People often think about the physical damage caused by a car accident. Without a doubt, your car may be seriously damaged, or you may experience physical injuries. However, a collision can cause just as much, if not more, damage to your psyche as it causes to your body.
You deserve compensation for the mental trauma caused by an auto accident. In this article, the Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., describes 5 common types of mental trauma after a car accident and what compensation you can seek against an at-fault driver for causing your trauma. When you are ready to submit an accident claim to the insurance company or in court, you should contact our office. We have been in practice for 47 years and know how to fight for everything our clients need in personal injury cases.
Common Kinds of Accident-Related Mental Trauma
Car accidents can be horrifying. Naturally, this can affect your mental health. Mental trauma is extremely common after any significant event. The nature of an accident and the pain associated with post-accident physical injuries and financial losses can significantly affect your psychological well-being.
The 5 common types of mental trauma after a car accident include the following:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),
- Sleep disturbance,
- Anxiety, and
- Memory loss.
Promptly seeking medical attention after a car crash is vital to diagnosing, treating, and addressing these matters. You should specifically seek a mental health professional if you’re experiencing one of these traumas.
Symptoms of Mental Trauma After a Car Accident
Sometimes, determining whether you are suffering the effects of mental trauma is difficult. Symptoms of mental trauma after a car accident can include the following:
- Fear of driving,
- Muscle tension,
- A desire to isolate from others,
- Panic attacks,
- Mood swings,
- Mysterious pains and aches,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Changed eating habits,
- Sexual dysfunction,
- Flashbacks of the accident,
- Fear of driving,
- Emotional numbness,
- Irritability, and
This list is not exhaustive. You may suffer from other symptoms as well.
The above list of symptoms can be helpful when identifying any post-crash health concerns. However, reviewing a checklist of symptoms on your own is not sufficient to assess and address your trauma. You should speak to a healthcare professional.
Damages You Can Recover for Mental Trauma Caused by a Car Crash
There are several categories of compensation an accident injury victim can recover for the mental trauma they have suffered after a collision. Below we discuss the two most common categories of compensation in a car accident claim.
Economic damages cover your financial losses. Economic damages can cover your expenses for mental healthcare, lost wages for the work you miss because of your trauma, and any diminished earning capacity because of a lasting mental impairment.
Non-economic damages compensate you for your pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering can include emotional distress, physical pain (which can increase with mental trauma), and changes in the quality of your life.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages. Because they are very personal and subjective, non-economic damages can be challenging to translate into a dollar amount. They may, however, end up comprising the largest portion of your jury award or settlement amount. This is because the law recognizes that the mental impact of a tragic event such as an accident is significant and can last far longer than a physical injury.
To help ensure you receive every type of relief you are owed, speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your case. An experienced lawyer can maximize your economic and non-economic damages.
Proving Mental Trauma After a Car Accident
Mental trauma can be hard to perceive compared to broken bones and lacerations. But there are multiple ways to prove your mental trauma, and you might need to utilize all of them. Proof of mental trauma can include the following:
- Mental healthcare records;
- Your testimony about your symptoms;
- Evaluations from work that show a change in your performance or disposition;
- Testimony from mental health professionals;
- Employment records;
- Other medical records (some mental trauma can show up in physical symptoms that other healthcare professionals notice);
- School records; and
- Testimony from your friends and family who have noticed a change in your behavior.
You should speak with your attorney about the types of evidence you’ll need in your case.
A skilled lawyer can compile the right kinds of evidence to prove to a judge, jury, or insurance company that you deserve compensation for your mental trauma.
The Statute of Limitations for Recovering Damages After a Car Accident
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in a car accident case is two years. If you miss this deadline for filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you may never be able to get compensation and legal relief for the emotional trauma caused by a crash.
While you should act quickly to assert and protect your legal rights, you do not want to submit your claim before you thoroughly understand your financial and medical needs. Your lawyer can properly time the filing of your case to help make sure that your needs have been appropriately evaluated and your legal interests are safe.
We Are Ready and Able to Help
Resuming your life after enduring the trauma of a car accident can be incredibly painful and challenging, and hiring an experienced attorney with a caring touch can be essential to making it through a car accident lawsuit or claim. At the Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., our team is ready to take care of all of your post-accident needs so that you can focus on healing from your trauma.
Our attorney, Carlton F. Bennett, is a strong and effective advocate for accident victims in Virginia. He is unafraid to aggressively fight for personal injury victims. Mr. Bennett is also a record-setting attorney. He won the largest jury verdict ($10.2 million) in Norfolk, Virginia, and he has recovered millions on behalf of his clients. Not only does Mr. Bennett get significant results for his clients, but he also leads with compassion for what his clients have been through. If you need legal guidance, you can contact us online or call us to schedule a free consultation.