Car accidents are frightening, traumatic events. Most people don’t wake up expecting to be in a car accident and have their lives upended. If you suffered physical injuries, you need to undergo a medical examination and pursue the course of treatment necessary to heal your body. However, it’s just as important to consider the implications and seek treatment for the emotional effects after a car accident.
Emotional Effects of a Car Accident
The emotional effects of a car accident can be wide-ranging. The symptoms and psychological impact can severely affect a victim’s life and may cause them difficulty in daily routines such as going to work or school, participating in activities with family and friends – even getting out of bed in the morning. Some individuals may be too fearful of another accident to get in the car, which can prevent them from attending necessary appointments for treatment and other obligations. The emotional effects of a car accident can be relatively short-lived but, for some, these feelings and daily interruptions can last for a long time.
Symptoms of emotional trauma after a car accident include:
- Mood swings
- Bouts of anger
- Feelings of humiliation
- Sleep issues and nightmares
- Lost appetite
- Loss of interest in usual activities
According to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study, more than 39% of car accident survivors develop mental trauma, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, the most common cause for PTSD in the United States, outside of military conflict, is a car accident.
PTSD can have substantial effects on a person’s life as symptoms often include:
- Recurring, intense, and involuntary memories of the accident
- Flashbacks that sometimes result in periods of “blackout”
- Terrifying nightmares
- Avoidance of anything that may remind them of the accident, including driving, riding in cars, or even being around a car
- Intense emotional or physical distress after encountering any reminder
- Depression and withdrawal from society
How to Cope with the Emotional Effects of a Car Accident
Seek Professional Help
If you are going through any type of emotional trauma, speak to a mental health professional regardless of what you believe to be the cause. This will mean that you are able to gain the appropriate treatment so that you can start to feel well again. When consulting with a mental health professional, they may diagnose you with a specific condition, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Continue with Recommended Treatment
In order to cope with a diagnosis like PTSD, a mental health professional or your doctor may recommend that you attend regular therapy for possibly a prolonged period of time. They may also recommend medication, alternative therapies or other solutions that can help to cope with the emotional effects of the accident.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
It’s possible to claim damages and seek financial compensation for the emotional trauma caused by a car accident. In order to claim damages for mental health issues as part of a car accident settlement, you should be able to show a causal link between the occurrence of the car accident and your mental health issues. An experienced car accident attorney, like Brandon J. Broderick, understands that these injuries can be just as devastating as physical ones. You deserve to be compensated for mental anguish just as much as your physical injuries.
Compensation for the Emotional Effects of a Car Accident
In no-fault car insurance states like New Jersey and New York, your own PIP (personal injury protection) insurance will be the primary insurer in your claim. If your losses exceed your PIP coverage limits, you may then be able to file a claim against the other driver, assuming they were at-fault.
Compensation for emotional trauma and mental anguish in an injury claim falls under non-economic damages, which refer to intangible losses suffered by the injured victim. Non-economic damages don’t have a specific dollar figure attached to them, like medical bills or lost income. They are a form of compensation that accounts for an injured person’s pain, emotional distress, suffering and other similar issues related to an accident. Common kinds of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, impairment or disfigurement.
If you are diagnosed with a mental disorder, such as PTSD, you may also be eligible to file a claim to seek compensation for medical bills from therapy appointments, medications and other costs associated with treating the disorder.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Claim
If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you deserve to fully recover compensation for any physical, emotional effects, and mental injuries you suffered. At Brandon J. Broderick, with our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.