Car accident injuries can lead to significant setbacks for victims. Not only can a car accident victim experience significant pain and suffering, but they may also not be able to go about their daily activities or work while they recover. When most people think of car accident injuries, they think of lacerations, broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord trauma. However, car accident victims can also suffer from post-traumatic arthritis. Here, our Chicago car accident lawyers want to discuss what post-traumatic arthritis is and how it can affect your insurance claim.
Can you develop arthritis after a car accident?
Post-traumatic arthritis refers to swelling and pain in certain joints that are caused, at least in part by, injuries to the affected area. This can include injuries that occur in car accidents. When an injury damages muscles, ligaments, and tendons, this can affect the function of the joints in the surrounding area and cause the cartilage around a joint to begin to deteriorate. Thus, arthritis can develop. This type of arthritis is referred to as post-traumatic arthritis. This type of arthritis can affect a person’s:
How long does it take for post-traumatic arthritis to develop?
Post-traumatic arthritis takes some time to develop. The deterioration of cartilage around a joint does not occur quickly. Therefore, post-traumatic arthritis will not occur directly after a car accident.
Post-traumatic arthritis can take months or even years after a car accident to develop. This can lead to difficulty when it comes to securing compensation for these injuries because, after a person agrees to an initial settlement offer from an insurance carrier or after a jury verdict has been rendered for a car accident lawsuit, it will be nearly impossible to go back and secure additional compensation for subsequent injuries.
Unfortunately, insurance carriers and at-fault parties in these cases will use the length of time it takes for post-traumatic arthritis to display symptoms as a reason to deny a claim. Usually, insurance carriers or the defendant will argue that any arthritis a person has was already present before the accident occurred.
How do you treat post-traumatic arthritis?
The signs and symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis can include the following:
- Pain while at rest or during movement
- Joint swelling or inflammation
- Joint instability
- Joint tenderness
- Joint grinding
- Joint stiffness
- Lack of range of motion
It is essential that a person who is suffering from post-traumatic arthritis receive treatment from a trained medical professional. The primary goal of treating patients with post-traumatic arthritis is to minimize the symptoms, reduce pain, and improve functionality. Current treatments for this condition include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs as well as encouraging patients to engage in low-impact exercises and lifestyle changes. For example, patients that are overweight may be asked to lose weight in order to alleviate some of the symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis.
Surgery is only considered for this condition if other treatments fail to properly manage the symptoms. Surgical management of post-traumatic arthritis can vary depending on the joint that is damaged. For example, post-traumatic hip arthritis could be managed with a hip replacement.