It’s likely that you or someone you know will be injured in a car accident at some point, as almost 2.5 million people are injured annually on our national roads. Auto accidents can be expensive, time-consuming, and more of a life-changing than you could have ever anticipated.
As the victim in a car accident that involved personal injury, your first priority is to work on your own recovery. Cars can be repaired or replaced, and insurance companies can handle a lot of the process of property and other claims.
What’s hard to predict and recover from, though, are some of the more far-reaching effects of an auto accident. Even though only one party is physically injured, the aftermath can easily affect your whole family as the weeks, months, and years pass.
It’s vitally important that you are prepared for the financial effects, as well. Read on to find out exactly how you can be.
Psychological effects can your family
It’s common for an injured party to suffer symptoms that are related to mental health. One doesn’t have to be the driver – passengers in an accident are just as likely to be affected. Although they are treatable, this may not be an option without insurance or compensation.
Some of the most common issues that are associated with auto accidents are:
Phobias and other anxiety-related problems are often triggered in the aftermath of a car accident. They may manifest in nightmares, insomnia, irritability, and the fear of riding or driving in a vehicle under certain conditions.
Auto accidents are now the leading cause of PTSD symptoms, per the American Association of Family Physicians. PTSD affects everyone differently, but the common symptoms include avoidance of certain situations that can trigger flashbacks of the accident, negative changes in your beliefs and feelings, and reliving the trauma.
Life changes, dealing with litigation and loss of income, and physical injury can all contribute to depression that requires professional treatment to resolve.
All these conditions can become debilitating and can impair a victim’s ability to return to work – but that’s not all. Inability to manage emotions, handle chronic pain, and the stress of diminished income will affect the entire family of the injured party. Family therapy is an accepted practice to help family members work through the specific issues that have sprung up in response to these major life changes.
Financial problems can be far-reaching
It’s not just medical bills. Loss of income and lack of reparation for damages caused by the other party in an automobile accident can also have a significant, negative impact on a family. If the other driver was not property insured, the bills can keep piling up. Without a knowledgeable attorney on your side, healing from an injury sustained in a car accident can be fraught with anxiety and fear.
Families feel the pinch as incomes are cut significantly, the loss of a caregiver impacts the uninjured partner’s ability to go to work, and lifestyle changes are forced. If you are forced to go after another party for damages in a lawsuit, you are embarking on a legal journey that could last years, while your finances suffer and your credit rating dwindles.
The after-effects of auto crashes can be long-lasting. Recovering from common injuries that are associated with collisions, such as traumatic brain injury spinal cord damage (38.3% of the spinal cord injuries that doctors see are the result of car accidents), can take months or even years. In addition to the loss of ability to work and provide for the family, physical injuries can require the need for modifications to the home for accessibility, loss of companionship for the family, and other lifestyle changes.
Your injuries can keep you from performing your normal household tasks. Your family might need to hire someone to take care of these chores, or take them on themselves if there are no other alternatives. Injuries that could limit the performance of these tasks could be the common fall complications like broken or strained limbs, whiplash, spinal injury or brain injury. These expenses are worth seeking compensation for.
Only one member of your family may become the victim of a car accident, but the aftermath will always involve your whole family. The psychological effects commonly include debilitating PTSD, depression and anxiety – all of which can impact the mental health of the entire family. Financial worries are a harsh and long-lasting change that spring up almost immediately, and often need professional legal help to resolve. Physical injuries have the potential to change every aspect of your family’s life, often permanently. When your family is overwhelmed with all these changes and stresses, it’s important to seek the guidance of a professional who can guide you through the process of filing a claim and receiving compensation in the aftermath of the crash.
Scott Distasio is the founder of the Distasio Law Firm, a personal injury firm in Tampa. His career focus is on all types of personal injury cases. To see what legal wisdom he shares next, follow @scottdistasio on Twitter