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The Effects of Car Accidents on Mental Health

Traumatic events have a way of sticking with a person. While we might traditionally associate the word trauma with tragic events like school shootings, combat or assault, the reality is that even the smallest of incidents can impact a person’s mental health. Car accidents are incredibly common, and so we often expect ourselves to simply shake off the psychological impact of being involved in one. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or a serious, chain-reaction crash involving numerous vehicles, the impact can be significant. The effects of such an accident can stick with a person long after bruises have faded and repairs have been made, and often the mental aspects of the car accident injuries are much longer lasting than the physical.

PTSD and Car Accident Victims

Post-traumatic stress disorder is frequently associated with soldiers who witness atrocities while fighting overseas. Sadly, they are far from the only victims of PTSD. Even those involved in the most minor of car crashes can find themselves struggling with PTSD after a car accident. After a wreck, a victim may find themselves battling anxious thoughts about driving again. The sounds of tires screeching or horns blaring is enough to trigger an accident victim’s anxiety.

In some more severe cases, motorists involved in a wreck may avoid driving altogether. The simple act of getting behind the wheel and driving alongside other vehicles can be overwhelming for those who have vivid memories of their own collision. Even those drivers who do brave the roads again are often on edge when they take to the street, startling easily at potential causes of crashes.

Physical Brain Damage

PTSD is indeed a psychological challenge for car accident victims, but the physical trauma associated with a wreck can also present problems. Whiplash, for example, is an incredibly common injury sustained by many accident victims. It occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward or backward, sending the brain crashing into the skull without warning. The pain and symptoms related to whiplash can take weeks to show up. Tragically, the impact of whiplash can be felt long after the wreck. Chronic whiplash symptoms can last up to six months after the collision.

Brain and skull injuries are also a risk for car accident victims. In addition to the dangers of whiplash, accident victims may suffer injuries after hitting their head against windows, panels and even the steering wheel. Too often, these injuries slip away unnoticed. It’s important to always get examined after being involved in a wreck, even if you feel fine. The impact of a head injury can be insidious, sneaking up on even the most aware of victims.

Traumatic brain injuries are not to be taken lightly. They can significantly impact a person’s way of life. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person may experience a loss of consciousness, memory problems, mood swings, and attention deficits. In more severe cases, some accident victims are left comatose after a traumatic brain injury caused by a wreck.

Long-Term Options

With the right care in the wake of a crash, accident victims can mitigate the impact of brain injuries and PTSD. Immediate medical attention is necessary no matter how large or small the collision might have been. Still, it may take many months or even years for a victim to feel like themselves again. The mental health impact of a car accident can be incredibly far-reaching. Physical therapy, counseling, and ongoing psychological care can help keep car accident victims on the road to recovery.

For some, however, life may never be the same. PTSD can be a chronic, lifelong condition with which the accident victim must struggle. Traumatic brain injuries may also significantly impact a person’s physical and mental health. Tragically, some victims may never truly feel like themselves again.

That’s why it’s so critical to speak to an attorney after an accident, especially one involving injuries. Whether physical or psychological, the damage done in such a crash can stick with a person for decades. If a negligent driver was to blame for the wreck, they may be liable for the medical bills associated with the victim’s injuries. Compensation may be available for those burdened by expensive therapy sessions, prescription drugs or even the inability to perform their duties at work.

If you need help finding a local car accident attorney who can help you fight for the justice you deserve, Lawsuit Info Center can help. Our car accident settlement calculator is a great place to begin exploring how much your case could be worth. Of course, only an experienced lawyer can give you specific insight into your claim, which is why we work hard to connect accident victims with the perfect attorney in their area. Get started today by calling us at 877-810-4067.