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Boston Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Going Into Shock After an Accident Can be Deadly

Going Into Shock After an Accident Can be Deadly


When you see people in the hospital or after accidents on TV or in the movies, you often hear people saying that “he’s going into shock.” When they say that, they don’t mean the emotional state of being shocked. Shock is an actual medical condition, and if not immediately tended to it can be deadly.

Symptoms of Shock

Often, the symptoms of shock are overlooked, because in people who have just sustained an accident, the symptoms of the actual injuries, can mimic or even overlap the symptoms of the shock.

Things to be aware of in victims—or in yourself, if you are the victim of an accident—include things like:

  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Cold skin
  • Confusion or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Excessively fast pulse
  • Fast and shallow breathing

What Causes Shock?

Shock has two main causes, one physiological, and the other mental or emotional.

Physiologically shock happens because of excessively low blood pressure, which tends to happen after an accident. Ironically, shock is actually a survival mechanism for the body. The body wants to preserve blood for use by the organs, and thus, stops it from flowing properly, thus lowering blood pressure. But the blood pressure can get so low that it can kill.

Loss of blood can cause shock, as there isn’t enough blood to maintain a normal blood pressure. Or, in cases where blood flow is obstructed, such as with an injury to a limb, blood cannot flow properly, and blood pressure drops. Likewise, any type of trauma or injury to the heart itself, which lowers the ability to pump blood can result in shock.

Any type of damage to the body’s nervous system can also cause shock, as the nervous system assists in the flow of blood throughout the body.

Septic shock can also happen because of infection, although that doesn’t often relate to a one time acute injury that happens after an accident. This is when the body is trying to fight off an infection that is so bad that it causes the body to divert all of its energy–and blood–to fighting the infection.

This can be a long term effect of an accident however–such as where someone goes into a hospital after an accident, and develops an infection that results in septic shock.

Psychological Causes

There can be psychological causes of shock as well.

The trauma of being in an accident, of witnessing injuries to one’s own body, can cause the heart to slow down, and thus, blood flow to slow down. The body perceives itself as having been in, or as being in, a life threatening situation, which causes the body to “protect itself” which it often does by slowing down blood flow. You don’t necessarily need to have sustained any kind of physical injury, to go into psychological shock.

Shock also can have long term effects, much like the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Constant reliving of an event, confusion, fear paralysis, being irritable or moody. Are common symptoms.

Let us help you if you suffered an injury that caused you to go into shock after an accident. Call the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for questions and for help.




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