The Psychological Fallout of Truck Accidents and Its Impact on Victims

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Leaving home and returning safely is an underrated blessing, especially when the auto crash epidemic is widespread in America. 

Surveys suggest that trucks killed more than 1,500 Americans in 2022, and the number of injuries exceeded 70,000. What’s alarming is that the number of fatalities is up by 10.5% compared to 2021. 

In St. Louis, Missouri alone, around 15,005 truck crashes were reported in 2022. That’s scary, right?

Contrary to what everyone thinks, the “trauma” followed by truck accidents isn’t purely physical. What many people fail to understand is that these accidents have a deep impact on the psychology of victims. 

You can imagine the impact of such accidents, as several studies state that survivors of dread stepping out of their homes even after recovering physically. If you’re a truck accident victim, know that seeking professional help will help you overcome emotional distress. 

Having said that, we’ll shed light on how the brain reacts to truck accidents and highlight the common psychological issues that affect victims. 

Psychological Effects of Traumatic Truck Accidents

Suffering some form of emotional distress after a tragic accident is common. But what isn’t normal is experiencing anxiety even after a few months of the unfortunate incident. 

Unfortunately, many truck accident victims develop life-long trauma that plagues them for years. Following a truck accident, victims may experience emotional distress, and the most common ones are listed below:

1. Acute and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A fairly large number of studies suggest that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among survivors of truck accidents. The American Psychological Association reported that the primary cause of PTSD is motor vehicle accidents. 

Patients with PTSD and acute stress disorder share the same symptoms, except that the former lasts for more than four weeks. 

Symptoms Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person and may not appear for weeks after the accident, making it challenging to diagnose. Patients who have PTSD usually experience the following:

  • Flashbacks or recurring thoughts of the accident
  • Staying hyper-vigilant or constantly paranoid  
  • Avoiding everything that reminds them of the crash

2. Major Depressive Disorder

Pain and suffering due to the accident result in depression. The clinical term for depression is ‘major depressive disorder.’ This mental health issue can occur both in the victim and those who witness the incident. 

Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder creates setbacks in subtle ways, which is why months pass by until victims realize they are suffering from it. You must speak to a counselor if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty waking up or inability to sleep
  • Anger

3. Persistent Anxiety

Experiencing mild anxiety after a traumatic accident is normal. But what’s not normal is persistently worrying about or fearing stepping out of the home. 

In this regard, the National Institute of Mental Health asserts that some individuals may experience severe anxiety for weeks or months after the crash. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

Victims, particularly females, are vulnerable to chronic anxiety following a road traffic crash. You must consult a therapist if you or your family members exhibit the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Trembling or sweating
  • Feeling tense, restless, or nervous
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Hyperventilation or breathing rapidly
  • Increased heart rate

Coping With Mental Trauma After a Truck Accident

Emotional distress is common after encountering a truck accident. While some people may recover, others may fall into the pit of depression, experiencing panic attacks and anxiety. 

Overcoming traumatic events like a truck accident is never easy. However, there are a few ways to deal with mental trauma. They are as follows:

1. Seek Professional Help

See a therapist or grief counselor and share everything you’re going through with them. They’ll identify the mental trauma you’re going through and advise you on therapies and medications accordingly. 

Nevertheless, you don’t have to bear the therapist’s fees alone. You can recover damages by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. 

The rules for securing financial damages differ from state to state. TorHoerman Law states that the pure comparative fault rule is followed in deciding the compensation claim in St. Louis, Missouri. 

As per this rule, you can recover damages from the defendant minus your percentage of liability. Alaska and California follow this doctrine, too. 

When filing a lawsuit, you must consult a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer to know if you qualify for compensation. Also, they’ll help you understand the nuances of legal proceedings, further simplifying the process of filing a lawsuit. 

2. Meditate Daily

Meditation is yet another excellent way to heal mental trauma and soothe an anxious mind. Take deep, intentional breaths and pay attention to exhales and inhales. You’ll be able to accept and release your pent-up emotions through meditation. 

3. Stay Active

After such traumatic incidents, many individuals isolate themselves. As a result, anxiety and depression take hold of their life, further worsening the situation. 

However, if you stay actively engaged in day-to-day activities, you’ll heal more quickly than others. Take part in activities that do not bother the physical injuries you’ve sustained; it will make a world of difference. 

The Takeaway

Emotional distress in truck accident victims may not be apparent, but that doesn’t make it non-existent. Psychological trauma exhibits itself in subtle ways. Often, the outward signs of emotional distress are behavioral. That is why observing victims’ or survivors’ behavior will help you identify the issues they are suffering from. 

Do your bit by taking them to a counselor and reminding them that the best days are ahead. 

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