New research has shown that people injured as a result of physical contact with law enforcement personnel are more likely to suffer from back and spine injuries and require longer lengths of hospitalization than those involved in general assaults.

In "Risk factors associated with legal interventions," researchers looked into 836 cases injured after contact with police officers against a comparison group. The cases were identified using ICD-9 external cause of injury codes found in the medical records of patients treated in Illinois’ trauma and hospital units between 2000 and 2009.

In addition to identifying the most frequent types of injuries for legal intervention patients — fractures (36.7 percent), open wounds (35.5 percent) and internal injuries (31.3 percent) — the study found that those injured in such circumstances were much more likely to be manhandled by law enforcement, as well as suffer from psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression and drug abuse. Furthermore, these persons saw "significantly longer lengths of hospitalization" and were also more likely to perish while in hospital.

(Kaitlyn Kelly/Injury Epidemiology/Courtesy Vocativ)

(Kaitlyn Kelly/Injury Epidemiology/Courtesy Vocativ)

In their conclusion, the researchers recommended the adoption of guidelines that detail how civilians and police officers interact with one another in the United States in order to prevent more unnecessary physical altercations between the two parties in the future.

"Although medical record data does not explain the detailed circumstances of the face-to-face encounters between law enforcement personnel and civilians, the data provide valuable information regarding who may be at risk of injury and the clinical features of injuries that are suffered following a legal intervention," the authors wrote.

This article originally appeared at If you tussle with the police, prepare for a long hospital stay