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). Following a car accident, if you suffered physical injuries, you need to undergo a medical examination and pursue the course of treatment necessary to heal your body. It's just as important to seek treatment for mental trauma after a car accident. If you then file a legal claim against the responsible party, you can show your medical records and bills to prove the damages you deserve for these injuries.
Emotional Distress after Car Accident
Emotional distress is used to refer to the upset that an accident victim experiences though they may not have an official medical diagnosis for their feelings. Emotional distress after a car crash can result in symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Bouts of anger
- Feelings of humiliation
- Sleep issues and nightmares
- Lost appetite
- Loss of interest in usual activities
These symptoms and feelings can severely impact a victim’s life and may cause them difficulty in daily routines such as going to work, attending school, or 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. Emotional distress can be relatively short-lived but, for some, these feelings and daily interruptions can persist for some time.
Mental Trauma After a Car Accident
Some car accident victims may be diagnosed with a mental condition that developed because of the incident. The most common mental condition after an auto accident is post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. Though PTSD is most often associated with soldiers returning from combat, the condition can develop after any type of traumatizing event. Car accidents, especially extremely violent ones, can certainly be traumatizing for victims and can trigger PTSD. In addition, many of those with PTSD also simultaneously have an intense fear of driving and/or a related anxiety disorder.
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
What to Do About Mental Trauma After a Car Accident
Have your symptoms diagnosed
First, seek professional help. If you are going through any type of mental struggle, speak to a medical 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).
Understand your prognosis
In order to cope with a diagnosis like PTSD, an accident victim often requires regular therapy for possibly a prolonged period of time. They also may require medications and other aids to help them return to daily life. The costs of this treatment for mental conditions can be just as expensive, if not more so, than the treatment for their physical injuries.Having an estimated prognosis can help you to predict the extent to which your condition will affect you in the future. This can help you to maximize the damages that you may be able to settle.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
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.
If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you deserve to fully recover damages for any physical, emotional, 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.