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Physical & Mental Effects of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

The physical and psychological effects of car accidents often leave people with mounting medical bills, inability to work, and difficulty carrying out their daily activities. If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer at Shamieh Law can help determine who is liable and fight for compensation.

In 2021, there were over 6 million motor vehicle crashes in the United States, resulting in nearly 2.5 million injuries. Auto accidents not only cause physical injuries, but they can also result in psychological trauma. Though it is difficult to estimate the precise number of people who experience psychological trauma due to accidents, research shows that the psychological effects of car accidents can impair people’s ability to go about their day-to-day lives just as much as physical injuries.

Protecting your health after an accident is always the top priority, and understanding the full impact an accident has on your life is critical to getting the help you need and building a strong claim for compensation. Addressing all your injuries as soon as possible is also important if you wish to pursue damages after a negligent driver injures you in an accident.

If you suffered physical or emotional harm from a motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately and consult with an experienced car accident lawyer at Shamieh Law to pursue compensation. Schedule your free consultation by calling (866) 552-1801 or filling out our online contact form.

Common Physical Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

All sorts of injuries may occur in a motor vehicle accident. The type of vehicle victims are in and the force of impact are important factors when evaluating physical injuries. Some of the more common physical injuries our personal injury lawyers see in the auto accidents we handle include:

  • Whiplash – A neck injury caused by the sudden back-and-forth movement of the head, commonly experienced in rear-end collisions when the force of impact causes the head to snap forward and then backward, straining the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
  • Breaks and Fractures – Broken bones resulting from the impact of a car accident, which can vary in severity depending on the force of the collision and the location of the fracture. Common fracture sites include the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – Head injuries ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage, which occur when the head strikes an object or undergoes sudden jolt, leading to bruising, bleeding, or swelling of the brain tissue. Symptoms range from headaches and dizziness to cognitive impairment and loss of consciousness.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Damage to the spinal cord, which can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, or impaired motor function, commonly caused by the compression, stretching, or tearing of the spinal cord due to the impact of a car accident.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries – Damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing pain, inflammation, and limited mobility, which can occur as a result of sudden movements or impacts during a car accident. Common soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions.
  • Cuts and Lacerations – Skin injuries caused by broken glass, metal, or other sharp objects during a car accident, which can range from minor cuts and scrapes to deep puncture wounds and tears requiring stitches or surgery to repair.
  • Internal Organ Injuries – Damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, resulting from blunt force trauma to the abdomen or chest during a car accident. Symptoms range from abdominal pain and swelling to internal bleeding and organ failure.
  • Chest Injuries – Bruising, rib fractures, or internal injuries to the chest area, commonly seen in car accidents involving rapid deceleration or direct impact to the chest, which can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, and other complications. Seat belts and deploying airbags often cause injuries to the chest.
  • Knee and Leg Injuries – Knee and leg injuries in auto accidents range from fractures and ligament tears to dislocations. Impact with vehicle components or sudden stops can cause significant trauma, leading to pain, swelling, and impaired mobility.

High-Risk Accident Types: Trucks and Motorcycles

People in motorcycle accidents face an increased risk of injury because they don’t have the protections provided by enclosed vehicles. In 2021, motorcycles comprised only three percent of registered vehicles but accounted for 14 percent of traffic fatalities.

People are also at higher risk of sustaining a severe injury when they are in a truck accident with 18-wheelers or other commercial vehicles. This is because these vehicles are significantly larger and heavier than others on the road. In 2021, 72 percent of fatalities in large truck accidents were occupants of smaller vehicles.

Common Psychological Effects of Auto Accidents

Emotional trauma after a car accident can be profound and varied, impacting individuals differently depending on various factors, such as the severity of the accident, personal resilience, and coping mechanisms. Common psychological effects of car accidents we see in our personal injury practice include:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Individuals may experience flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts related to the accident, leading to heightened anxiety and emotional distress.
  • Anxiety and Depression – Feelings of fear, worry, or sadness may persist long after the accident, affecting daily functioning and quality of life.
  • Phobias and Avoidance Behaviors – Some individuals may develop phobias related to driving or being in a vehicle, leading to avoidance of certain activities or locations associated with the accident.
  • Survivor’s Guilt – Individuals may struggle with feelings of guilt or self-blame if others were injured or killed in the accident, even if they were not at fault.
  • Mood Swings and Irritability – Emotional volatility and irritability are common as individuals navigate the physical and emotional recovery process.
  • Difficulty Concentrating or Sleeping – Cognitive difficulties such as trouble concentrating, memory problems, or insomnia may arise due to heightened stress levels and emotional turmoil.
  • Loss of Confidence and Self-Esteem – The trauma of the accident may shake individuals’ confidence in their ability to drive safely or trust others on the road, leading to diminished self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Social Withdrawal – Some individuals may withdraw from social activities or relationships, feeling disconnected or isolated from others who may not fully understand their experience.
  • Physical Symptoms – Psychological distress may manifest as physical symptoms like headaches, gastrointestinal issues, or muscle tension, further complicating the recovery process.
  • Hypervigilance and Startle Responses – Individuals may become hypervigilant or easily startled, constantly scanning their surroundings for potential threats and feeling on edge in everyday situations.

Seeking support from mental health professionals, engaging in self-care practices, and connecting with support groups or loved ones can help individuals cope with the psychological effects of a car accident and work towards healing and recovery.

