses, or “loss of earning capacity,” represent the gap between your earning potential before and after your injury. Those who currently work but aren’t earning as much as they might have before their injury may receive damages that offset the difference.
8. Need for Adaptive or Assistive Technologies
A personal injury, even one resulting in permanent disability, doesn’t have to keep you from doing what you love. Assistive and adaptive technologies can assist physical or cognitive functioning and improve your overall quality of life.
While these technologies do a lot of good for people with injuries and their families, they can also require significant lifestyle modifications and hidden costs beyond what’s covered by the health system. Installing a chair lift, building a wheelchair ramp, or creating space for a mobility aid can involve significant time, adjustment, and expense.