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A wonderful part about working as a personal injury attorney is the satisfaction gained from helping people, who have suffered through the negligence of others, regain their financial stability and ensure their future prosperity. Unfortunately, not all injuries, and certainly not all scars are born on the body. The emotional and psychological trauma that can accompany an accident may be more severe than the actual physical injuries that are incurred.

In a recent study performed by the Australian Government, it was found that in excess of 30 percent of accident victims suffer some type of mental or emotional issue due to these traumatic events. According to Dr. Matthews, author of the study, “It’s not so much the severity of the crash or the severity of any resulting injury that counts – it’s how someone perceives it. If you perceive the crash as life-threatening, or if someone is killed in the accident, then that can influence your response.” In other words, the incident doesn’t have to have caused serious physical trauma or have been extremely violent in nature. Rather, it is the amount of fear that was experienced or the realization that a situation was more critical than was apparent to you that is more the determining factor. Stated simply, it is the shock factor.

If you were riding a motorcycle and saw a car coming at you from the side, even if no contact is made, in theory this could cause an emotional injury; if, in your mind, you perceived you were about to die or be severely injured or if you felt that you had evaded contact only to find your rear seat empty and your friend lying dead in the road.

Symptoms to Watch For

It is normal to experience some degree of anxiety after an accident, but it should be, for the most part, short lived and never extend beyond three months. Symptoms that extend beyond this period are considered signs of emotional scaring akin to that suffered by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferers and should be treated in a similar fashion.

A few of the things that you, your family and friends should be on the lookout for are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling Upset, Angry or Confused
  • Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Hyper Activity
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Listlessness
  • Loss of Focus
  • Sudden Increase in Alcohol or Drug Use

The reason that I specify your friends and family, as well as yourself, in the list of people that should be aware of these symptoms is that, many times, the person suffering through them either can’t or won’t recognize them in themselves. It is much easier for those that care about you to see the little changes in your habits and personality than for you to see them in yourself.

Seek Help

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, there is a very good chance that your attorney will want you to have a mental evaluation performed, but remember that neither he nor the doctors involved are likely to be familiar with your habits and personality before your accident.

If you or those that know you, note changes in your behavior, inform your attorney and seek help immediately.There are legal means of receiving some monetary compensation for these injuries, but there are some things that go beyond the mere value of money; personal relationships, piece of mind, self confidence and feelings of security and safety, just to name a few.