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A car accident is a traumatic event that results in serious physical injuries. Alongside this, car accident victims often suffer from psychological effects that can be more significant than any physical injuries. Understanding and addressing psychological effects are essential for full recovery. Below, we look at the psychological challenges faced after a car accident and how to cope with them.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Witnessing and experiencing a car accident can cause PTSD, which is a mental health condition triggered by trauma. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and anxiety related to the incident. Physical injuries are often a reminder of the accident, which can make it harder to deal with PTSD. After a car accident, people with PTSD may be unable to drive or get back onto their motorcycle without severe anxiety.


Car accidents can leave survivors with a lingering feeling of anxiety and fear, making it challenging to get back onto the road. In some cases, car accident victims can develop panic disorders, which involve sudden and intense fear. It can become difficult to deal with any stressors, and things often unrelated to the accident can cause anxiety and panic episodes.


Another common emotion that people go through after a car accident is grief. This can be quite intense, and may last for several weeks, months, or even years. Car accidents can cause a loss of life, or a loss of bodily functions. After a serious accident, injuries such as spinal cord injuries may lead to permanent disabilities, meaning the loss of limbs or use of part of the body.

This can be a very difficult and overwhelming thing to deal with, especially when it seemingly happened out of nowhere. Grief can also lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.

Frustration and Anger

Victims of car accidents may feel a lot of frustration and anger around their situation, especially if their injuries are caused by a drunk, drowsy, or distracted driver. Traumatic brain injuries can also make it difficult for survivors to regulate their emotions, meaning they have outbursts of frustration and anger that they cannot control. Traumatic brain injuries can also cause personality changes and mood swings, which is something the whole family will need to learn how to manage.

Seeking Professional Help

The psychological aftermath of a car accident can be long-term, so seeking professional help is a must. Licensed counselors or therapists that are experienced in trauma can provide support and evidence-based therapies to support mental and emotional healing. Car accident survivors can also do group therapy, which can help with verbalizing emotions and thoughts associated with the event with people who understand.

After a car accident, it’s also a good idea to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer. If the car accident was not your fault (such as if the other vehicle was speeding) pursuing legal action can help you get compensation for physical injuries and emotional distress.

Psychological effects of injuries sustained in a car accident can be long-lasting and require appropriate treatment. It’s essential to take proactive steps to address and cope with these effects, including speaking with a therapist and a lawyer.

If you’ve sustained physical or emotional injury following a car accident, our dedicated team at Pencheff and Fraley LPA are here for you.

Visit our offices at:

  • Westerville – 4151 Executive Pkwy, Suite 355, Westerville, OH 43081
  • Mansfield – 33 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906

Call now for a free consultation on (614) 224-4114.

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