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What Types of Car Accident Injuries Lead to Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is one of the most debilitating medical conditions. Chronic pain occurs when the pain of an injury persists long after the injury itself is healed. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, and it “leads to significantly decreased quality of life, reduced productivity, lost wages, worsening of chronic disease, and psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.”

It’s also a common complication of many types of car accident injuries, including those that don’t seem serious in the hours, days, and even weeks after crashes occur. But as adrenaline wears off, even relatively minor injuries can become debilitating and disabling.

If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic pain after a crash, it’s important to understand the injuries that can result in this debilitating condition, especially if you plan on filing an injury claim against the at-fault driver.


Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, particularly in rear-end collisions. It occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, stretching and tearing the muscles and tendons in the neck. Symptoms may not appear immediately but can develop into chronic neck pain and stiffness, significantly impacting daily activities and work.

Herniated Discs

The impact of a car accident can cause the discs in the spine to shift or rupture, leading to a herniated disc. This condition can cause chronic back pain, numbness, and weakness in the limbs. Herniated discs can severely limit mobility and may require long-term treatment, including physical therapy, medication, and possibly surgery.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

TBIs are caused by a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. While mild TBIs, such as concussions, often result in symptoms that resolve over time, more severe TBIs can lead to chronic headaches, cognitive difficulties, emotional instability, and other long-lasting effects.


Broken bones are common in car accidents, and while they typically heal within a few months, some fractures can result in prolonged pain. Complications such as improper healing, nerve damage, or the development of arthritis at the injury site can lead to chronic pain conditions that might require ongoing treatment.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries include damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can be deceptive; they may seem minor at first but can lead to significant pain and dysfunction over time. Soft tissue injuries can result in chronic pain, making it difficult to perform daily tasks or enjoy previous levels of physical activity.

What Treatments Are Available for Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can be difficult to cure, but doctors and other pain management professionals can try many different treatments to help patients get relief from their symptoms. Common treatments for chronic pain include:

  • Medication: Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, can help manage pain levels. In some cases, antidepressants or anticonvulsants may be prescribed for nerve pain.
  • Injections: For certain types of pain, especially involving joints or the back, corticosteroid injections can provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: A tailored physical therapy program can help strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion, which can alleviate some types of chronic pain.
  • Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic adjustments can be particularly effective for spinal injuries, helping to relieve back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists can provide strategies and tools to help individuals perform daily activities with less pain and discomfort.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct injuries that are causing chronic pain, such as herniated discs or severe joint damage.
  • Nerve Blocks: These are injections that can help diagnose and treat certain types of nerve pain by temporarily interrupting pain signals.
  • Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, which may help relieve pain for some people.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage can reduce tension in muscles, improve circulation, and offer relief from pain and stiffness.

The problem is that chronic pain can also be hard to prove, since the initial injuries may have healed, leaving no identifiable cause of the pain. This means that insurance companies often refuse to provide compensation for the treatment of chronic pain after car accidents. Getting an experienced lawyer on your side who can fight for your right to full and fair compensation is vital.

What Compensation Is Available for People Suffering from Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can interfere with just about every aspect of life, from working and exercising to sleeping and spending time with family and friends. Fortunately, the legal system provides mechanisms for victims to seek compensation for their suffering and losses.

Compensation chronic pain victims may be eligible to receive includes:

Medical Expenses

This includes compensation for all medical treatments related to the injuries sustained in the car accident, both immediate and long-term. It covers hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any future medical care needed for chronic conditions resulting from the accident.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

Victims can be compensated for lost wages due to their inability to work immediately following the accident. In addition, if their chronic pain condition affects their ability to earn a similar income in the future as before their car accident, compensation may include the loss of earning capacity, factoring in the victim’s age, career trajectory, and the severity of their condition.

Pain and Suffering

This category acknowledges the non-economic impact of chronic pain, including physical discomfort and mental anguish. Compensation for pain and suffering is more subjective and varies significantly from case to case. It aims to address the reduced quality of life and daily discomfort or distress caused by the injuries.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Chronic pain can severely restrict an individual’s ability to enjoy hobbies and activities they once loved. Compensation can be sought for this loss of enjoyment, acknowledging the emotional and psychological impact of being unable to participate in leisure activities or hobbies due to someone else’s negligence in causing their car accident.

Home Modification and Assistive Devices

If chronic pain necessitates home modifications (such as stairlifts, ramps, or bathroom modifications) or the need for assistive devices (like wheelchairs or walkers), compensation can include these expenses to help the victim maintain independence and quality of life.

Contact Our Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we know that chronic pain is an unfortunately common complication of car accident injuries. Even when victims seem to have recovered from their injuries, the chronic pain they’re left with can keep them out of work and in misery for years to come.

Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers firmly believe that no one should have to pay for such a debilitating condition out of pocket, especially when their accidents weren’t their fault. If you need help with a car accident claim, know our legal team is here to help. Contact us anytime for a free case review.