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The Physical and Emotional Toll of a Car Accident: Understanding the Health Effects

It’s no secret that car accidents can be challenging for your physical and mental health. In fact, data from Forbes says there were 35,766 fatal car accidents on the US roads. Another report shows that 14,000 people were injured in crashes in 2021 in St. Louis alone. And while many people associate car accidents with physical injuries, the reality is that they can also take a toll on your emotional and spiritual well-being.

This article will explore how car accidents impact your health and ability to function in society and how you can get back on track after an accident.

How to Navigate a Car Accident

The first and most important thing you can do after a car accident is call 911. You may not think it’s necessary, but if someone else was injured in the crash or your vehicle is blocking traffic, it’s best to have emergency services on their way as soon as possible.

If you don’t need medical attention right away, call your insurance company and let them know what happened so they can help with any claims later. Car insurance is vital because you might have to cover the damages from your pocket if you don’t have one. 

However, don’t worry. Getting car insurance won’t cost you huge. According to Statista, the average cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds in the US is approximately $5,000.

You should also call a friend or family member who can stay with you until everything has been sorted out. This doesn’t just mean getting legal help. It also means ensuring everyone involved feels safe and supported during this difficult time.

Lastly, if someone else’s fault caused the accident, you would also want to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against the person at fault. Consider this example of St.Louis County, where two pedestrians were struck by a pickup truck. In such a case, you must hire a St. Louis truck accident lawyer.

You might think that any vehicle accident lawyer will do that, but hiring someone experienced in truck accidents is best. This is because truck accidents usually involve multiple vehicles, as pointed out by TorHoerman Law, a law firm headquartered in Illinois.

You can consider this example where 3 officers were injured in a multi-vehicle car accident involving police cars and a semi-truck near the Missouri and Oklahoma interstate highway I-44. The firm writes on its website that an experienced lawyer will be in a good position to help you navigate the legal process.

The Physical Impact of Car Accidents

The physical impact of a car accident can be devastating. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may experience pain and discomfort for days or weeks after being involved in a collision. In some cases, these symptoms can last years or even become permanent.

Car accidents can also be fatal, with heavy blood loss or severe injuries. In fact, recent reports show that the death toll by motor vehicle accidents increased by 11% in 2021.

Broken Bones

When you’re in a car accident, it’s not uncommon for broken bones to occur. Broken bones can happen anywhere in the body, most likely in the arms, legs, and spine.

Physical pain is one of the most obvious impacts of car accidents on health. The pain of broken bones can be severe enough that you need medical attention or surgery, and even after treatment has been completed, long-term side effects such as chronic back pain may still linger. In addition to physical discomfort caused by broken bones, there are other potential consequences of this kind of injury.

Pain medications like opioids could become necessary if you experience persistent discomfort after an accident. However, these drugs carry risks such as addiction or overdose death when used improperly or excessively.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are severe and can cause paralysis, pain, muscle spasms, and numbness. A person who has suffered a spinal cord injury may also experience difficulty breathing or have problems with bladder control. For example:

  • Paraplegia is a type of paralysis that affects the lower body; it can be partial or complete depending on how much damage has occurred to the spinal cord. People with paraplegia typically have some movement in their upper body but not enough strength to walk without assistance from a walker or wheelchair.
  • Quadriplegia refers to the complete loss of motor function below the neck. This includes both arms as well as legs. People with quadriplegia usually require constant medical care because they need help breathing and swallowing food due to a lack of muscle control.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious health impact that can affect your physical and emotional well-being. A TBI can cause short-term and long-term health problems.

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s essential to talk with your doctor about managing these symptoms so they don’t worsen over time. It’s also important to understand what treatment options are available for patients with TBIs so that you can make informed decisions about how best to care for yourself after an accident.

Emotional Health Impacts of Car Accidents

Besides the physical health impacts, car accidents can also lead to emotional stress.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an emotional health impact of car accidents. PTSD can occur after a traumatic event, such as a car accident or witnessing one. It’s a mental health condition that affects people who have experienced or witnessed serious events that involve physical harm or death to themselves or others around them.

PTSD is considered normal and healthy when short-term and goes away within six months of the traumatic event. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms longer than six months following your accident, it could be PTSD instead of normal post-traumatic stress responses like anxiety or depression.

Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are common emotional health impacts of car accidents. A recent study published in the Frontiers Journal shows that anxiety symptoms are consistent in victims of car accidents.

Depression, described as a sense of hopelessness or sadness that lasts for weeks or months, can be treated with medication and therapy. Anxiety, characterized by feelings of panic or fear that arise suddenly and without cause, may require different types of treatment depending on the severity of your symptoms.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and experience these emotions after it’s over, it’s essential to seek help from your doctor or therapist so that they don’t become debilitating over time.


Everyone should be aware of the physical and emotional toll of car accidents. While you need to know about the different ways that these injuries can impact your health, it’s also essential for doctors and other medical professionals to understand this information so they can help patients recover from their injuries more effectively.

By learning about how car accidents affect each individual differently, we hope that more people will be able to heal after suffering a crash and feel better than ever before.

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