What Is Considered a Long-Term Injury?
A long-term injury, also known as a residual injury, is any medical problem that involves lingering symptoms or limitations. Long-term injuries include permanent disabilities. However, you could still have a long-term injury even if you aren’t considered to be permanently disabled. The nature of an injury is significant in personal injury law. Generally speaking, the more severe and long-lasting an injury is, the more compensation you are likely to receive from an insurance company or jury award. At Ellis Injury Law in Southern California, our personal injury lawyers make every effort to secure maximum compensation on behalf of our seriously injured clients.
Common types of long-term injuries
Healthcare providers define a chronic or long-term injury as anything that causes symptoms for at least three months or longer. In personal injury cases, long-term injuries often include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: A brain injury can result in permanent changes to one’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral wellness. Patients may suffer from persistent headaches, sensory deficits, and mental health symptoms. A severe TBI may even result in a vegetative state.
- Spinal cord damage: Any trauma to the sensitive spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis. Victims may lose the ability to feel and move their lower body or their entire body.
- Back injuries: Even when the spinal cord isn’t damaged, a back injury can result in ongoing pain and permanent disability. Some examples of back injuries include fractured vertebrae and ruptured discs.
- Burn injuries: Severe, third-degree burns can result in substantial trauma to muscles and other tissues. Victims may need multiple skin graft surgeries, and even afterward it’s still likely they will suffer from permanent disfigurement. Even if the burn injury isn’t deep, it’s considered severe if it affects a sensitive area such as the face or hands. The post-surgical development of scar tissue and contractures can result in lingering symptoms and permanent disability.
- Amputation: A traumatic amputation is the sudden, unplanned loss of a hand, foot, finger, toe, arm, or leg. Traumatic amputations can occur in severe auto, motorcycle, or truck accidents. Even if a crash victim survives with all their limbs intact, they may later require a planned surgical amputation if the damage is too severe to repair. An amputation results in permanent disability. Typically, it also results in the significant impairment of one’s ability to work and care for oneself.
These are just a few of the most common examples of long-term injuries. Any injury can be considered long-term if the symptoms linger for weeks to months, or if the patient has lasting limitations in their physical or cognitive capabilities.
Are long-term injury claims worth more?
Long-term injuries add a deeper level of complexity to the task of calculating the value of an injury claim. Like short-term injury claims, long-term injury claims will typically involve damages for medical expenses and lost wages. However, unlike short-term injuries, residual injuries are likely to continue to incur expenses over the coming months or perhaps years. Because of this, it’s necessary to request damages for the anticipated future medical expenses. These might include additional surgeries and hospitalizations, pharmaceutical expenses, durable medical equipment, home health aides, and physical therapy. The anticipated future medical expenses will be added to the request for damages.
In addition, long-term injuries tend to generate more non-economic damages. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are subjective in nature and even more difficult to calculate than anticipated future expenses. In general, however, the more severe an injury is, the higher the non-economic damages will be. These include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. To improve your chances of securing maximum compensation for your losses, it’s important to keep detailed records of the extent to which your long-term injuries affect your daily activities and capabilities.
Consult the personal injury team at Ellis Injury Law
Throughout Southern California, injured individuals put their trust in experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law. With a track record of securing more than $350 million for our clients, we have a reputation for results-driven legal strategies and a client-focused approach. Our personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of cases, including auto, truck, motorcycle, and rideshare accidents, as well as slip and fall premises liability cases. Contact us today to request a free consultation to discuss your options for pursuing legal recourse.