Most individuals focus on their physical injuries after a car accident. They may need to undergo diagnostic testing, surgery, and physical therapy to heal from their accident injuries. The recovery process could take weeks or months. 

However, many accident victims fail to consider their mental and emotional health after such a traumatic event. Accident victims may sustain extreme emotional distress after a car accident. The trauma can result in feeling paranoid and anxious each time they ride in a vehicle. 

What Is Emotional Distress Following a Car Accident?

It is understandable to feel anxious and paranoid after a car accident. Many accident victims struggle with emotional distress. The symptoms of emotional distress can last for a few days or weeks after the accident. Some individuals may experience symptoms for several months or longer.

Emotions that are common after car accidents include shock, anger, guilt, denial, anxiety, fear, and irritability. 

Common symptoms of emotional distress may include:

  • Experience anxiety
  • Crying
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping problems, including night terrors or nightmares
  • Intense feelings of anguish
  • Bouts of anger and frustration
  • Withdrawal
  • Reduced energy
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
  • Lack of focus
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Flashbacks of the car wreck
  • Mood swings
  • Easily startled

Some accident victims may develop diagnosable mental health issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), depression, and severe anxiety disorders.

Emotional distress symptoms can cause many problems. A person may be unable to work or care for family members because of the debilitating effects. A mental health disorder could impair a person’s ability to work or go to school. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact a mental health specialist for professional treatment.

What Is a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis After a Car Accident?

PTSD after a car accident is a serious mental health condition that significantly impacts a person’s life. It develops following the trauma of a car accident and is characterized by symptoms such as avoidance behaviors, emotional changes, intrusive memories, and changes in thinking and mood. Car accident victims with PTSD may experience intense anxiety, irritability, nervousness, nightmares, numbness, flashbacks of the event, and a heightened fear response to reminders of the car crash, such as the sound of screeching brakes or seeing a car similar to the one involved in the accident. This condition can disrupt daily life, making activities like driving or riding in a car extremely distressing.

A Hasner Law attorney can help victims understand their rights and the potential for recovering compensation for their physical and emotional injuries. This includes navigating insurance claims and potentially seeking legal action against those responsible for the accident.

Furthermore, we can assist in quantifying the damages, including medical expenses for both physical and psychological treatment. This is crucial because treatments for PTSD may involve counseling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or medication, and these costs can add up quickly.

When Should You Seek Help for Emotional Damages After a Car Accident?

It is essential to seek help as soon as you notice the signs of emotional distress. Counseling and therapy can help you recover from the emotional damages caused by a car accident. It could take several months or even years to overcome the fears, anxiety, and emotional trauma caused by a car crash.

It is also important to recognize that children can suffer from emotional distress and mental trauma after a traffic accident. Studies have found that one-third of children involved in traffic accidents experience symptoms of mental trauma. The symptoms can last for many months or up to a year or more after the accident. 

Make sure that you give yourself time to heal from your physical and emotional injuries after a car accident. Do not rush your recovery. If you are concerned about symptoms of emotional distress, talk with your doctor immediately. 

Symptoms of emotional distress that do not ease within three months after the accident could be a signal that you may have developed a mental health disorder. It could also indicate the need for professional treatment to overcome the emotional consequences of a car crash. 

Seeking Compensation for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident

Your emotional damages are real and can be as debilitating as a physical injury. You can and should be compensated for the mental anguish and emotional distress you experience after a motor vehicle accident. 

Compensation for damages may include the cost of mental health treatment and counseling. You may also receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by emotional distress. 

Placing a value on your emotional damages can be challenging. These types of damages are subjective, meaning they are diagnosed based on your reported symptoms. Seeking professional treatment documents the damages and helps prove your case for compensation. 

Emotional distress is a category of non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are valued based on numerous factors. Generally, traumatic physical injuries, lengthy recoveries, and permanent impairments increase the value of non-economic damages.

If you continue to suffer from emotional distress, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to protect your right to fair compensation. The insurance adjuster will downplay your emotional damages. He may suggest that you are exaggerating or making up your symptoms.

An attorney understands the evidence required to prove emotional damages. Your lawyer knows how to use the facts of the case to support a demand for maximum compensation for non-economic damages.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Seek immediate medical treatment for your physical injuries. Pay close attention to your emotional and mental health. If you continue to feel upset, paranoid, or anxious after a car accident, talk to your doctor immediately. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health expert for further evaluation.

Seeking help for emotional distress is nothing to be ashamed of. Experiencing a traumatic event often results in emotional distress and mental trauma. The key is to seek help as soon as possible so that you can recover. Documenting your symptoms also improves your chance of recovering a fair settlement for your injury claim. 

Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Hasner Law for Help

For more information, please contact Hasner Law to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us at (678) 928-8784 today or through our contact form.

Author Stephen Headshot
Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
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Stephen Hasner is the founder and managing partner of Hasner Law PC. Since being licensed in Florida in 1997 and in Georgia in 1999, Stephen has worked tirelessly to help Georgia residents navigate the legal process following a serious injury. This includes injuries sustained at work, in motor vehicle accidents, and in cases of personal injury. The team at Hasner Law is dedicated to securing compensation for their clients who have been injured through no fault of their own.