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October 27, 2015

Emotional Injuries Following a Motor Vehicle Accident

PA Car Accident Lawyer

Following a motor vehicle accident, attention should be immediately paid to a victim’s physical injuries. Emergency treatment and stabilization are key in improving a victim’s chance of survival and preventing complications. Treatment for physical injuries may be ongoing for a significant period of time, especially if a victim requires surgical procedures or rehabilitative therapy. While physical injuries can be serious, focus should also be turned to a victim’s psychological well-being and to any emotional injuries they may have suffered as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

Psychological effects of injuries

Many emotional and psychological effects may result from physical injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Some factors that can cause emotional injuries include:

  • Pain – Some serious injuries cause chronic and long-lasting pain that even painkillers cannot completely relieve. Experiencing such ongoing pain can significantly wear on a victim and can have psychological effects, including depression.
  • Disabilities and impairments – Many injuries cause victims to experience a range of disabilities or impairments that can limit their activities and abilities to work or care for themselves. Even if disabilities or impairments are temporary, having to rely on others or not being able to earn a living for a period of time can cause emotional distress. Victims of permanent disabilities or impairments may experience even more severe emotional issues as they must accept their “new” life and learn both physical and emotional coping skills.
  • Disfigurement and scarring – Even after extensive medical treatment, victims of car accidents can be left with permanent scars or disfigurements as a result of their injuries. Such disfigurements can not only cause depression and anxiety due to a changed physical appearance but may also cause social anxieties and related fears about reactions to their scars and disfigurement.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1] is most often associated with veterans who were in active combat zones. However, this mental condition can develop following any kind of traumatic event during which you sustained serious physical injury or felt the threat of serious physical injury. Motor vehicle collisions are sudden and often violent events that can result in a car rolling over, chain reaction collisions, being trapped in a vehicle, and other circumstances that can be extremely traumatic. Studies demonstrate [2] that an estimated 9 percent of motor vehicle victims suffer from PTSD as a result of the accident and the percentage is much higher among accident victims who seek treatment for mental conditions.

PTSD can be a debilitating condition that can have the following symptoms and more:

  • Violent nightmares that disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Involuntary wakeful flashbacks that can cause “blackouts” in the victim’s consciousness.
  • Intrusive and recurring memories of the collision.
  • Intense and prolonged periods of distress following a memory, flashback, nightmare, or any other reminder of the collision.
  • Determined avoidance of anything that may remind the victim of the collision, especially riding in a motor vehicle, being around motor vehicles, or even leaving the house.
  • Loss of memory regarding the events of the collision.
  • Alienation from friends and family.
  • Severe lack of interest in usual activities and challenges succeeding in work or school.
  • Patterns of self-blame that may even manifest in self-harm.

In addition to the above symptoms, a significant percentage of motor vehicle accident victims with PTSD also suffer from severe phobias, major depression, anxiety, and/or other mood disorders.

The symptoms and effects of PTSD can have a substantially adverse effect on a sufferer’s life as they may withdraw from jobs, social situations, school, or other previously enjoyed activities. This condition requires a significant amount of psychological therapy and often requires medication during an extensive recovery time. Treatment can be costly and victims may also lose income during recovery.

Call a Philadelphia auto accident attorney for a free consultation

The costs of treatment for emotional and psychological injuries after a motor vehicle accident can be substantial. In addition, if an emotional injury is debilitating, a victim may lose income from missing work or may be temporarily disabled until they receive proper psychological treatments. Just as victims deserve to recover for all medical expenses related to physical injuries, they also deserve to obtain compensation for all losses related to emotional injuries and distress. At The Levin Firm, we understand how substantially an accident can affect your emotional well-being and we will always strive for full compensation for all of your losses. Please call a Philadelphia car accident lawyer today at 215-825-5183 for help.

[1] http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

[2] http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/trauma/other/traumatic-stress-vehicle-accidents.asp


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