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How to Mentally Recover From a Car Accident

June 4, 2021 By John Torgenson

Coping With PTSD After a Car Accident

Vehicle accidents can be terrifying experiences, particularly if a person sustains a traumatic injury as a result of the incident. When most people think of vehicle accident injuries, they think of whiplash, concussions, sprains and strains, bruising, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc. These are all traumatic injuries that can certainly affect those involved. However, one aspect of car accidents that many people do not think about is how the crash will affect a person emotionally and psychologically. Here, our Phoenix personal injury lawyers want to discuss some steps a person can take to help recover mentally after a vehicle accident occurs. 

Arizona Vehicle Accidents Occur Regularly 

When we look at the information available from the Arizona Department of Transportation, we can see that there were nearly 130,000 total vehicle collisions during the latest reporting year across the state. Out of these incidents, there were 982 fatalities and nearly 54,000 total injuries. 

However, one statistic that is not reflected in the annual data revolves around the emotional and psychological trauma that crash victims sustain as a result of these incidents. 

The Emotional and Psychological Well-Being of Crash Victims

Most people are not aware that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst the general population in the US. According to data available from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), We can see that nearly 40% of all vehicle crash survivors develop some form of PTSD. 

This is a significant statistic because it shows us just how often crash victims develop emotional and psychological issues following the incident. In addition, we need to point out that crash victims can still sustain emotional and psychological trauma that does not rise to the level of PTSD, but nonetheless causes significant strain on their daily lives. Some of the most common types of emotional and psychological problems a person may develop following a crash include feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, uneasiness, nervousness, and more.

There are various ways that a person can start their path to recovery after an emotional or psychological injury caused by a vehicle accident. This includes:

  1. Seeking professional mental health assistance. It is always helpful to talk to friends and family members about the feelings you may be having, particularly as these people will be the ones around you most often. However, they are no substitute for professional mental health counseling. We strongly suggest that you try to receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier to cover your mental health needs as you work to recover. 
  2. Staying active and exercising often. We encourage you to take part in activities that do not bother the injuries you sustained in the accident but nonetheless keep you active and healthy. You can speak to your doctor about what you can and cannot do during your recovery process. 
  3. Following up with a family doctor. Your family doctor can always give you a referral to mental health providers if you need one. They can also monitor your recovery and keep good records about your progress that can be provided to insurance carriers. 
  4. Trying to get back to daily routines and activities. It is always suggested that individuals try to get back to their daily routines and activities as soon as possible and as soon as they are comfortable doing so. 
  5. Getting comfortable driving again. Driving a vehicle may be one of the triggers of post-traumatic stress disorder following a vehicle accident, so we only suggest doing so when you are comfortable. However, when you do get back behind the wheel, make sure that there are no distractions and that you are well-rested. Take it one step at a time if you need to, including just around the block and back. 

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John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.