While many motor vehicle accidents are little more than an inconvenience, others can leave the victims struggling to regain control of their lives. A crash that leaves you with severe injuries or permanent impairments can alter the course of your life, devastate your plans and goals for the future, and leave you with chronic physical pain. However, you may also suffer in ways that are not so obvious to others.
It is not unusual for victims of motor vehicle accidents to suffer from mental and emotional trauma as well as physical injuries. This is nothing to take lightly or to dismiss, because it can quickly overwhelm you and paralyze you from taking part in your own life. Your mental and emotional injuries are something you should consider as you assess the damages you have suffered in a motor vehicle accident, especially when the accident resulted from someone else’s negligent or reckless actions.
Do I have post-traumatic stress?
Normally, car accident victims suffer a kind of shock through which the brain protects you from the frightening events. You may not fully feel the extent of your injuries, or you may feel as if everything is moving in slow motion. After a while, however, the shock wears off, and the reality sets in. When you are able to assess your injuries and the ordeal you have just endured, you may feel nauseous, have difficulty catching your breath or feel like you are going to faint.
If you are not able to assess what has happened to you or to process the extent of your injuries, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The symptoms for PTSD may not surface right away, but a few days or weeks after the accident, you may experience any of the following symptoms or others.
- Extreme nervousness
- A feeling of being constantly on the alert for tragedy to strike
- Over-reaction to loud noises or sudden movements
- Inability to clear your mind of every detail of the accident, even when sleeping
- Irrational fear of getting back in a vehicle or leaving the house
- Nightmares and flashbacks of the events
- Inability to cope with the severity of your injuries
When these symptoms interfere with your normal life, it is not something you should brush aside. In fact, PTSD is like any injury you have suffered in the accident, and it is important that you obtain the professional care you need just as you would for a physical injury. Additionally, you may wish to consider holding responsible those whose actions have left you struggling with physical and mental injuries. This may include finding a compassionate Virginia attorney with experience helping accident victims fight to obtain the compensation they deserve.