Broken bones. Traumatic brain injuries. Spinal cord damage. These are all serious injuries that can occur as a result of a car accident. These physical damages are always difficult to deal with, but they’re not the only potential pain that an injured person may endure.
In many situations, there is a high possibility for someone injured in a car accident to endure the emotional trauma that is often associated with this type of collision. In some situations, this can be even worse than any physical injuries that may have been sustained.
Many people associate emotional trauma with PTSD, a condition often discussed with regard to soldiers returning home from war. However, it’s important to note that any incident in which a person’s health and well-being are threatened, it can feel as though the fear follows them for years.
What Is Trauma Related to Car Accidents?
When someone sustains a traumatic experience, what happens that makes it difficult to repeat some of the same actions? For instance in a car accident, why is it so difficult for individuals to want to drive again after being involved in a catastrophic collision?
Well, the way the brain works in this type of experience is by creating a sense of fear and changing the way the brain remembers certain events. In this case, they remember the moment the crash happened, the feeling of fear and anxiety, and the potential of a life-threatening situation.
When positioned in a similar situation moving forward, it’s easy for the survivor to relive the moment of their accident. They can freeze up with fear, which is a situation that often prevents individuals from even driving again in the future.
For many people, the trauma that exists means plenty of potential changes in their lives. This means they may make the decision to take public transportation instead of drive, or even specific sounds or scenes can trigger the feelings associated with trauma.
What Triggers Exist After an Accident?
Following a car accident, there are a number of sounds and sights—even smell—that can trigger reactions out of a survivor. These triggers can have various effects on the survivor, making them feel as though they’re not in their own body, they become scared and anxious, and they may freeze.
Some of the potential triggers that exist include:
- The sound of tires screeching which could be similar to vehicles trying to stop before the accident.
- A loud bang that would be indicative of the sound the collision made and may ring in the head of the survivor.
- The sound of a blaring car horn, which could be present during the accident.
- The smell of gas or oil leaking if that was present when the crash occurred.
- The sight of another accident can be enough to cause a trigger—even if it’s just a photo of a crash.
All of these things and more could cause the survivor to react in a negative manner. This is why so many people involved in serious car crashes avoid being in various situations moving forward. They don’t want to relive the crash in another situation.
Ways to Cope with the Trauma
For anyone dealing with trauma following a car accident, it’s imperative to find ways to help cope with the condition itself, as well as with the affects often associated with it. Knowing the different ways can be the difference between having to change your life and going on with the fear and anxiety of certain situations.
Here are some tips you can follow:
- Face the feelings head on. For some individuals, nothing works quite like confronting your fears and anxieties, using an outlet to help overcome the effects of trauma.
- Learn some potential outs to remove yourself from stressful situations. For instance, if you’re afraid to drive a vehicle, maybe try being the passenger or taking another method to commute.
- Speak with a therapist who can help you get to the root of the trauma and devise ways for you to move forward that are productive and efficient.
- Remember to not let your trauma define you. These feelings shouldn’t run your life and as difficult as it may be, try to remain as positive as possible each day that you can face these situations.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for some people to overcome their trauma. In these cases, they may not be able to commute to work or enjoy life in a way they were used to before the accident occurred. This may impact their financial situation as well.
One of the more important steps you can take is to surround yourself with a strong support system with people who understand what you’re going through and can work with you to help you overcome it. This gives you people to discuss your feelings with and those who can help you go through the matters in a manner which faces your triggers.
A strong support system can come in the form of family and friends, groups in therapy sessions, or even social media groups. You can utilize this support any time you have an overwhelming feeling and are not quite sure of what you can do to move forward to prevent the feeling of anxiety of fear.
Along with having great people around you, it is imperative that you try and remain strong. As difficult as it may seem, you should recognize the various steps that you can take to remain positive, keep your triggers and reactions to a minimum and help yourself move forward after an accident. Holding the responsible party accountable may go a long way in helping you do just that.
The Benefits of Taking Legal Action
While many people look at trial law in a negative light, what they don’t understand is how much it truly helps people. Far too often, individuals suffer physical and emotional damage caused by someone else’s negligent actions. This should not be tolerated.
These injuries and emotional trauma impact lives. They put those suffering in difficult positions, and oftentimes it is the legal action that helps these individuals feel whole again because they have someone fighting for them.
Legal action means seeking the compensation necessary to help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and even therapist bills. These are all benefits that our Oregon car accident attorneys understand and it’s why we work so hard for accident survivors.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means we don’t get paid unless you are successful in recovering compensation. We are truly committed to you and we want to guide you through the process from start to finish.
Call our firm at (503) 543-1114 today and speak with a lawyer in a free consultation. We can explain your rights and options and help you decide what route is best for you.