A systematic review of the association between fault or blame-related attributions and procedures after transport injury and health and work-related outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Attributions of fault are often associated with worse injury outcomes; however, the consistency and magnitude of these impacts is not known. This review examined the prognostic role of fault on health, mental health, pain and work outcomes after transport injury. A systematic search of five electronic databases (Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library) yielded 16,324 records published between 2000 and January 2018. Eligibility criteria were: adult transport injury survivors; prospective design; multivariable analysis; fault-related factor analysed; pain, mental health, general health or work-related outcome. Citations (n = 10,558, excluding duplicates) and full text articles (n = 555) were screened manually (Reviewer 1), and using concurrent machine learning and text mining (Reviewer 2; using Abstrackr, WordStat and QDA miner). Data from 55 papers that met all inclusion criteria were extracted, papers were evaluated for risk of bias using the QUIPS tool, and overall level of evidence was assessed using the GRADE tool. There were six main fault-related factors classified as: fault or responsibility, fault-based compensation, lawyer involvement or litigation, blame or guilt, road user or position in vehicle, and impact direction. Overall there were inconsistent associations between fault and transport injury outcomes, and 60% of papers had high risk of bias. There was moderate evidence that fault-based compensation claims were associated with poorer health-related outcomes, and that lawyer involvement was associated with poorer work outcomes beyond 12 months post-injury. However, the evidence of negative associations between fault-based compensation claims and work-related outcomes was limited. Lawyer involvement and fault-based compensation claims were associated with adverse mental health outcomes six months post-injury, but not beyond 12 months. The most consistent associations between fault and negative outcomes were not for fault attributions, per se, but were related to fault-related procedures (e.g., lawyer engagement, fault-based compensation claims).

Original languageEnglish
Article number105333
Number of pages31
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fault
  • Mental health
  • Pain
  • PTSD
  • Recovery
  • Road trauma
  • Transport injury

Cite this