Dealing With Emotional Injury After a Pennsylvania Car Accident

 In Headline Accidents

It’s a beautiful day, and you are enjoying your commute and the Pennsylvania scenery. You are singing along with the radio when your life changes forever. You become the victim of a Pennsylvania car wreck.

You suffer severe physical injuries, but that’s not all. You just don’t feel like yourself. You can’t stop thinking the accident and don’t feel like working or spending time with family.  Your doctor says that you are suffering from emotional trauma.

What is Emotional Trauma?

Car accidents can cause serious physical injuries, but they can also leave victims with mental and/or emotional injuries. Emotional trauma is a psychological injury that occurs in response to a stressful or life-threatening event. Emotional trauma is most likely to occur if:

  • The accident happened unexpectedly
  • You were unprepared for the accident
  • You were unable to prevent the accident
  • The accident involved intense pain and/or serious physical injury
  • The accident involved children

Emotional trauma is a real injury with both psychological and physical symptoms. These symptoms can vary from person to person and may occur any time after the crash. Typical symptoms of emotional trauma after a car accident can include any of the following:

Psychological Symptoms

  • Shock
  • Denial or disbelief when dealing with the accident
  • A feeling of disconnection from family or events
  • Withdrawal from family, friends or normal activities
  • Emotional numbness
  • Anger or irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Feeling sad, depressed or hopeless
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Edginess or agitation
  • Fear of driving or anything related to the accident
  • Overreaction or strong startle reflex to loud or unexpected noises
  • Nightmares
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle tension
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction

Physical Symptoms

For most people, the emotional trauma of an accident subsides with time.  But, sometimes emotional trauma doesn’t get better on its’ own. Seek professional help, if you are experiencing any of these signs:

  • Difficulty functioning at home or at work
  • Severe anxiety or depression
  • An inability to form or maintain close relationships
  • Vivid memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the accident
  • Avoidance of anything that reminds you of the crash
  • Emotionally numb or disconnection from others
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs in order to cope or feel better

Compensation for Emotional Trauma

Accident victims are entitled to compensation for their emotional injuries as well as their physical injuries. Damages for mental and emotional injuries are usually covered under “pain and suffering.” Damages for pain and suffering are limited in Pennsylvania, except in cases involving serious injury.

Insurance companies would rather not pay for your emotional injuries. They will ask you to provide full documentation of your claim and will look for reasons to deny your request. Ostroff Injury Law can help.

Ostroff Injury Law attorney Dave Kline was called “foremost authority” in Pennsylvania on the subject of emotional distress by the late Judge Dowling. He is the author of Emotional Injuries: Law and Practice, a 1300 page treatise on the subject of emotional trauma. He, like all our attorneys, is committed to helping personal injury victims get the compensation they deserve. Call 484-351-0350 to learn how Ostroff Injury Law can help you.


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