Injury upon injury: a prospective cohort study examining subsequent injury claims in the 24 months following a substantial injury

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Abstract

Objectives

This study examines subsequent injuries reported to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), New Zealand’s universal no-fault injury insurer, in the 24 months following an ACC entitlement claim injury event. Specific aims were to determine the: (1) 12 and 24 month cumulative incidence of at least one ACC-reported subsequent injury (ACC-SUBS-Inj), (2) characteristics of participants with and without ACC-SUBS-Inj, (3) frequency of ACC-SUBS-Inj, (4) time periods in which people are at higher risk of ACC-SUBS-Inj and (5) types of ACC-SUBS-Inj.

Methods

Interview data collected directly from participants in the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study (POIS) were combined with ACC-SUBS-Inj data from ACC and hospital discharge datasets. A subsequent injury was defined as any injury event resulting in an ACC claim within 24 months following the injury event for which participants were recruited to POIS (the sentinel injury). All ACC-SUBS-Inj were included irrespective of whether they were the same as the sentinel injury or not.

Results

Of 2856 participants, 58% (n=1653) experienced at least one ACC-SUBS-Inj in 24 months; 31% (n=888) had more than one ACC-SUBS-Inj. The time period of lowest risk of ACC-SUBS-Inj was the first 3 months following the sentinel injury event. Spine sprain/strain was the type of injury with the greatest number of ACC-SUBS-Inj claims per person.

Conclusions

More than half of those with an ACC entitlement claim injury incurred further injury events that resulted in a claim in the following 24 months. Greater understanding of these subsequent injury events provides an avenue for injury prevention.

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