Sometimes, the most devastating effects of a car accident may have nothing to do with your physical injuries. Sure, you might have some cuts, bumps, bruises, or perhaps worse. However, you may also have psychological effects from the accident that should not be ignored.
Some common psychological effects include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), adjustment disorder, anxiety, depression, or simply a general inability to emotionally and psychologically recover from an accident. I've seen it many times in my law practice.
Recently, while meeting with a client, he realized how emotionally scarred he still was from a severe car accident that happened nearly a year ago. He was involved in a head-on auto collision, and till today, he feels that someone else is going to hit him again. It's not just a general anxiety about driving (a common condition after an accident). He's especially affected while driving at night. Sometimes he finds himself swerving for no reason - avoiding "phantom vehicles." In fact, during our meeting, he started crying when we talked about the accident. He's still emotionally affected by the car accident.
Another client I had was tremendously affected by her car accident. She had never been involved in an accident before, and she had gotten violently rear ended by another vehicle. She locked herself in her room for days, crying because she was so depressed. She had to leave work early on several occasions because she couldn't cope. Her life was already chaotic, and the last thing she needed was a car accident. It was the "straw that broke the camel's back."
Another case I had involved a young teenager who was hit while crossing the street, on his way to school. The impact caused him to roll up onto the hood of the car, smash into the windshield (he broke it), and then he got thrown again to the asphalt. Essentially, he effectively got hit three times! Luckily, he had no major injuries, but he did have a great deal of pain in his knees and legs. This affected his ability to play soccer and enjoy his junior year of high school. After the accident, his parents noticed he "wasn't quite the same person." He was very sullen, no longer talking about his future, and generally withdrawn. This usually exuberant young man became quiet, sad, and depressed. He was afraid to cross the street and expressed no interest in learning how to drive. All his friends were getting their drivers licenses, and he had absolutely no interest.
Sometimes the victim of the accident may not be aware how they've been affected. In fact, oftentimes it is family and friends who notice the difference. Either way, it may be important to document these effects by getting a psychological or psychiatric evaluation. Getting a professional opinion may be helpful in presenting a clear picture of your accident case. Such an evaluation may shed light on exactly how the accident affected you (psychologically and emotionally). A professional can make specific recommendations for further care.
If you have questions about a personal injury case, please call our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can assist you. We serve Santa Clarita and its communities of Newhall, Canyon Country, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia, and beyond.
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by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.