What Happens to You Mentally After A Car Accident?

Car accidents in Las Vegas are to be expected, given the high traffic volume. In 2022, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported 20,336 traffic accidents. Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience that can significantly and negatively impact one’s physical and mental health. Although the physical wounds suffered in a car accident are frequently the most obvious and may eventually heal, the mental and emotional effects can be just as harmful.

If you or a loved one were in a car accident, you probably have many questions about what to do next and your options. You may be going through psychological symptoms such as irritability or a loss of appetite. Or, perhaps, you’re experiencing feelings of anger, sadness, or confusion.

Below, we discuss the psychological effects of a car accident, the steps to take after a car accident, and some coping mechanisms to deal with the mental effects of being in a vehicle accident.

What Are the Mental Repercussions of Being Involved in a Car Accident?

How does an accident affect you mentally?

Car accident survivors frequently deal with psychological and emotional effects that can be challenging to identify because they initially resemble normal behavior. After a car accident, you might feel exhausted, vulnerable, nervous, or depressed. You may begin having nightmares or reliving the experience. Your day-to-day activities may be affected by your emotional distress. Some of the most common mental repercussions of car accidents include:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the American Psychological Association, car accidents are the single leading cause of PTSD in the general population. PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying or traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, mood changes, avoidance, and intrusive thoughts about the event.


Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent sadness and a loss of interest in pursuits one once found enjoyable. It can impair a person’s ability to function at work and home and cause several emotional and physical issues. Depression can also lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, making it a serious condition that requires proper treatment.

Sleep Problems

Sleep issues are frequent following a car accident. They might include having trouble falling asleep, sleeping through the night, or waking up feeling exhausted. These sleep issues, which may be brought on by physical discomfort, anxiety, or PTSD, can significantly affect a person’s general health and healing.


Anxiety is an overpowering feeling of worry, unease, or trepidation. It can manifest in various ways, including panic attacks, nightmares, avoidance behaviors, an elevated heart rate, and tense muscles. It’s characterized by excessive apprehension or fear about real or perceived threats. Anxiety can be minor or severe, constant, or sporadic.

Other Symptoms

You may also find yourself experiencing the following symptoms as a result of your car accident:

  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Flashbacks.
  • Nightmares.
  • Memory loss.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after a car accident, speaking to a professional psychiatrist, therapist, or mental health specialist is important.

Steps To Take After a Car Accident To Protect Your Mental Health and Your Rights

There are several steps you can take to protect your mental health and your rights after a car accident, including:

  • Get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you think you don’t have any injuries or your injuries are minor, it’s crucial to get a physical. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent.
  • Contact the police and request a police report of the accident that includes information about the accident, such as the time, date, location, and involved parties. This is useful if you must file a claim with your insurance company or against the other driver.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, any injuries sustained, and damage to your property. Photos will help you remember what happened, in case you’re experiencing memory loss, and can be used as evidence to support your claim.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with others involved. This information will be vital if you need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or need to contact the driver if you file a personal injury claim.
  • Contact an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer. A lawyer with experience in Nevada personal injury law can better handle the complicated process of filing a vehicle accident claim and will be able to defend your rights effectively.

Coping Strategies for Dealing With the Effects of Being in a Car Accident

Recovering from a car accident depends on the injuries and trauma you sustained, and the road to recovery is different for everyone. Here are some tips for coping with the mental repercussions of a car accident:

  • Give yourself time to heal and be patient. It takes time to recover from a car accident, both physically and mentally.
  • Talk to someone you trust. You can speak with a relative or a close friend or join a support group for people involved in a car accident. Talking about what happened can help you process it and heal.
  • Take care of yourself. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs can worsen the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
  • Consult with a licensed therapist or mental health professional. Therapy and counseling can help you learn to cope with the trauma and emotional distress associated with being in a car accident and avoid long-term psychological effects.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many people experience mental and emotional repercussions after a car accident. With time and help, you can heal and move on with your life.

How De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help

Since 2005, our team of skilled lawyers has assisted numerous clients in Nevada with various personal injury cases, including car accidents. De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers will vigorously advocate on your behalf and manage every phase of the auto accident claim process. You can trust that we’ll give you the best result possible, from negotiating with insurance companies and gathering the required evidence to representing you in court. Contact us online or call 702.803.3391 today for a free consultation.

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