Chronic Pain following Motor Vehicle Collision: A Systematic Review of Outcomes Associated with Seeking or Receiving Compensation

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Objective: Motor vehicle collisions (MVC) are a major cause of injury, which frequently lead to chronic pain and prolonged disability. Several studies have found that seeking or receiving financial compensation following MVC leads to poorer recovery and worse pain. We evaluated the evidence for the relationship between compensation and chronic pain following MVC within a biopsychosocial framework.
Method: A comprehensive search of 5 computerized databases was conducted. Methodological quality was evaluated independently by 2 researchers according to formal criteria, and discrepancies were resolved with a third reviewer.
Results: We identified 5619 studies, from which 230 full-text articles were retrieved and 27 studies were retained for appraisal. A third of studies (37%) were of low quality, and 44% did not measure or control for factors such as injury severity or preinjury pain and disability. Most studies (70%) reported adverse outcomes, including all of the highest quality studies. Engagement with compensation systems was related to more prevalent self-reported chronic pain, mental health disorders, and reduced return to work. Recovery was poorer when fault was attributed to another, or when a lawyer was involved. Five studies compared Tort “common law” and No-Fault schemes directly and concluded that Tort claimants had poorer recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-827
Number of pages11
JournalThe Clinical Journal of Pain
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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