As you’re driving home from work, a drunk driver runs a stop sign and violently t-bones your car. Your neck is a little sore, but the pain fades quickly. You’re thankful to be alive and ready to get back to your normal routine.
However, in the weeks and months after your car accident, you find yourself avoiding car rides and the intersection where the crash occurred. Simple activities, like running to the store, can trigger crying spells and panic. You keep reliving the collision and struggle with feelings of hopelessness. Getting out of bed takes all your effort, and your family complains about your dramatic mood swings.
While you weren’t physically hurt in the accident, your mental health is suffering. In this blog, the Andy Citrin Injury Team outlines why you should never ignore the psychological aspects of your recovery.
Car Accidents Have a Huge Impact on Mental Health
When people think of car accident injuries, it’s easy to leave mental health out of the equation. However, studies suggest that one-third of people involved in non-fatal car crashes suffer from emotional issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or develop a fear of riding in or driving a car. These conditions can reduce your quality of life and can be just as disabling as physical injuries.
When to Get Mental Health Care After a Crash
Car accidents are traumatic events that cause stress hormones in your brain to spike. When you can’t adequately process and get closure on those traumatic events, your hormone levels stay elevated, which can cause long-term problems at work, with your family, and as you carry out daily activities. They can also worsen pre-existing mental health conditions.
If you’re still experiencing the following symptoms after a car accident, you should consider seeking treatment from a mental health professional:
- Increased anxiety or nervousness
- Feelings of anger and irritability
- Problems focusing
- Frequent flashbacks to the crash
- Feeling emotionally numb or that nothing excites you anymore
- Dreams or nightmares about the accident
- Difficulty eating, sleeping, or engaging with your loved ones
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or despair
However, if you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, don’t wait for a doctor’s appointment. Instead, go to the closest ER for treatment—or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Mental health issues after a wreck are common, and getting treatment is never a sign of weakness. Trained psychologists and counselors can help you process the trauma and learn healthy ways to manage your feelings. Your doctor may also prescribe medication for your symptoms.
Consistent Mental Health Care May Strengthen Your Injury Claim
First, ongoing mental health treatment is important to your recovery. When you see a therapist or doctor regularly, you’re more likely to get the care you need and avoid a mental health crisis.
Second, while you can identify broken bones and herniated discs on an x-ray or MRI, it’s not so easy to document mental health issues and other invisible injuries. Unfortunately, unless you convince the insurance adjuster that the car accident caused your depression and anxiety (or made it worse), they will deny your claim.
That’s why medical records, including those from mental health providers, are essential to your injury claim. When you see a counselor or psychologist, their notes will describe your symptoms, recommend a treatment plan, and track their progression. When this information is consistent with your self-reported symptoms, you’re more likely to get the compensation you deserve.
Suffering After a Crash? A Lawyer May Be Able to Help
Psychological injuries from a car accident can deeply change your life. You may need to take time off work and see psychologists or specialists to help cope with the aftermath. A personal injury claim can help you rebuild, pay your medical bills, and ensure your financial security.
When you’re suffering because of someone else’s mistake, consider talking to an experienced car crash lawyer who understands the complexity and importance of mental health. They can help you fight for the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track, including reimbursement for medical bills, damaged property, and pain and suffering.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Your Mental Health After a Car Crash
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand that not every wound is visible. When a car crash harms your mental health, you deserve empathetic, tenacious representation by experienced lawyers who can answer your questions and fight for you. If you need help putting the pieces back together after a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We’ll meet with you individually to get to know you and your case. These consultations are free, and you won’t owe us a dime unless we win for you! Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at 251-888-8888 or filling out our brief online contact form.
(2001, August 20). Impact of Car Accidents Can Be Long-Lasting. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20010820/impact-of-car-accidents-can-be-long-lasting#1
Babbel, S. (2010, April 8). The connections between emotional stress, trauma, and physical pain. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.