Mental and Emotional Trauma Suffered After a Car Accident
Car accidents are frightening and victims can relive that fright over and over again. The mental and emotional effects may hide for months or even years. Gradually, the aftermath of a car collision can make it hard for them to function within their family, make it difficult to effectively do their job and could simply make it difficult to face the day.
In legal terms, the mental and emotional trauma suffered after a car accident is referred to as “pain and suffering.” That is an extremely realistic description. Though not visible, this anguish and distress causes physical and emotional symptoms that can range from frustrating to debilitating.
Here is a look at what types of trauma occur after a car accident and how this can affect injury settlements.
What “Pain and Suffering” Looks Like
Distress and anxiety are common side effects of any type of car accident. Many drivers feel at least a momentary fear the first time they get behind the wheel after a collision.
Even if a person isn’t physically hurt, they are likely to feel some mental and emotional repercussions. Less severe reactions can include:
- Fear getting into a car
- Fear when hearing loud noises or sirens
- Bouts of crying for seemingly trivial reasons
- Loss of libido
- Gaining or losing weight
- No interest in food
- Less energy
- Mood swings
- Problems sleeping
For many people who have been in a car accident, these symptoms often go away over time. In a British study, most people recovered from phobias and anxiety within 3 to 12 months. With positive energy from friends and family, the accident becomes a distant memory and the effects lessen and eventually disappear.
Long-Term Mental and Emotional Trauma
Unfortunately for some people, the effects can linger and grow. In these cases, professional help is often needed. Psychological diagnoses for severe mental and emotional trauma include post-traumatic stress disorder, usually called PTSD; acute stress disorder, and major depressive disorder.
Those who suffer the worst physical injuries are not always the victims who suffer from the worst emotional trauma. People with minor physical injuries can experience major, long-term, emotional distress. And, they aren’t always the drivers. Passengers often suffer with serious emotional symptoms that linger for some time. The effects can have a major impact on day-to-day life choices. A person dealing with PTSD after an accident can become paralyzed with fear while simply driving on local streets. They often begin by avoiding the car and then eventually stop driving altogether.
It’s not uncommon for them to keep people at an emotional distance, which has a negative impact on family relationships and social life. They can become hyper-vigilant, even in normal, relaxed surroundings.
The solution is typically a combination of medical and psychological treatment, which is usually expensive and not always covered by regular medical insurance. Options can include medication, anxiety management, talk therapy and lifestyle changes.
Claims for Mental and Emotional Trauma
It takes more than just telling an insurer or jury that you suffer emotionally from a crash. They expect medical proof which means you need to substantiate the symptoms and their effect on your life, as well as the types of treatment you are receiving.
Getting treatment serves two purposes. Most importantly, you get relief as you take the medication prescribed, visit a mental health professional and follow the treatment plan they recommend. At the same time, you are establishing a record that documents your pain and suffering.
When you are traumatized, it can be overwhelming to think in terms of documenting your problems. It is difficult enough just getting to doctor appointments. That’s why many car accident victims work with an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer. They can help you keep track of the effects of the accident on your life and negotiate with insurers.
Work with Car Accident Attorneys
At Smith & McGhee, Attorneys-at-Law, we have years of experience helping people that are suffering from the after effects of a car accident. We don’t represent big companies. Our focus is on advocating for members of our community, for the victim.
Our experienced Alabama auto accident attorneys tailor our services to meet your specific needs and circumstances. With Smith & McGhee, it is never a one-size-fits-all solution. We treat each client as an individual.
We handle negotiations with your insurer and prepare for litigation if necessary. That allows you to focus on your recovery. We strive to get you the maximum amount in compensation, in the most efficient way possible.
Are you suffering from mental and emotional trauma after a car accident? Contact Smith & McGhee today at (334) 702-1744 or online to set up a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment.