Whether in the form of physical injuries, mental distress or emotional difficulties, trauma after a car accident can leave a lasting impression and long-term effects.
We’ll explain the types of trauma from a car accident, share the symptoms of psychological and emotional trauma and provide resources to help you start on a path to recovery.
We’ll also share legal advice from our personal injury lawyers at Spar & Bernstein, who can help you fight for maximum compensation after a car accident.
Types Of Trauma From A Car Accident
There are several types of trauma you can experience after a car accident.
1. Physical Trauma
Depending on the severity of the injury, physical trauma may require medical treatment, surgery, hospitalization or subsequent rehabilitation — all of which can be costly.
Mental anguish, or psychological distress, includes mental, psychological or psychiatric injuries. These injuries are commonly characterized by depression, anxiety and the inability to handle ordinary life situations.
Mental anguish can also lead to physical symptoms, such as high blood pressure, chest pains, headaches or muscle aches.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, mental distress may lead to behavior changes and communication problems.
3. Emotional Distress
Emotional distress after a car accident is an emotional response characterized by anger bursts, crying, fatigue, hopelessness and loss of interest in daily activities, along with physical symptoms, such as stomach aches or headaches.
If unmanaged, emotional distress can cause memory and concentration impairment, along with serious physical symptoms.
If you were involved in a serious car accident, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition characterized by nightmares and flashbacks, fear, estrangement or helplessness.
Without treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder can lead to problems with managing aggression, metabolic issues, substance abuse and increased suicide ideation.
Adjustment disorder after a car accident is an excessive reaction to stress characterized by agitation, trouble concentrating, alcohol or drug abuse or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
If unrecognized and left untreated, adjustment disorder can have serious negative effects on your long-term wellbeing.
Symptoms Of Psychological & Emotional Trauma After An Accident
It may be challenging to identify whether your mental and emotional state were affected by the car accident you were involved in.
Talking to a specialist can help you identify and understand your trauma, so you start on a path to recovery.
Common symptoms of psychological or emotional trauma include:
- Lower energy levels
- Memory loss of the moments leading up to the car accident
- Memory loss of the events following the accident
- Sleep disorders
- Weight fluctuations
- Lack of emotional response
- Increased hostility
- Feeling of loss or uncertainty
- Drowsiness and constant fatigue
- Recurring nightmares about the accident
- Flashbacks/reliving the accident
- Loss of hope for the future
- Inability to make decisions or solve problems
- Trouble focusing and paying attention
- Trouble communicating
- Mood shifts
- Trying not to talk and think about the accident
- Avoiding driving or riding in a vehicle
- Avoiding activities you enjoyed in the past
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
If you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms after being involved in a car accident, you may be experiencing psychological trauma.
You should immediately contact a licensed and registered mental health counselor in your area or on televideo.
If you want to seek compensation for your condition, contact our experienced attorneys at Spar & Bernstein.We will review the details of your accident, work with medical professionals to evaluate your condition and determine the steps we need to take to help you get compensation for your suffering.
How To Deal With Psychological & Emotional Trauma After An Accident
When left unrecognized, undiagnosed and untreated, psychological trauma after a car accident can completely disrupt your day-to-day life.
To support your psychological recovery:
- Get enough sleep
- Keep a well-balanced diet
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Acknowledge your feelings and accept that your condition is understandable, considering the traumatic event you have been through
- Talk about your psychological state with your family members or friends, but do not talk about the details of the incident with anyone other than your lawyer.
- Share your feelings with your doctor and follow their recommendations about medication, therapists or mental health specialists that can help your healing process
- Find a support group where you can share your thoughts and feelings with people who have been through similar accidents
- Avoid reading or watching news about car accidents
- Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to find alternative ways for reshaping your negative thoughts and coping with emotional distress
- Seek legal help — fighting for compensation for your suffering may help your healing process
Seeking Compensation For Mental and Emotional Suffering
In no-fault states, such as New York, the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident will cover up to $50,000 of economic damages, regardless of who was responsible for the car accident.
This amount is meant to cover medical costs, lost wages and other physical trauma-related expenses, such as traveling for doctor appointments and household help.
To pursue compensation for non-economic damages, such as mental and emotional suffering, and additional economic damages not covered by no-fault insurance, you must file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit.
The amount you seek can include expenses for counseling and mental health treatment, along with the pain and suffering brought on by psychological shock after the car accident.
You can file a claim or a lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or with any party that is liable for the car accident, such as vehicle manufacturers or government agencies.
Keep in mind that proving the psychological effects of a car accident can be difficult — solid evidence is needed to support your claim. That’s where our team comes in.
Our experienced motor vehicle lawyers at the Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein will handle your case with both professionalism and compassion.
To find out more about the types of damages you can claim in a personal injury case, check out our recent blog on the topic.
How Spar & Bernstein Can Help You Seek Compensation After A Car Accident
We work with clients who have suffered physical and psychological trauma as a result of motor vehicle accidents, bus accidents, hit and run accidents, drunk driver accidents, Uber accidents and pedestrian accidents.
If you believe your psychological or emotional state has been affected by a car accident, we will:
- Provide a free consultation so you meet our team and share your story
- Review your car accident case
- Talk to experts to determine how the car accident impacted your mental health
- Collect evidence from your medical provider, therapist, employer or other witnesses explaining your condition, behavior or absences from work
- File a personal injury claim or lawsuit within the legal deadlines
- Communicate with insurance companies and courts on your behalf
- Fight for a fair settlement for your psychological and emotional trauma
- Take your case to court, if an out-of-court settlement is not reached
- Deduct our fees if and when we successfully resolve your case
Trauma From A Car Accident: Key Takeaways
Both physical and psychological trauma after a car accident can have long-lasting effects that impact every part of your life.
Unlike physical injuries that may be easier to diagnose and treat, emotional trauma can often cause scars that take more time to heal.
The main types of emotional trauma include:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Adjustment disorder
If you were involved in a car accident and subsequently treated for emotional or psychological trauma by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, you may be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages.
If you experienced any type of trauma from a car accident, contact our experienced and compassionate attorneys at Spar & Bernstein.
Our team will review the details of your accident, speak with medical professionals and determine your options for seeking compensation.
With over 50 years of experience in personal injury law, our team has hundreds of success stories. Contact us to set up a free consultation and meet our team of tenacious attorneys.
Disclaimer: attorney advertisement. prior successful results do not guarantee a similar outcome
Bradford H. Bernstein
This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.View Brad's Bio