Invisible Injuries: How To Handle The Psychological Damage Of An Automobile Accident

Posted on: 30 July 2015

Accidents change people's lives, sometimes forever. Even so, it can be difficult to make the decision to move forward with a legal case if you haven't sustained any physical injuries. What many don't realize at the time, however, is that psychological trauma can be as life changing as any physical injury. Here is useful information to facilitate the decision process in your case.

How To Know If You're Suffering Is Serious

Most everyone feels at least a little shaken following any kind of accident, but how do you distinguish "normal" processing of your emotions from those that are more serious? How can you figure out if your upheaval is going to have a lasting impact on your life? Although the average person isn't qualified to make such determinations, nor can they accurately predict their own emotional future, it's important to watch for certain red flags that may indicate your mental state has been adversely affected to a serious degree:

  • Are you constantly anxious, particularly when revisiting an element of the accident, such as driving in a car?
  • Do you frequently feel depressed?
  • Are you plagued by guilt?
  • Is it difficult to accomplish things without being overwhelmed by frustration?
  • Have you been struggling with insomnia since the accident?
  • Are you straying from friends and family a lot?
  • Do you often experience inexplicable emotions that overwhelm you?

If your life simply hasn't been the same since the accident, and you feel like everything is falling apart, you're likely dealing with some type of psychological consequence of the event. At this point, it's crucial for your well being that you seek professional help.

How To Document Your Suffering For A Law Suit

After you've reached the conclusion you need help following an accident, documentation of your condition and its impact on your life are necessary to fortify a legal case of pain and suffering. Just knowing how you feel and realizing the toll taken on your quality of life are not enough to substantiate claims in a court of law. Since pain and suffering aren't symptoms you can actually see, it's very important that you (or the person suffering) document the experience in detail and in a presentable manner. This documentation will be the evidence you need to demonstrate the level of suffering you're coping with:

  • Logged conversations with a therapist or other mental health professional.
  • A journal you keep to record the difficulties you face in daily life as a direct result of the accident.
  • Personal letters from your boss, family members or others, testifying to the challenges you're going through.
  • A list of medications which have been prescribed to you since the accident occurred.

What Your Suffering May Ultimately Cost You

If you take the attitude that you'll simply get over what the traumatic experience without seeking the help of a lawyer, you could end up in serious financial trouble, eventually. Emotional trauma can linger for years or never leave you; you're not weak if you can't cope with what you've been through, you're only human. Left unacknowledged, and therefore, untreated, your invisible injuries might ruin your financial health in more than one way:

  • You'll likely lose time at work dealing with the emotions.
  • You may lose interest in work completely, and consequently, all sources of income and insurance.
  • Bills for therapy and possible medical treatment go unpaid.
  • Needed prescriptions bought out-of-pocket (without insurance) are often astronomical.

Other Good Reasons To Seek Legal Recourse After An Accident

If you're still hesitant to contact a personal injury lawyer about an accident in which you sustained only psychological injury, consider these additional benefits:

  • Going through the legal process and attaining justice can be a healthy part of your recovery.
  • Legal action can (and should) result in improvements to safety of vehicles, roads or other factors that influenced your particular accident.
  • Your decision to move forward with a case may motivate others to do the right thing themselves.

The decisions you make now can haunt you forever if they're ultimately not in your best interest. Because these choices are so important, you should make them with the compassionate guidance of a legal professional.


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During a long road trip, we made an emergency stop at a motel that I wasn't completely comfortable with. Unfortunately, that was the only motel in the area, and we couldn't drive any further safely. While leaving the motel in the morning, the handrail on the steps broke, and my son and husband tumbled down the stairs and got hurt. They were taken by ambulance to a hospital where we spent the next four days. While there, I contacted a few personal injury lawyers to find out what I should do. Find out what you should do in a situation such as this.

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