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Can Post-Accident Trauma Affect Your Mental Health?

Car accidents are traumatic events that can cause as much emotional distress as physical distress.

If you’re one of the two million Americans who are injured in a car accident each year, then you know that the mental trauma is significant. Whether you suffer major or minor injuries, the event itself can completely dismantle your sense of well-being, sometimes for long periods.

Many people who suffer PTSD from a car accident never fully get back to being themselves. In today’s post, we’re going to examine the ways that post-accident trauma can affect your mental health, what you can do about it, and how a successful injury claim can help.

There’s no denying that car accidents can be life-changing. Keep reading and you’ll see that you’re not alone in this trauma and there are ways to navigate through it.

Car Accident Injuries Aren’t Just Physical

Car accident injuries can be physically devastating, but for many, that’s just the beginning of the suffering. Long after your body has recovered, there’s still the emotional toll that you have to deal with. There aren’t any safety measures in your vehicle to protect your mind.

According to Veterans Affairs, nine percent of people who are in car accidents develop post-accident trauma like PTSD. When you’re talking about two million injuries per year, that’s 200,000 people suffering from this type of emotional distress.

Examining PTSD From a Car Accident

It should be noted that PTSD affects everyone differently. For many, it means a complete disruption of your life, making it difficult to go to work, relate to friends and family, or get out of bed. The trauma may be short-lived, but it can also last years, and even crop up later in life.

Some of the symptoms of car accident PTSD include having involuntary memories about the accident itself. These memories might be triggered when you’re on the road or they can come on without explanation.

Occasionally, these “flashbacks” can result in blackouts. As a result, PTSD victims often avoid doing anything that reminds them of the accident.

That means no driving, no riding as a passenger, and sometimes not even being around a car. In a world where most people need to drive every day to get to work, drop the kids off, and get groceries, it’s easy to see how untenable these symptoms can be.

PTSD sufferers often have debilitating nightmares that can lead to a lack of sleep, which can spur more psychological distress. The result is that the person will start to withdraw from their life, develop anxiety and depression, have mood swings, and consider self-harming.

Coping With and Treating Post-Accident PTSD

The symptoms mentioned above won’t necessarily come on strong or all at once. As we said, symptoms can show up months down the road, long after you’ve recovered physically.

It’s important to make note of when you start feeling any symptoms and seek help if you can’t cope with them. When you allow your mental health to deteriorate, it’ll start to affect your relationships, employment, and daily life.

A mental health counselor is the best person to talk to if you think you might be suffering from PTSD. They’ll be able to get to the root of your mental trauma and help you come up with ways to handle it.

You may end up with a prescription for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications if your condition is severe. They may also recommend different types of therapy, such as prolonged exposure, cognitive procession, or EMDR.

For more manageable cases, your counselor may recommend activities like meditation, yoga, and controlled breathing. These all work to foster calmer mental states that allow you to better compartmentalize your symptoms.

The Role of PTSD in Your Injury Claim

What makes car accidents so difficult is that you have to start dealing with the aftermath right away. The first step is to ensure your physical health isn’t compromised. Once you’ve seen a doctor, you move on to dealing with insurance companies and starting your injury claim.

Every car accident case is different. If you were the victim of someone else’s negligence, seeking compensation for your injuries is a must. You shouldn’t have to cover your medical bills, lost wages, or damaged property when it wasn’t your fault.

Most car accident cases are fairly cut and dry. You can prove medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Because the emotional distress of the accident isn’t always obvious, it’s harder to quantify.

That’s not to say that you can’t put in a claim for your non-economic damages, however. Your injury claim can include things like pain and suffering, mental trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Claiming these things and proving them are two different matters. You’ll need a good lawyer to help you maximize your claim so you can pay for things like therapy and medication, which aren’t cheap.

How Your Lawyer Can Help

If you’re going to receive appropriate compensation for all of your suffering – physical and mental – you’ll need to prove the impact the accident has had on your psychological health. This might include simple things, like therapy and medication bills.

It might include more complicated things, like eyewitness accounts of your behavior and expert witnesses. Working with an insurance company to receive a settlement can be triggering in itself, which is why hiring a lawyer is so important.

Your lawyer will be able to collect evidence on your behalf. Should your case go to trial, they’ll be able to present the evidence in a clear manner that clearly shows what you’ve been going through mentally.

Don’t Deal With Post-Accident Trauma On Your Own

When you have post-accident trauma from a car accident in Tampa, it’s not something that goes away with the snap of your fingers. It’s an issue you’ll be dealing with for months if not years. Dealing with PTSD may require consistent therapy and medication, which will cost money.

If you’re going to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, you need a lawyer who can bolster your claim. Contact us today to book a consultation and start to put your case behind you so you can start to improve your mental health.


In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.

Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.