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The Psychological Impact of a Truck Accident

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Most people understand that truck accidents can be physically devastating, responsible for grievous injuries and significant property damage. But they can also be psychologically devastating, and for a host of complex reasons.

The aftermath of a truck accident

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, there are a few important things you’ll need to take care of first.

  • Get medical attention. Everything starts with caring for your physical injuries, and the physical injuries of anyone else you know who was involved in the accident. In many cases, you’ll need to contact emergency services as soon as you’ve gotten to a safe place. It’s also important to attend all your follow-up appointments with doctors and physical therapists, so you can continue making a physical recovery.
  • Talk to a lawyer. Next, talk to a lawyer with experience in cases related to truck accidents. Your lawyer will be able to help you negotiate for a higher settlement, and represent you in trial if the case goes that far. Ideally, you’ll be compensated for every conceivable cost related to the truck accident, including compensation for your injuries, your medical expenses, your property damage, and even your subjective pain and suffering.
  • Care for yourself. It’s also important to start caring for yourself after the truck accident, recognizing not only your physical injuries, but also your mental and emotional trauma. After a devastating truck accident, many injured people find solace and comfort going to therapy and sorting some of their issues out.

Why truck accidents can be devastating

Why are truck accidents so psychologically devastating? There are several reasons, including:

  • A range of emotions. Vehicle collisions are emotionally traumatizing. And it’s not just one emotion that you’re going to go through. Between the immediate aftermath of the accident and years down the line, you’ll likely experience a range of different emotions about the accident. You might be shocked and in disbelief that it happened initially. You may feel angry or resentful that a negligent truck driver put this burden on your life. You may feel sad or depressed that you’ve been injured and can’t do the same things you used to anymore. All of these are valid feelings and are worth exploring.
  • Immediate and long-term effects. Truck accidents can affect your life in many different ways, both in the short term and in the long term. Short term, you’ll be dealing with your injuries and you’ll likely be without a car. In the future, you’ll have to navigate a legal battle and work with a lawyer for weeks, if not months to put together a case. You may even be forced to go to trial to get the compensation you deserve.
  • Size and impact. Truck accidents are frequently more devastating than car accidents for one simple reason: trucks are bigger. Trucks have much more mass and are traveling at the same speed, which means they hit you with much more impact whenever a collision occurs. That means you’re going to suffer far more property damage and far worse injuries if you’re in a truck accident, rather than a mere car accident.
  • The pain. If you were injured in the accident, you may deal with significant pain. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the initial pain may be excruciating, and you may feel pain for several days, or even weeks after the accident. If you’re unlucky, you may also struggle with chronic pain, for years after the accident or for the rest of your life.
  • Passengers and bystanders. If there were other passengers or bystanders involved in the accident, you may be dealing with additional emotional trauma. Seeing an innocent bystander, or worse, someone you love suffering could affect you for years.
  • The legal process. The legal process can be burdensome on its own. If you’ve never been a plaintiff in a personal injury case before, it may all seem new and foreign to you. If you’re working with a competent lawyer, who you trust and respect, the case is going to be much easier for you to manage and navigate. However, it can still take time to shop around and find the perfect lawyer for your needs. Depending on the complexity of the case, it could take months before you reach a resolution, or even longer; truck accidents, in particular, are notoriously complex, because they often involve a multitude of different parties, including the trucking company and multiple insurance companies.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for dealing with the psychological trauma of being in a truck accident. But if you understand that these byproducts of surviving an accident are in play, and you know the best techniques for dealing with them, you’ll be much more likely to be psychologically unscathed in the long term.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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