How to Deal With Emotional Trauma in the Wake of a Vehicle Collision
Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. suffer injuries in vehicle collisions. In the wake of these incidents, the focus is typically on physical injuries and healing.
But emotional and psychological damage can be just as serious as any broken bones, bruises, and lacerations.
Five Tips for Dealing With Emotional Trauma
If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash, you may have discovered that you experienced emotional and psychological trauma from the event. You aren’t alone in this.
Emotional trauma is normal and expected, but that doesn’t mean you may ignore it. Dealing with the symptoms immediately and head on will help you heal sooner and better.
1. Recognize That Emotions are Normal
First, you need to recognize that feelings of shock, angst, and anxiety are common after a car accident. In fact, it would be less normal not to undergo such emotions.
“You may still be in shock hours or days later, it really just depends on the person and situation,” Kara Masterson writes for Lifehack. “Whatever you experience, know that it’s completely normal to experience shock and you will be okay.”
2. Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Most people don’t understand all of the complexities that come with a car accident. They may think it’s as simple as filing a police report and letting the system take care of the rest, but there’s much more to it.
Even if you think your case is fairly open and shut, it’s still a smart move to hire an experienced attorney … or at least to consult one for an expert opinion. This will also give you room to deal with the emotional trauma, while the attorney addresses the legal facets of the case.
Start your research by asking friends and family for a referral. If you can’t get a referral, search for attorneys online. You can tell a lot about an attorney by how they manage their online presence. Gruber Law Offices, LLC is a great example. Not only are they one of the best law firms in the state of Wisconsin, but their website is dedicated to educating potential clients – rather than trying to hook them in. Whether you’re in Wisconsin or Washington D.C., find an attorney that puts you first.
3. See a Therapist
Hoping your emotional wounds will heal on their own isn’t a sound approach. In addition to seeing a doctor, you might find it useful to meet with a therapist to work through the psychological issues.
A trained therapist can help you deal with specific symptoms such as sleep loss and disturbances, feelings of loneliness, moodiness and irritability, social withdrawal, compulsive or obsessive behaviors, and depression.
4. Document Everything
“Your ability to recover damages for emotional trauma depends on how well the trauma, and its symptoms, are documented,” FindLaw explains. “If you’re seeing a medical provider for your emotional trauma, he or she will also want you to accurately document your symptoms as this will help ensure a more accurate diagnosis.”
Keep detailed records of all your medical symptoms, appointments, and treatments. While some of them may seem insignificant at the moment, records can really help your case.
5. Ease Back Into Driving
Some collision victims believe the best thing they can do is get behind the wheel again as soon as possible. The theory is that combatting the natural fear right away is the most effective way of overcoming it.
But this isn’t the case. It’s better to take it slow and ease back into driving. Start by traveling on safe, quiet roads, like back streets in residential neighborhoods.
Eventually, you may progress to public thoroughfares. Avoid highways and busy intersections for now. Once you have each type of roadway down, you can try the others.
It’s also preferable to avoid the site of the crash until you’ve given yourself enough time to acclimate to driving again.
Don’t Ignore Emotional Wounds
Physical wounds like broken bones, bruises, and lacerations are hard to ignore. When you experience them as a result of a vehicle collision, you’ll likely seek immediate medical attention and get the care you need.
The same can’t always be said for emotional wounds, however. It’s easy to push those down and ignore them, but that may lead to further problems later on.
You might feel as if you’re facing an uphill battle with very few tools, but the sooner you address your emotional wounds, the quicker you’re apt to heal.