emotional trauma after an accident

Being in a motor vehicle accident is a frightening and traumatic experience. It’s common and normal to have troubling psychological reactions after being in an accident. However, if your emotional symptoms significantly interfere with your work, relationships, or ability to handle your day-to-day life, you should seek professional help. Obtaining psychological treatment as soon as possible will help keep your symptoms from getting worse and allow you to begin to heal emotionally. 

Types of Emotional Trauma Following Car Accidents

Car accidents are the most common cause of trauma for men and the second-most common cause for women – and the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overall for the non-military population.

Stress reactions show up in many ways because individuals process trauma differently. Some of the common symptoms of emotional trauma after an accident include:

  • Being depressed
  • Having nightmares
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Having unwanted memories of the crash
  • Experiencing fear, anxiety, and/or panic attacks
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Starting or increasing substance abuse
  • Being afraid to drive or be in a vehicle
  • Stress-related physical illnesses

According to the Mayo Clinic, you could have a severe stress reaction to a crash even if your physical injuries are relatively mild. If you’ve been in an accident, pay attention to how you’re feeling and whether your emotional reactions are different from what was normal for you before the accident.

The Role That Emotional Distress Plays in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you are injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. The compensation covers three aspects of the expenses and losses that you may experience after the accident:

  1. Medical expenses
  2. Lost income
  3. Non-economic damages

That last category, non-economic damages, is for the effects of the accident that do not have a specific price tag attached. The suffering you experience because of your emotional trauma – often called “emotional distress” in legal proceedings – is an important part of your non-economic damages. 

Emotional trauma may also contribute to the amount you receive as compensation for medical expenses if you have been receiving therapy or other treatment from a professional for your psychological condition. In addition, if the trauma has prevented you from working or from earning as much as you did before the accident, that can contribute to your recovery for lost income.

The amount of compensation you may receive for your emotional trauma will depend on: 

  • The extent of the pain that your trauma causes
  • How likely you are to recover from your trauma
  • How much the trauma has affected your ability to work
  • The cost of the psychological treatment you received and are expected to need in the future 
  • The skill your lawyer has in building a convincing case showing the extent and effects of your trauma

Emotional trauma after an accident often occurs because of the shock and stress of the accident itself. However, some accident victims also experience emotional distress because of the physical injuries they sustained in the accident. For example, people whose injuries cause disabilities or disfigurements may have difficulty coping emotionally with the changes in their lives. Family members may also feel emotional distress because of the suffering of their loved ones. You can seek compensation for all these types of emotional trauma in a personal injury lawsuit against the party whose negligence caused the accident.

Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Garmey Law

The experienced, skillful, and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Garmey Law are dedicated to helping accident victims like you. We want to help you get the life-changing compensation you need. Call us at (207) 481-4683, or contact us via our website for a free consultation.