Mental Health Recovery After a Car Accident

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Rachael K. Jones with Tilton & Tilton LLP.

Mental Health Recovery After a Car Accident
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Car accidents can be traumatic in a myriad of ways. While the physical injuries and financial expenses are often at the forefront of an accident victim’s mind, it is important to pay attention to potential mental effects of the accident as well. Any traumatic situation has the potential to leave an imprint on a person’s psyche. Seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is a great way to make sure your mental health is on-track for recovery, both in the short and long-term. Mental injuries can be just as significant as physical injuries and are equally deserving of care. If you or a loved one have suffered physical or mental injuries as the result of an accident, reach out to a car accident attorney to discuss your options for physical, financial, and mental recovery.

If you or a loved one have experienced any of the following symptoms after an accident, your mental health may have been damaged in the trauma:

  • Recurring, involuntary, and intense memories of the accident
  • Flashbacks or mental “blackouts” in response to things that remind them of the accident
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Avoidance of things which remind them of the accident (i.e. cars, highways, a specific road, etc.)
  • Depression
  • Emotional anxiety
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety (i.e. unexplainable headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, etc.)
  • Panic attacks
  • Withdrawal from loved ones and previously enjoyed activities
  • Emotional numbness
  • Difficulty connecting with friends and loved ones like before the accident
  • Consistent fatigue and lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate

Three of the most common mental conditions which may occur as the direct result of a traumatic accident include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depressive disorders. These conditions may only affect an accident victim in the short-term, or could be lifelong. However, regardless of the condition and the severity of the condition, leaving a psychological injury untreated can cause it to worsen and persist, just as leaving a physical injury untreated would. It’s important to seek counsel from a mental health professional as soon as you begin to suspect that you or a loved one may have suffered psychologically from a traumatic situation.

Psychological injuries can be difficult to prove.

The difficulty with mental injuries is that they can be remarkably difficult to prove without the help of an attorney. Due to the invisible nature of a person’s mental state, without experienced help it can be nearly impossible to prove the severity of a person’s mental anguish. The good news is that most car accident attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency; this means that clients do not pay unless their case is won. These attorneys have access to the expert resources it takes to identify and prove a mental injury in order to seek help for recovery.

Money does not have to prevent accident victims from seeking aid for their mental health.

When an accident is caused fully or in-part by another party’s negligence, the accident victim may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. A wide assortment of damages can be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit, including mental anguish. In a successful personal injury lawsuit, the compensation awarded for mental anguish damages can help pay for continued therapeutic and counseling services to help an accident victim make a full psychological recovery.

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