The Psychological Impact of a Car Accident

The Psychological Impact of a Car Accident

Car accidents could likely result in severe injuries that cause great pain, suffering, and economic hardship. However, the psychological effects could be just as serious and taxing. Due to the shocking and traumatic nature of the experience, a survivor could suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions immediately following the crash and potentially long term. Fortunately, a car accident survivor could file a claim for both physical and emotional damages for what they endured. 

Common Mental Health Conditions Due to Car Accidents

There are a few mental health conditions following a car accident that may warrant psychological or psychiatric help. These include:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Car accidents are the leading cause of civilian post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, cases in the U.S. Generally, post-traumatic stress disorder may arise in sufferers after a traumatic event such as a car accident, assault, or a combat zone. Witnessing a traumatic event is enough to trigger PTSD in some patients, so if you’re experiencing it firsthand, there is a likely chance it could develop. Symptoms of PTSD following an auto accident may include:

  • Car accident flashbacks
  • Nightmares about the crash
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Emotional distress reactions to reminders
  • Detachment from loved ones
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Startling easily
  • Intrusive memories
  • Avoidance
  • Changes in reactions
  • Aggressive outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Severe anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms could especially be apparent in survivors of violent, deadly crashes potentially involving loved ones, and may worsen over time if untreated. This emotional damage could be lasting, so prompt evaluation and treatment by a mental health professional is usually necessary. 

Intense Driving Anxiety or Fear. Emotional and fearful reactions to a car accident often lead to hesitation and intense fear when returning behind the wheel. This could last anywhere from weeks to years, depending on the victim. To some, the mere thought of getting back behind the wheel to drive could trigger severe anxiety, blackouts, flashbacks, and nightmares. This may even manifest in physical reactions such as racing heartbeat, lightheadedness, and nausea.

Since fear of driving could result in a victim’s inability to drive, go to work, and maintain social relationships, it could be devastating to all parties involved. Children who survive a car crash, though too young to drive, may experience nightmares, bedwetting, regression, poor performance in school, and intense mood changes or outbursts. Oftentimes, this warrants psychological care. For all car accident victims, the cost of psychological and psychiatric care could significantly outweigh the cost of any other type of medical care. This is why compensation is available for such psychological pain and suffering following a crash, and hiring an experienced car accident attorney will help you and your family attain the help you need.

Car Accident Attorneys Who Care

At The Goss Law Firm, we understand how a car accident could be devastating in many ways. If you or a loved one was injured or is grappling with the emotional or psychological effects of a recent car accident, you are not alone. 

Bills from psychological or psychiatric care are still medical bills that could cause quickly mount and cause tremendous financial strain, and you deserve the best possible compensation for a full and stress-free recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by submitting a contact form online or calling our office at 816-888-5000 for a free consultation of your case today.