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The psychological trauma of motor vehicle accidents

One concern that often first comes to mind when witnessing or hearing about motor vehicle accidents in the New York area involves injuries. Not all accident victims are able to walk away from vehicle collisions with minimal injury. The signs of trauma are not always physical or obvious. It is not uncommon for people who end up in car accidents to suffer psychologically from the experience and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Car accidents are traumatic events that can cause short- and long-term damage to the psyche. Individuals who sustain injuries often experience mental challenges that make their recoveries more challenging. Victims not physically injured often experience mental changes that interfere with their daily lives and overall well-being.

All car accident victims at risk for PTSD

It is not easy to predict which motor vehicle accident victims will develop car accident-induced PTSD. Everyone responds differently to car accidents. Some people do not experience much mental distress after a serious collision, while others encounter difficulty with their emotional response to minor accident situations. High levels of stress, previous history of trauma, coping mechanisms, threat perception and injury or death of other accident victims are several indicators that increase the likelihood of accident victims developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD after motor vehicle collisions range in severity

People who experience severe emotional distress after motor vehicle crashes experience medical complications with their physical injuries. Signs of PTSD that accident victims commonly experience include sleep disturbances, severe mood imbalances, impulsive behaviors, social anxiety and isolation, nightmares about the ordeal and poor cognitive function that persist longer than a few weeks. These symptoms can also increase in intensity.

Motor vehicle collision victims may seek personal injury damages for emotional distress in addition to compensation for their physical injuries to cover the cost of any medical and mental health treatments necessary to aid in their recovery.

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