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Emotional Impact of a Serious Injuries

| Apr 18, 2014 | Catastrophic Injuries

When someone is injured in a car accident, trucking wreck, motorcycle crash, pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, or slip and fall accident, it can be devastating to say the least. Not only do these types of accidents cause serious physical injuries, but many people who are injured also suffer from emotional injuries. The fact of the matter is that physical trauma often leads to emotional distress.

Sometimes emotional trauma may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Following a traumatic event, emotional injuries may not show up for several weeks or months. In order to determine if you or a loved one is suffering from emotional trauma following an accident, we have compiled a list of common signs of emotional injuries.

Common Types of Emotional Trauma

  • Acute stress disorder (ASD). After experiencing a traumatic event, someone may be suffering from acute stress disorder if they feel detached, emotionally unresponsive, and numb. Oftentimes, people with this type of emotional trauma will feel like their thoughts and emotions aren’t real, as well as thinking their environment seems strange. People with ASD may also relive the traumatic event through flashbacks, but they may not be able to remember every detail.  
  • Anxiety. When something bad happens, many people deal with frightening memories that can cause anxiety and fear. For example, this may come out when people have strong fears about driving again after being in serious car accidents, or they can experience anxiety every time they pass the scene of the accident. They may also feel nervous when driving in similar road and traffic conditions. Other symptoms of anxiety can include dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, trembling, irritability, restlessness, and even nausea.
  • Depression. Knowing the signs of depression following an accident is extremely important. This can include a feeling of sadness and hopelessness that doesn’t seem to go away. Additionally, depression can cause headaches, fatigue, anxiety, loss of interest, and trouble making decisions and concentrating. Those suffering from severe depression may have suicidal thoughts.
  • Anger. After an accident, a noticeable change in someone’s behavior is anger. When someone who wasn’t short tempered before is suddenly angry, moody, and irritable—even over little situations—it is possible emotional distress is to blame.
  • Other behavioral concerns. People who have suffered emotional injuries due to traumatic events may also feel disconnected and want to withdraw from others. They may have trouble sleeping, eating, and staying focused.

Whether someone suffers from a generalized anxiety disorder or panic attacks following a traumatic accident, emotional issues can create other issues in one’s life. For example, emotional trauma can cause a person to have difficulties functioning normally at work. As a result, that person may get demoted or even fired. In addition, emotional issues can affect one’s personal life because someone might feel numb and disconnected and be unable to form close relationships. If someone’s professional life or personal life is negatively affected due to the emotional injuries sustained in an accident, that person needs to seek legal advice.

Recovering From Emotional Injuries

Although mild forms of emotional injuries may go away without treatment, most people who suffer emotional trauma after an accident need professional help. Because emotional trauma can cause long-term stress, it should never be ignored. Sadly, emotional issues can have lifelong implications, which is why psychological attention is necessary so that someone’s health isn’t adversely affected for the long haul.  

In addition to victims seeking professional medical attention, people who suffer from emotional issues after an accident also need to seek legal attention. Recovering from emotional injuries is twofold, requiring medical and legal attention. This way, those who are emotionally injured can recover the appropriate financial compensation in their injury cases. Any time someone suffers an emotional injury following an accident, it is generally considered pain and suffering. In order to prove a person is suffering from emotional issues, testimony from a medical professional would be necessary to recover for pain and suffering damages. 

Helping Loved Ones Deal With Emotional Trauma

If you have noticed a change in your loved one’s mood or behavior, concentration, sleeping habits, eating habits, or if he or she is misusing alcohol or drugs, it is possible that your loved one is suffering from an emotional injury. If you think your loved one is suffering from emotional distress following a personal injury situation, it is critical to his or her health and overall recovery that you know what to do, such as:

  • Talk with your loved one and offer support. Let him or her know you are there if he or she wants to talk, but don’t pressure your loved one to talk.
  • Help your loved one get the right medical attention.  Offer to go with your loved one to the doctor and ask about emotional trauma therapy treatments. Or suggest that your loved one should talk with a professional, especially if he or she finds it difficult to talk with you. By doing so, you are helping in your loved one’s emotional recovery.
  • Assist your loved one in finding the right lawyer. Everyone injured physically and emotionally in traumatic events should seek legal advice. By finding an attorney who has experience representing emotionally distressed victims, you are helping in your loved one’s financial recovery.

Because emotional distress can change a person for the worse, it is critical that your loved one recover damages for the emotional trauma that has impacted his or her life. Anxiety, fear, sleep loss, and depression are all emotional issues deserving of a financial recovery. Because victims with emotional distress need psychological treatment, it is wise to get an attorney involved so that your loved one gets the most compensation possible for such treatments.

At Shevlin Smith, our Fairfax injury lawyers are experienced in personal injury cases and have past case results to prove it. If you want to talk about your case with us, we would be pleased to extend a free consultation to you. Give us a call today at 703-721-4233 or contact us online.