Psychological Effects of Car Accidents

Psychological Effects of Car Accidents

Experiencing a car accident can affect a person in many ways. A car accident can leave a victim physically injured and facing a long road to recovery and serious financial challenges due to mounting medical bills.

Another way car accidents affect victims is mentally and emotionally. Experiencing an accident can substantially impact a person’s mental and emotional health and well-being, and these psychological effects can last well into the future.

After an accident, a car accident attorney can help build a strong case on your behalf so you can pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. While proving psychological effects and seeking financial recovery for them can be difficult, a car accident lawyer knows what to do to help you achieve a fair outcome.

Common Psychological Effects of Car AccidentsPsychological Effects of Car Accidents

Car accidents are traumatic events. Whether minor or major, collisions can trigger many individuals, resulting in mental and emotional health issues.

Experiencing a car accident can have different effects on different people. While some people may come through it with no issues, others may not be so fortunate.

Below are some of the most common psychological effects victims face after a car accident.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that arises after a traumatic or terrifying event.

Symptoms of PTSD can arise soon after the traumatic event, usually within a month, but may not appear until much later. The symptoms of PTSD can range in severity, but they often impact a person's ability to maintain everyday life.

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Recurrent memories of the triggering event
  • Emotional or physical reactions to things that remind the victim of the event
  • Dreams or nightmares about the event
  • Avoiding activities that remind the victim of the event
  • Negative and intrusive thoughts
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Being easily frightened
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability

The symptoms of PTSD can intensify over time or may escalate when victims face reminders of the car accident.

Treatment for PTSD includes different types of therapy or medication.


Experiencing some feelings of anxiety is normal at different times in life. However, people with severe anxiety can suffer more intense sensations and symptoms.

There are different types of anxiety, but generalized anxiety disorder is the most common kind experienced after a car accident.

Some anxiety symptoms victims of car accidents may experience include:

  • Persistent feelings of panic or fear
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Feeling weak
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Avoiding things that trigger anxiety

Anxiety can make everyday life difficult. Treatment can include psychotherapy and medication, depending on the symptoms and their severity.


Everyone experiences feelings of sadness at some point, but individuals with depression often suffer from extreme feelings of sadness and other unpleasant symptoms. Depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder.

Depression symptoms range in severity but can include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Feeling worthless
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other activities
  • Frequent feelings of fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

Not everyone with depression suffers from every single symptom, as symptoms are unique to a person's situation. It can be challenging to diagnose depression—which can appear to be something else but a physician can provide a diagnosis.

Sleep Problems

Victims of car accidents frequently experience trouble sleeping, whether short-term or long-term.

Victims who experience sleep problems often feel like they can see the accident when they close their eyes. Some victims also fear having nightmares about the accident.

Some car accident victims may experience sleep problems alone, but it is more common for sleep issues to be a part of a bigger problem, like anxiety or depression.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress encompasses many symptoms and different mental health disorders.

Many emotional distress symptoms mirror other mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety.

These symptoms can include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, overwhelm, or hopelessness
  • Constant worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained pain

Car accidents can cause emotional distress. Your car accident attorney knows how to handle emotional distress and pursue compensation on your behalf.

Looking For a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have been personally injured recently one of the best decisions you could make right now is to hire a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will be able to go over your case details and provide the crucial steps you need to have a chance of winning your claim. Emroch and Kilduff is here to support you, reach out to us!

Compensation for Psychological Effects After a Car Accident

After a car accident, your car accident lawyer can review the details to determine the value of your case. Your car accident attorney needs to calculate your damages

to determine what your case is worth.

Economic damages represent your tangible losses, and non-economic, represent your intangible losses.

Non-economic damages are those that are more challenging to calculate and prove, including:

The psychological effects you experience after your accident fall under the non-economic category, as psychological matters are intangible.

It can be tough to calculate non-economic damages, but you can trust your car accident lawyer to determine the monetary extent of your losses.

Proving Psychological Effects

You must provide sufficient proof to pursue compensation for psychological effects after an accident.

Evidence that can help prove your psychological harm includes:

  • Medical records
  • Doctor’s notes
  • Expert testimony

Your car accident lawyer can gather the required evidence to prove your losses and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

A Virginia Car Accident Attorney Can Help You

Walter H Emroch - Lawyer for Car Accidents near Virginia
Walter H Emroch, Retired Car Accident Lawyer in Virginia

Financial recovery cannot fix the harm if you suffer psychological damage from a car accident. It can, however, ease some of the financial burdens your mental health struggles may impose.

Proving your losses after a collision may seem nearly impossible, but a car accident attorney knows how to handle your claim. After a crash, do not hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer right away to begin working on your case.

William B. Kilduff


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