What Are the Psychological Effects of Being in An Accident?

Accidents can cause many life-changing injuries. Broken bones and other physical wounds are not the only injuries victims may have after accidents such as car crashes. Emotional and psychological injuries are prevalent in accident cases. In Massachusetts and all other states, victims can file civil claims pursuing compensation for the psychological effects of being in an accident.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 Many accident survivors experience immense trauma that impacts their mental health. A common condition diagnosed after accidents is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is something a person can develop after witnessing or experiencing something traumatic, such as a serious auto accident, dog attack or violent crime. It is also common among soldiers in active war zones. Statistics show that at least 9% of car accident survivors develop significant symptoms of PTSD.

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Helplessness
  • Depression
  • Detachment
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

 PTSD can last days, weeks or months depending on the person and the situation. Studies have shown PTSD to last even longer – sometimes over a year – in children involved in accidents. The treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder often includes psychological therapy to address the underlying issue. Discussing the accident and offering reassurance is often enough to treat the condition. Accident survivors may also need prescription medications in some cases.

Depression and Anxiety

 Depression and/or anxiety are also common in accident survivors, either related or unrelated to PTSD. The emotional impact of the accident itself as well as related injuries can lead to depression, withdrawal, isolation, feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Anxiety is also a common condition diagnosed after accidents. Many survivors experience the effects of shock immediately after a collision. Shock can turn into anxiety in the days following the accident, leading to symptoms such as trouble concentrating and lethargy. Anxiety can be debilitating and require professional treatments and medications. 

Lost Quality of Life Due to a Disability

 If an accident causes a long-term physical injury, the survivor could suffer from lost quality and/or enjoyment of life. Common permanent injuries include traumatic brain damage, paralysis, amputation, scarring and disfigurement. Lost quality or enjoyment of life is something a victim may deal with indefinitely. It can refer to many things, including the victim’s inability to play with his or her child, go to work, participate in favorite activities or hobbies, take care of one’s self, or be independent.

Accidents and Young Children

 Child accident survivors are especially susceptible to psychological injuries. Young impressionable minds can experience lasting damages that interfere with the child’s current life as well as his or her future. From PTSD to phobias, a child victim could experience many types of long-term emotional trauma and related symptoms after a serious accident.

  • Outbursts
  • Tantrums
  • Aggression 
  • Frustration or irritation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor performance in school
  • Mood swings
  • Behavioral or personality changes

 Regression is also common in child victims. For example, a child with PTSD from a car accident may wet the bed or start sucking his or her thumb after previously outgrowing these behaviors. Phobias and emotional trauma connected to the accident could interfere with a child’s ability to fully enjoy and participate in life. It may take psychological therapy to help a child overcome emotional injuries connected to a traumatic accident.

Seeking Compensation for the Psychological Effects of an Accident

 If you or your child was injured in a recent accident in Massachusetts, you may have the right to seek financial compensation for your physical as well as emotional or psychological injuries. The person who negligently or recklessly caused your accident may owe you money for damages such as medical bills, therapy costs, travel expenses, physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Speak to a Boston car accident lawyer near you for more information about how to seek justice and restitution for accident-related psychological harm.

 

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