Most people who get hurt in car crashes, even if they have a permanent injury, will eventually recover enough to move on with their lives. Losing a limb or suffering a traumatic brain injury after a severe motor vehicle collision can mean thousands of dollars in medical care, but many people can eventually return to work with good support after a severe injury.

If you have the potential of getting back to work with certain treatments or accommodations by your employer, it’s important that you recognize that lingering symptoms from your injury, including chronic pain, could affect your work performance for the rest of your life.

Even healed injuries can affect range of motion, strength and endurance

When you recover from a broken bone, an incomplete spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, there may be lingering consequences to the affected parts of your body.

It is common for such injuries to heal physically while leaving some permanent consequences of the damage. You may not be able to lift as much as before, use the affected body part as frequently, turn it as far as you once could or use it repetitively for an entire shift at work.

Chronic pain might limit your sleep

Even if you don’t notice an immediate reduction in your strength, endurance or flexibility when you return to work after an injury, you may suffer lasting consequences in the form of sleep deprivation.

Chronic pain can equate to 42 minutes of sleep debt during what was once an adequate amount of time to rest. Not getting enough quality sleep can mean issues with awareness, cognition, job performance and mood.

Injuries can cause depression that also affects your performance

Not all of the consequences of getting hurt on the job are purely physical. There are psychological consequences to an injury as well. If you feel like your job has become harder or your quality of life has decreased because of the injury you suffered in a car crash, mental health issues like depression could impact your daily experience and your job performance as well.

Considering the long-term implications of an injury, not just the immediate medical costs it presents, can help you make better decisions about your rights after a car crash severely injures you.