Providing outstanding legal services for over 40 years


What Is The Definition Of A Psychological Injury?

What is the Definition of a Psychological Injury in the State of Florida?

We hear the term psychological injury quite often in the world of personal injury, but what does the term actually mean? When most people think of injuries, they tend to think only of the physical injuries that can be seen on an accident victim’s body or the internal injuries that are found using medical scanning. But not all injuries are physical, psychological injuries are common results of an accident as well. A psychological injury is the unseen mental aftermath of an accident or other traumatic event. 

After a traumatic event, a psychological or psychiatric condition may be an end result. These conditions can be severe and traumatizing on their own and also could be so severe that they could change the behaviors of the victim. The behavioral changes caused by a psychological injury could impact not only the victim’s personal life but their working life as well. In this week’s blog, we will go over the types of events that could cause a psychological injury, what the different types of psychological injuries are, and the symptoms of these injuries.

What Psychological Injuries Are and How They Can Occur

A psychological injury is a mental condition that is associated with a traumatic event or injury. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event is the most common way in which a psychological injury could occur. Different types of trauma that could result in psychological injuries can include but are not limited to:

  • Violent crimes 
  • Sexual or physical abuse during adolescence
  • Witnessing or experiencing a motor vehicle accident
  • Abrupt loss of a loved one
  • Mistreatment of an elderly patient in a nursing home
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products 
  • Medical malpractice

The above incidents and others are the leading causes of psychological injuries. There are different types of psychological injuries that can be sustained as a result of a traumatic event. These could come as physical injuries to the brain itself or a type of mental illness.

The Different Types of Psychological Injuries

As mentioned above, injuries are not only physical. The mental effects of an accident or other event can be excruciating to those who experienced or witnessed the incident. Experiencing or witnessing traumatic events can cause a victim to suffer different physical and  psychological conditions, such as:

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- A mental condition that is triggered by a traumatic event.
  • Chronic Pain- Persistent pain that can carry on for longer than 12 weeks.
  • Mild traumatic Brain Injury (Concussion)- A type of injury to the brain usually caused by a jolt or sudden blow to the head by an external force.
  • A Disorder That Affects Mood Or Emotions- These can include any disorders such as anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, or a phobia.

Psychological Injury Signs and Symptoms 

Traumatic events are terrifying to experience as a victim and can be even more traumatizing as a witness. To have to live with the trauma after the event can be extremely difficult and troublesome. As with any physical injury, psychological injuries have symptoms. These warning signs can help one detect if a victim may be suffering from a psychological injury shortly following an incident. Some warning signs of a psychological injury to look out for if you or someone that you love has been the victim or have witnessed a traumatic event can include:

  • Anger
  • Loss of control
  • Fear
  • Dreams or memories of the event
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia, difficulty staying awake, nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Avoidance of things that may trigger a memory of the event
  • Confusion
  • Withdrawal or isolation from previously enjoyed activities
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Easily startled
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Detachment from surroundings
  • Guilt or shame, also known as survivor’s guilt

If you or a loved one have experienced at least one or more of these symptoms after witnessing or experiencing an accident or other traumatic event, it is advised to seek mental health treatment right away. Another thing to do is to seek the help of a personal injury attorney to determine if you have a case.

Dealing With The Trauma Through Treatment

What Is The Definition Of A Psychological Injury?Most of the time after a traumatic event, victims and witnesses need more than just physical care from doctors. Mental health conditions such as PTSD or other mood-altering conditions need further treatment from a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Some of the treatments that these professionals offer can include talking with a counselor, taking trips to face the trauma, or small writing assignments.  

Medications may be prescribed to the victims to help them achieve a sense of calm and rest, both necessary for recovery. Anxiety and depression symptoms can be closely associated with symptoms of psychological injury, therefore the medications can be used to help the victims the same way. 

It is extremely important for a victim or witness of a traumatic event to seek the help of a mental health professional as soon as possible. Failure to seek mental health treatment after a traumatic event can lead to destructive behaviors including alcohol or drug abuse, physical self-harm, and the inability to make healthy lifestyle choices or occupational choices. Going a long time without treatment can also lead to suicidal thoughts and other symptoms of clinical depression.

Talking With a Personal Injury Attorney In Florida

At Sheftall Law, our personal injury attorneys understand how stressful and scary it is being involved in any personal injury accident. The psychological injuries that can come with these accidents can bring on behavioral and other mental changes to the victim. You don’t have to go through this mental anguish alone. With decades of combined experience, you can count on our Florida personal injury attorneys to take care of your needs and rights in these trying times and we will stand by your side until you receive the compensation you deserve.  If you or a loved one has been injured in or has witnessed a personal injury accident in Florida, please contact a personal injury attorney at Sheftall Law at (904) 569-6025 today to explore the legal options that are available to you.