A study in the March 2008 issue of the medical journal, the Archives of Surgery, provides medical proof for something that plaintiff’s lawyers have known for years: the traumatic injury caused by events like car crashes stays with most people for longer than a year.

The article, “Prevalence of Pain in Patients 1 Year After Major Trauma,” tracked the progress of over 3,000 patients at 69 different hospitals across the United States who had been admitted because of acute trauma. Results showed that 12 months after the injury, 62.7% of patients still reported some injury-related pain.

Perhaps most importantly for the purposes of litigation, pain at 3 months was predictive of high levels of pain at 12 months. This means that a quick settlement with the insurance company after only three months can cause you to be undercompensated for your pain and suffering.

For years, the insurance defense bar has railed against plaintiff claims of “soft tissue damage,” but this article provides proof that car crash pain stays with victims for a long time.