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Can auto accidents trigger rheumatoid arthritis in crash victims?

Barry G. Doyle
Illinois accident lawyer and Chicago nursing home lawyer providing FREE information to help those in need.

When someone is involved in an auto accident, he or she can develop a host of different kinds of acute injuries. Moreover, the victim can develop additional conditions or even chronic ailments which may or may not be directly related to the acute injuries themselves. For instance, a severe laceration could become infected and eventually become gangrenous. Or a person with a punctured lung could go on to develop pneumonia because of his or her weakened condition during recovery.

Now, research is raising the question of whether auto accidents can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in crash victims.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition which refers to inflammation of the joints in many parts of the body. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the joints, fatigue, and body stiffness. The exact causes of RA aren't known, but their origins are believed to be found among a mixture of hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors.

A study published in the Oxford Journal Rheumatology tried to determine whether physical trauma was one of these factors in the onset of RA.

More than 260 RA sufferers who were patients at British hospitals were questioned about their conditions, and the results were compared against a control group. The researchers found that 55 people suffering from RA had experienced some type of physical trauma within the previous six months, while only 17 members of the control group posted similar responses. The study concluded that there was a significant link between trauma and the onset of RA.

This research didn't focus specifically on auto accidents (although crashes are a common cause of injury), nor did it clearly establish a cause-and-effect relationship between trauma and rheumatoid arthritis. But the results do raise questions about the role the auto accident injuries play in the triggering of RA, especially in older Illinois residents.

Therefore, it would be worthwhile to pursue this idea if you have recently developed rheumatoid arthritis.

Ask yourself when the first symptoms became noticeable, and then determine if you were in an auto accident within the previous several months. For relatives of friends who have RA, be sure to pose these questions to them. If the accident in question was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, then the victim may be entitled to damages to help pay for the treatment of RA. Our qualified Illinois auto accident lawyers can answer any questions you may have about and link between rheumatoid arthritis and motor vehicle crash injuries.