The physical damage of a car accident is plain to see.

In an instant, a car accident can leave you or passenger with a broken bone or a severe head injury. The car could be totaled and require repairs that are by no means inexpensive.

However, a car accident can cause much more than physical injury or damage. The trauma of a crash can also leave injured individuals facing complex emotional and mental distress.

It is essential to be aware of the emotional effects a car crash can have on individuals and families. And since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, here is a look at how a car accident can jeopardize someone emotionally and mentally.

Shock is common after a car accident

Many people experience shock immediately after a traumatic event. Penn Medicine states that this type of shock usually has physical symptoms, such as:

  • Clammy and pale skin
  • Fatigue or shaking
  • Fainting or feeling dizzy

However, shock can also manifest as agitation, restlessness and confusion after the accident.

Some psychological distress can last longer

The feelings of shock and confusion fade away as time passes after the accident. However, many people still face a long road to recovery. The impact on someone’s mental health might not appear until long after the accident.

After a crash, many injured individuals develop:

  • Anxiety: It is normal to feel a little nervous after an accident. However, feeling extremely fearful about driving or riding in a car again may be a sign of anxiety.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Individuals who experience PTSD after a car crash might feel an uncontrollable anxious reaction inside a car or near the location of the accident. They may also avoid anything to do with driving after the crash.
  • Depression: Even if they were not at fault for the accident, many people might feel guilty about the crash. If this guilt worsens, it often leads people to feel disconnected from reality. And they might develop symptoms of depression.

Is it possible to recover compensation for the psychological impact?

The short answer is yes. In Pennsylvania, individuals who are injured in a car accident as a result of negligence can obtain compensation primarily for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income

And the category of pain and suffering includes any emotional distress that results from the accident.

It is crucial that individuals understand the effects a crash could have on their mental health. After all, emotional and mental distress is just as serious as any physical injury.