Emotional Trauma After a Car Accident

Some car accidents are truly horrifying. You may experience physical injuries that are so severe along with suffering immense emotional trauma, especially if there are fatalities. The images of the accident may stay forever in your memory. Those memories are a gruesome reminder of what happened on that day. Survivors’ guilt is common.

Some emotional trauma may show up as a delayed reaction in the form of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD may arise with a physical brain injury, such as a concussion.

Accident victims who have PTSD may find it difficult to concentrate, experience mood disorders, and have nightmares. They may become anti-social, have an avoidance tendency, and be reluctant to accept what happened or talk about it.

Other signs of PTSD are responding to triggers, such as lights, sounds, or circumstances that remind you of the accident. When reacting to a stimulus as a trigger, you suddenly become immersed in a mental replaying of the accident scene.

If emotional trauma from having a car accident starts to interfere with your life in ways that make you dysfunctional, you will need to seek additional help.

Here are the steps to take:

1. Seek Mental Health Therapy

Emotional trauma, which causes a mental health problem, is not different from having a broken bone. Both physical and mental traumas need the appropriate treatment from a health care professional. Talk with your health care provider and ask for a referral to a specialist dealing with emotional trauma experienced by car accident victims.

2. Inform your Personal Injury Attorney

Tell your attorney what you are experiencing and give your attorney copies of any mental health records regarding the accident injury. Your attorney must know the details of what you are experiencing and get copies of the medical bills to submit a proper claim. Your claim will include lost wages, medical bills, plus an amount for “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering is the category used for problems caused by mental trauma.

3. Document Your Case

Record your symptoms by keeping a daily journal about what you are experiencing. Be sure to get a copy of all your medical and mental health records that show the treatments you receive.

Treatment for Emotional Trauma

The treatment you will receive depends on how severe your symptoms are and what you are experiencing. Survivors’ guilt can be very challenging for patients and their therapists when a person feels that they should have died in an accident instead of another person.

Chronic pain from a severe physical injury may lead to depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can strengthen coping skills and help reinterpret dysfunction that may continue after a serious accident.

Exposure therapy is an option. In this therapy, the therapist guides the patient to recount the accident details. This therapy may lessen the anxiety levels by enough repetition.

This brief summary is not medical advice. These are just a few examples of the many treatment approaches to emotional trauma. Seek a mental health care professional for your treatment needs.

If you or a family member experiences a car accident that causes emotional trauma, contact a personal injury attorney by calling (281) 475-4535 or by filling out the web form to schedule a free consultation.