A new study shows that those who are subject to gunshot injuries are more likely to have long-lasting side effects from the experience, both physical and emotional. For example, 68 percent of victims will experience chronic pain after treatment ends. 53 percent screen positive for PTSD. An additional 59 percent don’t make it back to work within six months to a year. These numbers are even greater than they are for victims of car accidents, which result in similarly devastating physical injuries.

But why?

Research Director Juan P. Herrera-Escobar explained: “Firearm injuries are a pressing public health problem in the United States. Until now, most of the research on this problem has focused on mortality, which of course is critical, but is only one piece of the story. For every person who dies from a firearm injury, three survive every year. As trauma systems continue to improve and save more lives every year, our attention should start shifting to the impact that firearm injuries have on survivors.”

He said, “The impact of firearm injuries is not limited to deaths. The long-term burden born in survivors is huge and affects multiple domains, such as physical health, mental health, reintegration to society, and quality of life.”

Around 300 people are involved in a shooting that results in injury every day in the United States. Around a third of these individuals’ wounds will be fatal. Even though medical advancements have reduced the chance of death because of the wound itself, the number of gun-related incidents has been on the rise for decades — meaning that more people are being killed than ever before.

Herrera-Escobar suggests that more research is needed to understand why the long-term outcomes for those who survive firearm injuries are so poor when comparing them to similar traumatic events. He says that more studies need to be done on “socioeconomic status, patients’ social support networks, access to healthcare services, and several other factors that are not necessarily injury-related.”

Meanwhile, survivors are urged to speak to personal injury attorneys to ensure they stay as financially whole as possible. It isn’t always possible to compensate every dime for such long-term, ongoing costs, but health insurance payouts and civil litigation can make a dent. Criminal court also provides an avenue for restitution separate from civil litigation. 

Were you injured by a firearm or a person’s negligence? You should contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation as quickly as you can. Retain all documents relating to medical expenses and lost wages, and keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings throughout recovery.