Symptoms of Physical Injury and Mental Trauma After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Symptoms of physical injuries from motor vehicle accidents depend on the type of injuries drivers experience. It is not unusual for people in motor vehicle accidents to have multiple injuries and a combination of symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Headaches
  • External and internal bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Stiffness in joints and muscles
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty sleeping

Symptoms of emotional trauma after a motor vehicle accident include poor sleep and recurring nightmares. When people become overwhelmed by the aftermath of an accident, their injuries, and the impact on their lives, they may engage in avoidance. Signs of avoidance include:

  • Missing work
  • Skipping social events
  • Avoiding driving
  • Withdrawing from family members and friends
  • Neglecting basic needs such as food and exercise

After a motor vehicle accident, you may experience many symptoms of physical and psychological trauma. Do not ignore them, even if they seem minimal or manifest weeks after the crash.

Why Are Symptoms Sometimes Delayed After a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Physical symptoms are sometimes not apparent immediately after an accident. They may be delayed by the shock of the incident and the ensuing flow of adrenaline, which reduces the body’s ability to feel pain. The “adrenaline rush” may persist so long as you are in a high state of stress. Once it subsides, you may begin to feel pain from the injuries you didn’t realize you suffered.

Some head and brain injuries also have delayed symptoms. For example, though some concussion symptoms may present immediately (vomiting and blurry vision), it can take days or longer for others to manifest, such as memory loss, light sensitivity, difficulty sleeping, and irritability.

Some of the more severe injuries from motor vehicle accidents that may go initially undetected involve organ damage and internal bleeding. People generally do not begin experiencing the symptoms of extreme blood loss until 15 percent or more of their blood is missing. If not addressed, internal bleeding can lead to shock, organ failure, coma, and death.

Psychological symptoms are also sometimes delayed after a motor vehicle accident. They may appear as you begin the process of facing what transpired. Though you may show early signs of stress (trouble sleeping and nightmares), the cumulative effect can eventually lead to severe anxiety and depression.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is a common form of psychological trauma associated with car accidents. Though you may experience symptoms shortly after their accident, many auto accident victims experience delayed PTSD that doesn’t manifest until six months or more have passed after an incident.

Why You Must Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Ignoring pain after a motor vehicle accident can lead to more damage. Our bodies undergo damage, inflammation, repair, and healing cycles. If you continue your daily activities without seeking medical help, you may introduce more inflammation, scarring, and tissue damage. If you ignore muscle and ligament damage long enough, you may end up with a chronic or disabling condition.

Further, clear and thorough documentation of your injuries is critical if you pursue a claim against the at-fault party. If you delay seeking treatment or miss follow-up appointments, the defendant can downplay the severity of your injuries based on your actions. This could significantly impact the strength of your legal claim and the amount of compensation you ultimately receive.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Fight for Compensation After a Motor Vehicle Accident

As personal injury attorneys, we provide comprehensive legal representation to individuals who have been injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others. We will handle all aspects of your case, including:

  • Investigation – We will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence and establish liability for your injuries.
  • Legal Analysis – We will analyze the legal aspects of your claim, including relevant laws, statutes, and precedents, to develop an effective case strategy.
  • Negotiation – We will negotiate with insurance companies and opposing parties to seek fair and just settlements for your physical and psychological injuries.
  • Litigation – If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court and advocate vigorously on your behalf.
  • Case Management – We will handle all administrative tasks and paperwork associated with your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
  • Communication – We will ensure open and transparent communication with you, keeping you informed about the progress of your case and addressing any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Advocacy – We will serve as strong advocates for your rights, fighting tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.
  • Support – We will provide compassionate support and guidance to you throughout the legal process, offering personalized attention and care every step of the way.

By entrusting us with your case, you can rest assured that you are receiving expert legal representation and dedicated advocacy to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Damages Available for Physical and Psychological Personal Injury

Our personal injury attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case to calculate the full and fair compensation you are entitled to for your physical and psychological injuries. You may receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Expenses related to home and vehicle modifications
  • Cost of home nursing or in-home care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

You may also be entitled to punitive damages designed to punish the defendant in cases involving egregious misbehavior. Though rarer than the compensatory damages listed above, our personal injury lawyers will aggressively pursue punitive damages in your case, if possible.

Evidence Needed to Prove Physical and Psychological Injury

In personal injury cases involving physical and psychological injuries, important evidence may include:

  • Medical Records – Documentation from healthcare providers detailing diagnoses, treatment plans, and progress notes related to both physical and psychological injuries.
  • Psychological Evaluations – Assessments conducted by qualified psychologists or psychiatrists to evaluate the extent and impact of the psychological injury on your mental health and well-being.
  • Prescription Records – Records of medications prescribed to treat symptoms of both physical and psychological injuries, including pain medications, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Therapy Sessions – Attendance records and progress notes from therapy sessions, counseling sessions, or support group meetings attended to address both physical and psychological injuries.
  • Witness Testimony – Statements from family members, friends, or coworkers who have observed changes in your behavior, mood, or functioning as a result of both physical and psychological injuries.
  • Employment Records – Documentation of changes in your employment status, such as missed workdays, decreased productivity, or accommodations made by your employer to support your physical and psychological needs.
  • Personal Journals or Diaries – Your written accounts documenting your experiences, symptoms, and emotions related to your physical and psychological injuries over time.
  • Expert Testimony – Testimony from qualified medical and mental health professionals providing opinions and insights into the nature, severity, and prognosis of your physical and psychological injuries.

By compiling and presenting this evidence comprehensively, our personal injury legal team can substantiate your claims for compensation for the full impact an accident has on your life and well-being. We will leave no stone unturned as we gather the evidence needed to build the strongest claim possible on your behalf.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer at Shamieh Law if You’ve Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you suffered physical or psychological injuries in an auto accident, Shamieh Law is standing by to help. Our world-class legal team is committed to “Winning With Awareness,” which means we treat our clients and everyone involved in their case with the respect, dignity, and compassion they deserve. Our excellent case results and stellar reputation among our clients speak for themselves.

Schedule a free consultation by calling (866) 552-1801 or filling out our online contact form. We take our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we secure compensation on your behalf.

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