Legal Guide

Long-Term Effects of A Personal Injury

Long-term consequences of personal injuries can be any combination of emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral effects. Even those injuries that appear minor can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Studies show that the long-term consequences of injuries tend to have more harmful effects than the immediate ones.

A personal injury can have the following long-term effects on people’s lives.

Physical Effects

Injuries caused by a slip-and-fall accident, car accident, faulty product, or medical malpractice can cause serious damage to body organs, tissues, and systems. Some injuries have long-term consequences on the physical and mental health of the victims.

Head injuries

In the long term, people with severe brain injuries may face:

  • Permanent paralysis
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Personality changes

They may need extensive rehabilitative therapy or around-the-clock care.

Neck injuries

Neck injuries can cause chronic pain. Depending on how much damage has been done to the upper spine, quadriplegia may occur. This can cause paralysis and difficulty in breathing and eating.

Back injuries

People tend to experience long-term or permanent pain if the accidents they were involved in caused a spinal disk injury, narrowing or displacement of a vertebra, or dislocation, cartilage, or ligament damage to a joint. The pain may resolve over time. There is a likelihood of some discomfort, pain, or lack of mobility continuing or reoccurring, especially as people age.


Injuries or treatment received can cause scars. Scar tissues can make the flesh in the surrounding area less flexible. If scarring occurs in a part of the body that flexes, such as the joints, it can lead to a permanent loss of mobility.

Economic Difficulties

Serious injuries can lead to increased financial problems down the road. Some of the financial costs that accompany these injuries include:

  • Long hospital stays
  • Medication
  • Assistive devices
  • Therapies
  • Counseling
  • Nursing care

Besides medical expenses, accident victims may also lose income. Some injuries may stop people from returning to their primary occupation at full capacity or prevent them from returning at all. Consequently, they may have to apply for a social security disability program.

Psychological Effects

Physical injuries often have long-term psychological ramifications. Having to endure the pain and trauma of a physical injury usually leads to significant mental and emotional distress. That can manifest in different ways, including insomnia, sexual dysfunction, anger, lack of energy, and loss of appetite.


Injuries from falls and motor vehicle accidents can make people develop a fear of mobility. The fear arises due to the risk of severe pain that they face during routine movements. As a result, they may limit their activities.

People involved in car accidents can experience some trepidation before getting back on the road. For some, it develops into a full-blown driving phobia or fear of being a passenger.


Accidents that result in personal injury can be triggers for depression. Struggling with continual pain after injury makes people susceptible to depression. According to research, people with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop anxiety and mood disorders than the rest of the population.

Permanent injuries like scars can have lasting effects on people’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. It is common for victims of spinal cord injuries to experience depression months or even years after their injury. Bone injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability also have negative psychological effects. Treatment and rehabilitation that last for years can be depressing.

The physical changes that injury victims have to adapt to can leave them feeling helpless and uninterested in friends, family, or work. This could even result in divorce.

Lifestyle Changes

People who have sustained injuries often have to make lifestyle changes. Injuries may make them unable to work and support their families. They may also be unable to engage in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed, such as games with children and family outings. Intimate relations with their partners may also be negatively impacted.

The cost of a personal injury is significantly more than the immediate hospital bill. People should take these long-term effects into account when determining how much to pursue in damages.

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