A follow-up cohort study of passenger car occupants injured in car crashes in an urban area in Sweden.
To analyze the injuries, injury events, and long-term consequences of injuries in car crashes.
Summary of Background Data.
The consequences of car crashes usually are described in terms of the number of people injured, the severity of injuries, or the number of inpatient days. Certain types of crash injuries can results in long-term sick leave and granting of disability pension. The increased socioeconomic significance of these outcomes is not always indicated by analysis of commonly used variables.
Two hundred fifty-five passenger car occupants aged 16-64 years who were injured in car crashes in urban traffic were analyzed in terms of length of sick leave and receipt of disability pension.
Strain of the cervical spine was the most common type of injury (55%; 141 injuries), and these injuries accounted for 82% of all sick leave taken within 2.5 years after the injury event. Injury to the cervical spine in 16 of 18 cases resulted in long-term sick leave or dependence on disability pension. The most common injury mechanism was rear-end collisions (39%). This type of crash resulted in 64% of all sick-leave days within 2.5 years after the injury event. Twelve out of 18 injured people on long-term sick leave or receiving disability pension had been in cars struck from behind.
It is important to include long-term consequences in the form of sick leave and disability pension when describing the consequences of different types of car crashes and injuries.