Measuring the Psychological Impact of a Car Crash


Experiencing a car crash is an event that can profoundly affect your life, not just physically but emotionally as well. These events are scary, unsettling, and can shake the feelings of trust and safety that we may normally feel while riding in a motor vehicle. Addressing these mental and emotional impacts is just as important as treating physical injuries, as they play a significant role in the healing process. A car accident attorney in Roanoke can offer additional resources to assist you during this difficult time.

Psychological Trauma Is Common After a Collision

Many studies have shed light on the often-overlooked psychological impact of car accidents. One study conducted by Oxford University revealed a startling reality: approximately one in four individuals involved in car crashes suffer from psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), persistent anxiety, depression, and phobias, even a year after the event.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo and the University of Mississippi Medical Center also found that approximately 25–33% of car accident victims report PTSD symptoms at least 30 days after the accident. Additionally, another study found that car accident–related PTSD may affect 2.5 to 7 million people in the United States.

How Emotional Trauma Manifests After a Car Accident

The emotional and psychological repercussions of a car accident are diverse and can manifest in many different ways. These effects, while not as immediately visible as physical injuries, can be just as debilitating and long-lasting.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD can manifest through various symptoms such as recurring, intrusive memories of the accident, nightmares, and severe anxiety. Victims may relive the traumatic event repeatedly, experiencing intense psychological distress at reminders of the crash.
  • Fear of Driving: Another frequent consequence is a profound fear of driving or being in vehicles. This fear can significantly restrict a person’s mobility and independence, leading to a reliance on others or public transportation. The anxiety can also disrupt daily routines and hamper the victim’s ability to return to normal life.
  • Depression: The sudden, life-altering nature of a car accident can leave victims feeling helpless, hopeless, and disconnected from their usual activities and relationships. Depression can manifest in persistent sadness, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbances.

Recovering Compensation for Emotional Distress

While the physical injuries of a car crash are often visible and quantifiable, the emotional distress suffered can be more challenging to measure. However, victims are entitled to seek compensation for these non-economic damages when filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Calculating pain and suffering can be complex, but there are established methods that insurers and attorneys use:

  • The Per-Diem Method: This method assigns a daily rate to the victim’s pain and suffering, multiplying this rate by the number of days the victim has been affected by their injuries.
  • The Multiplier Method: This method involves multiplying the actual economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) by a certain number (the multiplier) based on the severity of the victim’s injuries.

Speak to a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you deserve to be fully supported in your journey towards recovery. If you’ve been in a car accident in Virginia and are struggling with the psychological impacts, a car accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your case and fight for the compensation that you deserve. After seeking medical care, schedule a free legal consultation and take your first steps toward justice.

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