We all know the possible injuries caused by a car accident: but can a car accident cause arthritis? In a word, yes. And, if you can prove the link, our Toronto car accident lawyer says you can sue the negligent party who caused your world of joint pain.
Our Toronto car accident lawyer notes that a car accident often results in various injuries that require immediate medical attention and/or long-term care:
- Johnny gets whiplash when the car in which he’s a passenger is rear-ended by a distracted driver.
- Wendy is left with a spinal cord injury after a car accident and a lifetime in a wheelchair.
- Sue suffers a traumatic brain injury after her car spins out on an unplowed road.
Broken bones. Concussion. Cuts and bruises. Fatalities. Our Toronto car accident lawyer says they’re all common consequences of being involved in a car accident. But arthritis? Who knew this type of traumatic event could cause, or worsen, this painful condition – but it’s often surprisingly overlooked as being a result of a car accident.
In fact, the Toronto car accident lawyers at Verkhovets Law know there are several ways that a car accident could potentially contribute to the development of arthritis or exacerbate a pre-existing condition. In Ontario, you can potentially sue for damages if you believe that a car accident was the direct cause of your arthritis.
But pursuing this type of claim can be complex and requires guidance from our experienced Toronto car accident lawyer, Mariya Verkhovets, who will assist you in navigating the legal process to seek the compensation you deserve.
Our Toronto car accident lawyer explains arthritis
Before explaining how arthritis can arise from a car accident, our Toronto car accident lawyer says it important to explore what the searing condition is: the word arthritis is actually a layman’s term to describe inflammation and pain in one or more joints.
The Toronto car accident lawyers at Verkhovets Law note there are over 100 different types of arthritis, but the two most common are:
- Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that typically develops over time due to wear and tear on the joints. It’s characterized by the breakdown of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones, leading to severe pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the tissues of the body’s joints and other organs, causing inflammation, pain, and potential joint damage.
The kind of arthritis that can be caused by a car accident is post-traumatic arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis that develops in a joint after it has been injured or subjected to trauma, such as a car crash. This can occur when the joint is damaged in an accident, and the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint is compromised.
But while you may be able to show fairly quickly if a car accident worsens an already-existing case of arthritis, what if your post-traumatic arthritis doesn’t develop until well after the two-year time limit to sue under the Limitations Act in Ontario?
If arthritis or any other medical condition resulting from a car accident does not become apparent until some time has passed after the accident, you can still potentially pursue a claim. The keys: understand the legal process, gather evidence, and meet statutory requirements, say our Toronto car accident lawyers.
4 key features of post-traumatic arthritis
Post-traumatic arthritis develops in a joint following a significant injury or trauma, such as a fracture, dislocation, or severe joint sprain, explains our Toronto car accident lawyer. This type of arthritis is characterized by the progressive degeneration of the affected joint, leading to pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and other symptoms over time.
The damage to the joint that occurs during the initial trauma can disrupt its normal functioning, resulting in the gradual breakdown of the protective cartilage that covers the ends of the bones inside. Persistence of the post-traumatic arthritis symptoms after six months can lead to the condition to become chronic.
Toronto car accident lawyers say key features of post-traumatic arthritis include:
- Onset: Typically months or even years after the initial injury.
- Symptoms: Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, joint instability, intolerance to weight-bearing activities and a decreased ability to move the affected joint, says a Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Joint degeneration: Gradual loss of cartilage, which can lead to the bones within the joint rubbing against each other, causing further damage and pain.
- Impact on function: Post-traumatic arthritis can significantly impact quality of life by limiting the ability to perform everyday activities and physical activities.
The Toronto car accident lawyers at Verkhovets Law know treatment may include pain management, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, weight loss, wearing a brace and, in more severe cases, surgical interventions like joint debridement, realignment, or replacement. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms, slow the progression of the condition, and improve joint function and overall quality of life.
6 ways a car accident worsens pre-existing arthritis
It’s important for individuals with pre-existing arthritis to be aware of the potential for their condition to worsen after a car accident and to communicate their medical history with healthcare providers, note our Toronto car accident lawyers.A car accident can worsen pre-existing arthritis through various mechanisms, primarily by subjecting the affected joints to additional trauma and stress. Here’s how:
- Direct joint injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Increased inflammation
- Reduced mobility
- Psychological stress
- Increased pain
Proving causation is tricky, warns our Toronto car accident lawyer
Our Toronto car accident lawyers know after a car accident that causes arthritis, you may sue the responsible party or parties, including the at-fault driver, local government (for contributing conditions), pedestrians, cyclists, or others who share liability.
But proving a car accident caused arthritis requires careful documentation, expert opinions, and a strong legal strategy, says our Toronto car accident lawyer.
Here are the steps:
- Records: Gather medical records and reports including the initial assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation, advises our Toronto car accident lawyer.
- Experts: Orthopedic specialists or rheumatologists, who can provide expert opinions regarding causation and link it to the crash based on your medical history and the injuries sustained.
- Imaging: Utilize diagnostic imaging reports, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, that demonstrate the extent of joint damage or injuries sustained.
- Timeline: Maintain detailed records of the timeline of your symptoms, indicating when they first appeared or worsened after the accident, say our Toronto car accident lawyers.
- Pre-accident records: Provide evidence of your health and any pre-existing medical conditions before the car accident to establish the arthritis was a result of the accident and not a pre-existing condition – unless it was and worsened.
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Our Toronto car accident lawyers know you may need to navigate the province’s auto insurance system, which can impact your ability to receive compensation for arthritis resulting from a car accident.