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How Does Being Involved in an Accident
Affect Your Mental Health?

Involved in an Accident

Physical injury is one of the most serious and talked about consequences of being involved in an accident, and it’s normal to focus on it while seeking compensation. However, accidents are traumatic events whose impact can go much further than a fracture or whiplash. They also affect our mental health, and, sometimes, overcoming the stress, trauma, and anxiety that come after an accident can take longer than recovering from a fracture.

Understanding the emotional effects of a car accident is key in recovering and preventing long-term trauma.

Accidents can have deep psychological effects, even if you didn’t get hurt.

The more serious an accident is, the likelier it is to affect your mental health in the long run. But, even if you did not get hurt, trauma can still set in and increase the risk of developing long-term anxiety. Oftentimes, people who have been in an accident report feeling perfectly fine in the minutes or days following it, but, as time passes and the event “syncs in”, they may experience symptoms such as:

  • Psychological distress
  • Phobias (for example, you may be afraid to drive again or even be in a car)
  • Feeling irritable and jumpy
  • Sadness and lack of motivation
  • Trouble sleeping, especially because of nightmares
  • Feeling constantly in danger
  • Mood swings
  • Personality changes
  • Disassociation (the feeling that your body is no longer your own and that you’re looking at yourself from the outside).

In mild cases, these symptoms often go away on their own within a few weeks after the accident, but, if the accident was traumatic and involved serious injury or the death of another passenger, they can evolve into PTSD and require specialized therapy. It’s important to talk about how accidents impacted your life with your lawyer because compensation should cover not just your physical rehabilitation but also your emotional one. For example, if you look back at data from truck accident settlements, you’ll see that compensation almost always covers psychological trauma. Sometimes, it’s not the accident itself that causes you distress, but its repercussions. Let’s say a truck driver was involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence and sustained a spinal cord injury. If that injury is serious enough to cause long-term back pain, it will prevent them from driving long distances in the future. As a result, that victim will be left without their main source of income and have to find another job.

When the impact of the accident is so serious that it causes long hospitalization times and even the loss of a loved one, your life may seem like it’s spiraling out of control. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Regardless of the severity of the accident you were involved in, learn to acknowledge and express your feelings. Open up to friends and family about your experience and, when that doesn’t come easy, talk to a therapist. Even if reliving a traumatic experience can be tough, it will help you come to terms with your feelings, cope with them in a healthy way, and slowly learn to move on from the traumatic experience.

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