Auto Accident Testing
In the aftermath of an auto accident, you have a lot of things that need to be done immediately. You may need to fill out information for the police report, file paperwork with both insurance companies, and investigate the necessary repairs for your vehicle. In the flurry of paperwork and appointments, many people overlook one very serious task that should be on their to-do list – a psychological evaluation.
Why You Need a Psychological Evaluation After ANY Accident
No matter how intense the automobile accident was, you should always get a psychological evaluation completed shortly after the incident. Visible injuries are not always required in order for you to have lasting damage from an accident. Even if you believe that you are perfectly healthy, a psychological evaluation can rule out underlying issues that might stem directly from your accident.
One of the most important aspects of a psychological evaluation following a car accident is determining whether a brain injury exists. These often manifest without any clear visible symptoms that would be cause for concern. You may walk around with a brain injury for weeks without ever knowing that it exists or understanding its severity. However, this injury can easily show up on a thorough psychological evaluation with the proper battery of tests when it is conducted by a professional.
Instead of waiting to receive medical treatment, you can ensure that you get the best possible care as soon as your report comes back. This can prevent the injury from worsening or healing improperly. A psychological evaluation is a relatively simple testing procedure, but it can have a major impact on your overall health following a car accident.
You will also need a psychological evaluation if there are any type of legal proceedings going on in the aftermath. Reports from the psychologist that indicate brain damage demonstrate the severity of the accident and could make a big difference in the final outcome of your court case. Of course, you can also request for the other person to cover the cost of your medical bills to have the brain injury treated if you know about it before the legal proceedings are finished. It is best to ensure that you have all of the necessary information upfront before you head to court.
What Tests Will Be Performed?
Knowing what to expect from your psychological evaluation is a major part of ensuring that you are being tested properly. There are several different batteries that your psychologist may choose to use. Each one can assess your intelligence, attention and memory, emotional functioning, and motor skills during a thorough examination. Each of these pieces gives the psychologist another clue as to whether you may have hidden brain damage stemming from your car accident.
Many psychologists prefer to start with intelligence which can include testing your IQ and looking for impairments with your executive functioning. These are the skills that help you to get things accomplished on time and to pay attention when the situation calls for it. The majority of these skills are controlled by the frontal lobe of your brain, so any impairment with these skills would indicate that you may have some brain damage in this area.
Intelligence tests will also take a closer look at your cognitive functioning that includes your language skills, knowledge, and your ability to learn and retain new material. Similar to your executive functioning, many of the cognitive processing skills are controlled by the frontal lobe. Whether you see impairments with one or both of these skills, it could be a sign of brain damage in this one particular area of the brain.
Attention and Memory
Some tests will be completed in order to determine how your attention span has been impacted by the auto accident. Attention refers to your ability to concentrate and focus on a given task for a specified period of time. This skill is often tied into memory and the brain’s ability to encode new information during a set period of time. Issues with either of these two skills can mean brain damage to the parietal lobe or the hippocampus.
In the aftermath of a car accident, many people have extreme symptoms that can impede their daily functioning. They might relive the incident over and over again in their minds. Other individuals might present with severe characteristics of depression and anxiety as they start to heal from the event. While this doesn’t reveal brain damage, it could indicate another major issue that should be addressed after the accident.
Your brain is responsible for helping your body to walk, jump, and move around on a daily basis. If you find that you are having difficulty with tasks that were once easy for you, it could be a sign that some portion of your brain is damaged. A thorough psychological assessment will take you through some basic movements to test your gross motor skills and your fine motor skills. For example, you may be asked to work with a grooved pegboard to test your finger dexterity or to do several jumping jacks to evaluate your gross motor skills.
A psychologist may need to compare your current findings to reports from your physician to make sure that there is a substantial difference now compared to before the accident. If you are suddenly struggling with certain tasks, this is something to let your psychologist know during the testing phase.
In the aftermath of an auto accident, you might feel completely overwhelmed by all the things that you need to do. Don’t allow that long to-do list to get you sidetracked from the one thing that truly matters the most right now – your psychological assessment. You need to know whether you could have sustained lasting brain damage that has not yet manifested itself with symptoms so that you can get the help you need immediately. Be sure to schedule your assessment right away whenever you have had any type of car accident!
If you or your loved one is in need of psychological testing, we are here to help.
Please fill out the form below and click on submit. One of our licensed therapists will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss your unique case.