The lawyers at our law firm have handled many train wrecks, derailments and other accidents in the past including the MARC train that collided with an Amtrak passenger train in Silver Spring, Maryland in the late 90’s. Numerous people hurt in that disaster suffered psychological and emotional injuries including conditions like post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the near death experience of being on a train going at a relatively high speed like 40 or 50 miles per hour and plowing straight into another train. Post traumatic stress disorder is common when you have a situation where the person fears for their own life or sees other people in a situation where they are killed or may have died. The main symptoms are chronic or permanent intrusive thoughts like nightmares and flashbacks of the incident. The scene of the D.C. Metrorail catastrophe was horrific for anyone who was there. The jaws of life had to be used to pull trapped people out of the mangled wreckage, people had to see others flying through the air and thrown about the passenger compartment as chairs came out of walls and the railroad cars were essentially torn apart. Even if a person was lucky enough not to be among the most seriously injured who had to go to the hospital, they may still suffer from this kind of psychological damage just seeing the horror of the collision and the rescue operations. It’s hard to imagine, unless you have been in something like this, and to put yourself in the shoes of the innocent riders who are headed home during rush hour one moment and in the middle of this terrible scene like a disaster movie with people crying, injured, and dead all around.
Normally it takes 6 months of persistent symptoms to properly diagnose post traumatic stress disorder. So it won’t be clear immediately whether you or a loved one who was on that D.C. Metro train has this condition or will have to live with the consequences permanently. However, I would suggest going and seeing some kind of psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker or other medical professional to get checked out if you are concerned about your psychological state. People often forget that broken bones heal over time and sometimes the walking wounded with primarily the emotional scars of a train wreck may have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal My injury lawfirm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.