Assessing Psychiatric Trauma Following A Motor Vehicle Accident

This case study explores the role of forensic psychiatry in assessing post-accident psychological trauma, focusing on a 28-year-old individual who experienced severe mental health issues following a motor vehicle accident.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Truck on freeway in a cars blindspot

Case Overview

A 28-year-old individual involved in a serious motor vehicle accident with two semi-trucks is the subject of this case. The tragic MVA, led to significant physical injuries and severe psychological distress in the patient.

They reported experiencing severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and intense fear of driving post-accident. These mental health issues have impeded their employment opportunities. An attempt by a neuropsychologist to evaluate the individual’s condition 9 months post accident proved unsuccessful due to the patient’s traumatized state.

Consequently, a forensic psychiatrist was consulted to review the records and assess the individual’s injuries.

Questions to the Forensic Psychiatry expert and their responses


How often do you evaluate patients with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder following a motor vehicle accident?

In my over 30 years of practice as a general psychiatrist, I’ve evaluated numerous individuals who’ve experienced traumatic events such as car accidents, plane crashes, chemical plant explosions, assaults, and abuse. This includes both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as providing neuropsychiatric evaluations at renowned institutions such as the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation Research.


Generally, what information would you need to review to determine the cause of a patient's injuries and need for future treatment?

To accurately determine the cause of a patient’s injuries and their need for future treatment, it’s crucial to review all medical and psychiatric records from before and after the accident.

Academic performance records can also be insightful. Understanding an individual’s vocational history pre- and post-accident is critical too, along with any limitations claimed as a result of the accident or residual neurocognitive deficits.

Current and ongoing psychiatric or psychological assessment records are critical, including prescribed medications. It’s also essential to understand any history of substance use disorder.

About the expert

This expert is a seasoned professional in the field of psychiatry, boasting over 30 years of experience. They are board-certified in general psychiatry and have held prestigious positions such as the president of a state psychiatric society and chief medical officer at a behavioral healthcare hospital. Currently, they serve as a psychiatrist in private practice, leveraging their extensive knowledge and experience to provide comprehensive care for patients.

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