Some injuries happen at the moment that a car accident takes place: a broken leg, a concussion, a damaged spleen. But other car accident injuries can take a prolonged time to manifest. Even though these health conditions did not develop until after the accident, they were still caused by the accident, and the person or parties responsible for the accident are also responsible for all injuries.

In this blog post, we will be talking about post-traumatic arthritis (also known as post-traumatic osteoarthritis), a type of car accident injury that can take months or years to develop in the wake of a crash. In addition to discussing what post-traumatic arthritis is, we will also cover what you need to know about post-traumatic arthritis when filing a West Virginia car accident injury claim.

What are the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Arthritis?

Post-traumatic arthritis is pain and swelling in certain joints that is caused, at least in part, by an injury to the affected area. An injury damages the area, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, affecting the function of the area and causing the joint’s cartilage to begin to deteriorate.

Because it takes a significant period of time for a joint’s cartilage to wear down, this injury does not happen directly after an accident. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis can appear in the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips, hands, and feet.

If you suffered an injury in or near a joint, look for these signs and symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis:

  • Pain, either while a joint is at rest or during movement.
  • Joint tenderness.
  • Joint swelling and inflammation.
  • Joint instability.
  • Joint grinding.
  • Joint stiffness and lack of range of motion.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, see a medical professional immediately regarding your concerns.

What Damages Can Be Caused by Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis?

As you might guess from the description of the disease and its symptoms, post-traumatic osteoarthritis can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you are filing a personal injury claim in the wake of a car accident that involves post-traumatic arthritis, you might consider the following damages:

  • Medical bills. Post-traumatic arthritis may require medications, injections, physical therapy, and even joint replacement surgery. All of these treatments can add up, especially if you need ongoing medical care to manage your condition.
  • Lost wages. It is easy to see how having osteoarthritis in one or more of your joints could prevent you from doing your job – or even holding down any type of employment. Your car accident claim may include wages you lost when you were initially injured as well as future lost wages if you are now unable to work or unable to do the same work.
  • Pain and suffering. Arthritis can be extremely painful – and it can be a pain that stays with you throughout the day and night. It can also prevent you from doing things you love, from sailing to knitting to walking around the block.

If you believe that you are suffering from post-traumatic arthritis, it is vital that you see a doctor about your condition and share the story of your past trauma. Together, you and your medical team can help treat the condition. If you believe your post-traumatic arthritis was caused by a past car accident, speak to a personal injury lawyer in West Virginia. A legal team can help you understand your case, establish causality, and get you the compensation that you deserve.