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Mental and Emotional Trauma After An Accident


Mental and emotional injuries in personal injury cases have bad reputations. Many people think they are often exaggerated, or “less serious” than physical injuries. Unlike physical injuries, like broken bones, mental injuries often can’t be seen on a scan or x-ray. However, mental and psychological injury after an accident can be more severe, more traumatic, and more debilitating to an accident victim than the physical injuries.

What Does “Mental Injury” Even Mean?

It is somewhat misleading to use the term “mental injury,” because there really are different kinds of mental injuries, or personal injury damages that have to do with mental trauma.

The first kind of injury, is the emotional and psychological effects that are related to, or a result of, a physical injury.

For example, if you sustain a physical injury that prevents you from holding your young child, you may understandably be upset, angry, or depressed. You may feel cheated and sad. However, there is nothing wrong with your brain–you are just having natural mental and emotional trauma that stems from your injuries and the disabilities that go with it.

Injuries to the Brain Itself

On the other hand, there are mental injuries that stem from some kind of trauma to your head or brain. These are often thought of as Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBI–although the injury to your brain doesn’t have to be significant.

Many types of injuries to the brain can cause depression, anxiety, fear, confusion, dizziness, lack of focus, or lack of short or long term memory. In these kinds of injuries, your brain is not working the way it is supposed to work, because of a trauma inflicted upon it.

Evidence Proving Injuries

Both types of mental injuries have the same problem in a personal injury case: They often cannot be measured by an objective scan or X-Ray. The jury is left to hear anecdotes from you or your family over your mental trauma, and they must rely on the records and testimony of your doctors.

This is why treating with a doctor if you have any type of mental effects after an accident is so important–the doctor’s records serve both as a diagnosis, and as a history of your problems and conditions. The doctor’s observations are what tell a jury that what you are experiencing is more than just “being sad”–you have a serious mental condition because of your injuries.

Don’t Be Ashamed

Unfortunately, while many people have no problem saying they need back surgery or that they suffered a laceration, people still feel a stigma to saying they have PTSD or anxiety or sadness after an accident.

There is certainly no shame in saying how your accident has affected you, both in your cognitive mental functioning as well as in your day-to-day emotional dealings. This is how you will show the jury that you deserve to be compensated for these changes in your life that were caused by the careless Defendant’s actions.

We can help a jury understand how your injuries have affected your life.  Call our Boston personal injury lawyers today at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. at 617-275-4200 for help with your personal injury case.

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