According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, about 160,000 motor vehicle accidents occur nationwide each year. The agency says a significant number of crash victims are left with non-physical injuries that are not immediately evident. Reportedly, one-third of those injured in car accidents suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mental health issues. Like some physical injuries, mental injuries need time and treatment to recover.
Potential mental trauma following car accidents
Stress and strong emotions could cause crash victims to have vivid flashbacks that form part of the shock that could last for days or weeks after the crash. Feeling shaky after an accident is not unusual, but the severity might be overlooked.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD develops when an accident victim cannot get over the emotional effects and experiences recurring thoughts, anxiety and nightmares. In some cases, a person with PTSD may have suffered no physical injuries but witnessed severe trauma or the death of a loved one during a crash.
Depression, or MDD – major depressive disorder – is another mental consequence that can follow a car accident. This condition takes over a victim’s life progressively over time, and they may need to address symptoms such as phobias, anxiety, fatigue, headaches and sleep disorders before they become overwhelming. If the victim is also struggling to get over physical injuries, the depression could deepen.
Dissociative disorders develop when the victim’s self-defence response puts him or her elsewhere, creating a false belief that there was never an accident in the first place. The victim disengages from the trauma and avoids processing the trauma as a means of struggling to recover.
Like those with physical injuries, car accident victims who have to deal with mental health problems could seek damage recovery for past and future financial, medical and emotional damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help.