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Emotional Trauma After an Auto Accident in Tennessee

Addressing invisible injuries—PTSD, anxiety, depression and other emotional trauma—after a crash

After a serious car crash, you’re likely focused on healing from your physical injuries—and rightfully so. Car accidents often cause serious bodily injuries to a person's head, neck or back. These injuries should be treated immediately and must be taken seriously.

But as devastating as it is to experience a physical injury, it’s important not to overlook the mental trauma you may have experienced as well as a result of the collision.

Mental trauma after a car accident can be unpredictable. The way that a person emotionally processes a traumatic event is unique. It’s not unusual for 2 people who have experienced the same wreck (such as a driver and passenger in the same vehicle) to have vastly different emotional reactions to the event.

Several factors can influence a person's chances of developing mental trauma after a car accident. Many people find that they experience significant mental trauma if they feel a collision could have been prevented. Another factor is how much a person can remember about the crash, and what they witnessed before and after it occurred.

Not everyone who survives a car accident will go on to develop symptoms of an emotional or mental disorder, but some will find that their emotional symptoms bother them even more than any physical injuries. Seeking treatment for any accident-related emotional injuries is important for managing them and ensuring that they are taken into account when calculating the value of your car crash claim.

Car accident trauma and PTSD

Sometimes, those who experience a car accident will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a disorder that may cause a person to experience panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks of the incident. A person with PTSD may also find that they are more easily startled than they were before. Delayed shock symptoms after an accident can take a person by surprise and harm their quality of life.

For example, a person with PTSD may consciously or unconsciously avoid the place or situation that led to the development of the disorder. For some, this can impact their ability to drive a car and enjoy the same activities as they did prior to the accident. Other people may find that even being a passenger in a car is unbearable. This fear, combined with other symptoms such as anxiety and depression, can cause a person to isolate themselves socially.

Depression, anxiety and insomnia

Some crash survivors may not develop symptoms of PTSD but find that they experience life differently than they did before an accident. Some victims will experience depression, anxiety or insomnia that can be directly linked to car accident trauma.

A person who is experiencing depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have trouble eating or sleeping. Anxiety is often experienced as excessive worrying and may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as shaking, dizziness or excessive sweating.

Mental trauma and catastrophic injuries

If you’ve experienced serious physical injuries, you may find that you’ll experience emotional trauma associated with your injuries. This is especially true if the injuries are life-changing and you’re no longer able to do things you did before the accident, such as maintain stable employment or care for your own daily needs.

Some physical injuries may cause changes in your mood or personality. For example, head injuries can cause permanent personality changes such as irritability and aggression. Some traumatic brain injury (TBI) sufferers find that they react with strong emotions to events that would not have bothered them prior to the injury.

Seeking treatment for emotional trauma after your car accident

Emotional pain from a serious accident can linger long after the physical injuries have healed. It’s easy to see someone is hurting when they are suffering from physical injuries, but emotional wounds can be harder for friends and family members to recognize. You may have to be your own advocate when it comes to recognizing signs of mental trauma and emotional distress.

One of the most important things you should do if you have experienced emotional trauma is to seek help right away. Schedule an appointment with a qualified therapist or mental health counselor and be honest about what you are experiencing. This can be essential for your recovery and to obtain a fair evaluation of your case.

Mental trauma and personal injury compensation

Because mental trauma after a car accident is so common, insurance adjusters and jury members must take it into account when evaluating the overall damages in a car crash injury claim. Some damages such as medical bills and lost wages are easy to calculate, while "pain and suffering" may be more subjective.

Emotional injuries after an auto wreck should be accounted for when calculating compensation just like physical injuries. A car wreck doesn’t have to be serious to experience emotional trauma, but the chances that a person will experience PTSD or other symptoms increase in the event that the accident was serious and life-altering.

Some cases may be entirely based on emotional trauma. For example, a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident is based on the losses experienced by surviving relatives, including emotional pain and economic damages.

If you have experienced emotional injuries as a result of a car accident, speak to one of our attorneys at Gilreath & Associates about your case right away. Your first consultation is free.

 

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