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Psychological Effects Following a Motorcycle Accident

You hit some gravel and put your bike down. A lady in a SUV pulled out of a parking lot without looking and knocked you off your bike. You were riding home on a dark night and hit a pothole . . .

The scenarios for biker accidents are endless. From the perspective of a personal injury lawyer, biker injuries are some of the worst. Bikers lack that nice steel shield that protects motorists from the worst of the impact in an accident. Fractured femurs, fractured pelvises and head injuries feature prominently.

The thing about injuries is that they are not always physical. In fact, the emotional or psychological scrapes can often be far more crippling than the broken bones. This is something important to bear in mind as you recover from an injury.

By reputation, bikers are tough. We are not talking about Vespas, mind you. We are talking about the steel horses that roar (or putter, sometimes) up the roadways. Not all bikers are off the cast of Sons of Anarchy, but it can fairly be said that most bikers don’t practice yoga.

With that said, the psychological component of injuries might take many bikers by surprise. For a breed that tends toward stoicism, it might be difficult to understand why persistent, chronic pain takes such a toll emotionally. The reality that the pain might be present – to some extent – on an ongoing basis, can be a bitter pill to swallow. When this is coupled with the reality that, after an accident, some hobbies can no longer be enjoyed, or not enjoyed like they once were, the outlook can feel downright bleak.

Beyond coping with pain, there can be more significant psychological effects after an accident, namely: nightmares, flashbacks, unexpected changes in mood, personality changes, depression and insomnia.

Some accidents are traumatizing and terrifying. Some bikers never ride again.So, what’s my point? My point is that there is help. There are very effective means of dealing with psychological injuries. To gain access to these tools, however, there must first be an awareness of what is going on. You must be able to identify that something is “off” and then look for help. You then have to be able to communicate that there is a problem. For some of a particular gender and certain vintage, this can be a major challenge (you know who you are). Talk to your spouse/significant other – make sure that someone knows what you are going through.

The first place to start would be with your family doctor; let him or her know how you are feeling. If you have a lawyer, tell your lawyer. Some counseling might be in order. There are “tough” counselors out there too; it’s not all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes medication might be warranted. Sometimes it might be as simple (and fun) as taking one of those high speed bike courses, in Vegas ideally, and getting back on the horse.

The point is that there may be a lot more to your injury than the physical pain.

Be aware of it. Get help. Get back on the road. Have fun.

Written by Allyson Edwards, Associate.

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