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Long-term Outcome Of Motor Vehicle Accidents


Guest allanopie

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Guest allanopie

Long-Term Outcome of Motor Vehicle Accidents

This current study1 is a 5-year follow-up of a group of accident patients from a 1-year follow-up study2 published in 1993. In that original study, the researchers found a strong relationship between psychological symptoms and physical pain—a relationship that has recently gotten more attention in the literature.

This updated study questioned 111 patients about their demographics, social adjustment, mental state, psychological status, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, medical conditions, quality of life, and driving habits. The group of 111 consisted of three separate groups of patients: 34 whiplash patients; 37 car occupants; and 40 motorbike riders.

The findings are summarized as follows:

  • “The whiplash subjects had the best physical outcome and they reported few effects on leisure and work than the other groups.” At five years after the accident, 32% of the whiplash patients reported minor and 3% reported major physical problems, and 23% reported diminished leisure enjoyment.
  • Although the whiplash patients showed better improvement on these two measures, they were statistically similar on all other measures—including the occurrence of PTSD symptoms.
  • Eight patients had a delayed onset of PTSD identified five years after the accident.
  • Of the 34 whiplash patients, 23 (68%) were seeking compensation from the accident. 78% of these claims had settled within 3 years, and there was no active litigation at the time of the study. Still, 11% of the whiplash patients had major symptoms of travel anxiety, and 18% had symptoms of PTSD.


    “Travel anxiety after a motor vehicle accident is largely unrecognized in clinical practice and has been seen clinically as an occasional neurotic problem that might be associated with seeking compensation. Published literature is conflicting but the present study clearly shows that concern about travel is associated with considerable distress, behavioral change, and disability that is unrelated to the progress of compensation proceedings.”

    And the authors also address the issue of compensation:

    “The prolonged and frustrating pace of legal proceedings was the cause of very considerable anger and concern. This was especially so in those with more severe injuries (and therefore with the greatest need of compensation) whose cases generally took the longest time to resolve. Although there was no evidence that compensation was a major cause of longer term psychiatric and social problems, the prolonged and frustrating legal processes were a cause of stress and of financial difficulties and might reasonably be expected to have contributed to victims’ overall views of satisfaction with outcome…Settlement did not seem to lead to any substantial change in social outcome, but it did result in subjects feeling a profound sense of relief and feeling able to move on from an unwanted preoccupation with the accident and its adverse effects on every day life and ambitions.”

  1. Mayou R, Tyndel S, Bryant B. Long-term outcome of motor vehicle accident injury. Psychosomatic Medicine 1997;59:578-584.
Mayou RA, Bryant B, Duthie R. Psychiatric consequences of road traffic accidents. British Medical Journal 1993;307:647-651.
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At age 18 I was involved in a serious car accident that required Hospitalization and a long and difficult recovery that included losing over 50 lbs. I broke the steering wheel and the metal horn broke and punctured my jaw and tongue and throat.

At age 25 when I was stationed overseas I had my first panic attack. I always test out as having PTSD when they do the PTSD screenings. According to this study 8 survivors ended up with delayed PTSD. I have always wondered if my car accident had something to do with my panic disorder.

Allan thaks so much for posting this I need to do some more research.

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Guest allanopie

Hello Pete,

I was 19 yrs old, and was a middle passenger in the front seat of a 50's Chevy. Was hit with a right lateral impact, in an intersection by a drunk driver. It spun us like a top. Blunt chest trauma, severe whiplash, cracked ribs, messed up my back, left arm, shoulder. They stitched up my head, gave me a collar & had me lay in my bunk on ship for a couple weeks. The top one. I remember it sure smarted to get in & out of that thing using one arm. After a couple weeks, I was back red leading the bilges during an overhaul.

I had several VA health care staff say I had PTSD symptoms, but didn't believe them. I thought it was only combat vets that got it. They sent me to a PTSD group, but I didn't feel right being a non-combat. I finally gave in & filed a claim, but after a 10min exam the guy said I didn't have it. QVC or something like that did the contracting exam. I think the claim for it is still with the BVA.

I have a few more abstracts to post, maybe 7 or 8 concerning cervical injuries, whiplash, etc. Then I'll start sifting through some spine injury research I've collected.

MANY of you have seen some of this stuff over & over. So have I. But some of our new Vets haven't & may be able to use it. So for those who get their nickers in a twist after seeing so many posts on the same subject, please block me. With so many returning troops suffering the same type of injuries, they need this info.

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Alan, I remember that red lead paint. That stuff was awful. During a yard period we Insulated compartment after compartment when they were putting that junk down. I used it to paint the deck too.

I bet there are some harmful chemicals in Red Lead. The odfor made it hard to breath.

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