Mental & Emotional Suffering After a Car Accident

Published on: 08/20/21 — In 

Following a motor vehicle accident, you're probably focused on your bodily injuries. If you suffered physical injuries, you need to undergo a medical examination and pursue the course of medical care necessary to heal your injuries. If you then file a personal injury claim against the liable party, you can show your medical records and medical bills to prove the financial damages you deserve for these personal injuries.

Car accident attorney Chris Ktenas

Many auto accident victims pay less attention to the impact of the accident on their mental and emotional health. There is little attention paid to motor vehicle accident victims who are emotionally or mentally injured because of the trauma of the crash itself or the struggle they face in dealing with their bodily injuries. An experienced automobile accident attorney understands that emotional and mental anguish can be as devastating as physical injuries. At Ktenas Injury Lawyers, we believe every car accident victim deserves to recover from all the injuries they sustained in a car crash, including emotional injuries.

How a Car Accident Can Affect Your Mental Health

Being traumatized from an auto accident is a serious issue that causes the injured person extreme interruption in their daily life. Some auto accident victims are diagnosed with a mental condition that developed because of the crash. The most common mental condition after a motor vehicle crash is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While PTSD is often linked with soldiers returning from war, the mental condition can develop after any form of traumatizing event. Motor vehicle crashes, especially violent ones, are traumatizing for accident victims and can trigger PTSD.

Suffering After a Car Accident

Research shows that nearly 9% of motor vehicle accident survivors later suffer from PTSD because of the traumatic incident. Further, many of those who suffer from PTSD often have an intense fear of driving and/or a related anxiety disorder.

PTSD can have significant negative effects on one's life and symptoms often include:

  • Intense, recurring, and involuntary memories of the traumatic event,
  • Flashbacks that may cause periods of “blackout”
  • Self-harm,
  • Avoidance of things that may remind the victim of the traumatic accident, including riding in cars, driving, or even being around a motor vehicle,
  • Intense mental trauma or emotional distress after encountering any reminder, 
  • Withdrawal from society and depression, and
  • Terrifying nightmares. 

To cope with PTSD, a crash victim often needs regular therapy for a prolonged period. Also, they may need medications and other aids to help move forward with their life. The costs of this medical treatment for mental conditions can be more costly than the treatment for physical injuries.

Can I Recover Financial Compensation For Mental or Emotional Suffering?

Under Illinois law, psychological injury is classified as pain and suffering and you can receive compensation for these injuries, too. The pain caused by emotional distress is just as real as the pain caused by physical injury and often, it may take a long time to heal. Car accident victims will often try to recover monetary compensation directly through their insurance or the responsible party’s insurance. However, they might not consider mental or emotional suffering when discussing a financial settlement, or the insurance company may deny them compensation for psychological injuries.

An experienced personal injury attorney can gauge the severity of your psychological trauma and the time and medical treatment needed for a full recovery. These elements can be factored into your financial settlement. To receive the maximum compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, you must prove that the auto collision negatively affected your mental and emotional health. Proof may include evidence of regular therapy visits, eyewitness accounts of your abnormal behavior after the accident, or accounts of how can no longer perform daily tasks because of mental duress. Your car accident attorney can collect evidence and put together a solid case to earn you fair compensation for your suffering.

It's essential to note that isn’t easy to “prove” an injured person is suffering from emotional distress. The amount of financial compensation you'll receive largely depends on how effectively you can prove the extent of your mental and emotional trauma. You must have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side fighting to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

How Do You Mentally Recover From an Auto Collision?

After a car accident, you may experience driving phobias, which may cause you to have trouble getting to work, transporting your kids to school, or otherwise completing daily tasks that many people take for granted. You may experience symptoms of anxiety when passing the scene of the accident, experiencing similar conditions while in a motor vehicle, or when triggered by anything that may remind you of the crash.

An image of a car after a severe accident

These traumas from an auto crash might be unexpected and devastating, but there are things you do to ease some of these symptoms:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about how you're feeling with friends, family, and especially your doctor. There are very effective medical treatments for these types of mental and emotional distress and you shouldn't shy away from them because of fear of stigma.
  • If possible, stay engaged in your daily routine and life. Anxiety and depression can quickly take hold of a person's life. However, staying active in your life, daily tasks and exercise routines can make a real difference. Take part in activities that don’t affect any physical and emotional injuries you sustained during the accident. 
  • Follow up with your doctor. Your doctor can give you referrals to other medical care providers if necessary. He or she can monitor your recovery and prescribe any medication you might need. Also, your doctor can refer you to a therapist or mental health specialist to help you work through your feelings.
  • Try to get back to daily routines and activities. Motor vehicle collisions make some victims limit what they do. It’s essential to get back to your normal routine, if possible. Even if you’re scared or uncomfortable at first, it’s part of the healing process.
  • Be a defensive driver. Riding in cars or driving may be difficult after a traumatic accident. However, you can always lower your risk of future motor vehicle accidents or injuries by practicing defensive driving. Always wear your seat belt, drive carefully, and avoid distractions while driving. Distractions while driving may include texting, eating, or talking on the phone. Further, avoid driving when you’re fatigued. Never drive if you have taken alcohol, drugs, or medicines that may affect your judgment.

Contact Our Experienced Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Today for a Free Initial Consultation.

If you have been the victim of an auto crash, you deserve to recover fully from any physical injuries, mental trauma, or emotional distress you suffered. Proving mental anguish and emotional distress is often more challenging than proving bodily injuries. However, an experienced auto accident lawyer at Ktenas Injury Lawyers can help collect and present evidence of the injuries you sustained in a car accident so that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our Chicago personal injury law firm today at (312) 300-2515, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.