Have you ever been in a car accident? According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are roughly 18,500 car accidents in the U.S each year. However, there isn’t a universal approach to dealing with trauma after the accident.
Vehicle accidents can leave long-lasting wounds that time cannot heal. In the aftermath of a car crash, many are left coping with numerous issues such as pain, injuries, medical treatments, as well as bills, insurance, and emotional trauma.
While a great number of people are primarily concerned with physical wounds, mental trauma, such as anxiety and PTSD, are largely disregarded. Except, this shouldn’t be the case. But can you sue for anxiety or emotional distress after a car accident? With the right attorney, the answer is always yes.
Anxiety and Other Psychological Conditions
It is normal to experience anxiety after a serious car accident. For most, the feeling of shock, panic, and dread last for a few days or weeks. However, in some cases, the stress and negative emotions can grow and develop into serious mental conditions. For such individuals, managing through daily activities becomes a struggle.
Negative consequences of psychological trauma following an accident can present as depression, anxiety, episodes of panic attacks, loneliness, together with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, fatigue, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and irregular heartbeat can develop as a sign of ongoing mental issues.
Common signs of anxiety and PTSD can include one or more of the following:
● separation anxiety
● sleeping disorders
● uncontrollable anger
● cognitive problems
● lack of emotional response
● heart palpitations and chest pain
● breathing difficulty
● a misguided sense of shame or guilt
Depending on the severity of the illness and the patient’s overall condition, singular or combined treatment options are available.
For mild anxiety symptoms, a doctor may order antidepressants. For more serious conditions, a combination of drugs and counseling by a licensed psychologist may help. Finally, when an individual behaves in a way deemed dangerous, psychiatric hospitalization can be recommended.
Can You Successfully Sue for Anxiety After a Car Accident?
A bruised lip or broken ribs are not the only injuries a person can suffer in a car accident. The lack of physical harm does not always mean an individual wasn’t affected by the event. Emotional damage is just as important.
There are two methods of demanding compensation for emotional trauma. The injured party can seek damages from an insurance company or sue the accountable driver who caused the accident.
Most states in the U.S. allow victims to make personal injury claims based on emotional stress resulting from vehicle accidents. However, there are a few strict rules. Before deciding on legal action, it would be wise to consult a personal injury attorney who specializes in vehicle accidents.
First and foremost, the victim must provide valid medical evidence that proves the mental disorder developed as a direct consequence of the crash. Expert witnesses, medical documentation, proof of medical treatment, and medical bills are essential. Early documentation is preferable because it prevents possible problems with insurance companies and the court.
Second, a clear temporal link must be established between the automobile accident and the disorder, as well as other medical reports supporting the diagnosis.
Third, the evidence must conclusively show the decline in the person’s quality of life. An attorney may ask for personal or work-related information that shows the negative effects the incident and the developed anxiety have had on the victim’s career and social life.
Finally, it is important to point out that the majority of vehicle accident lawsuits are based on the premise of negligence. In order to successfully claim compensation, the plaintiff needs to specify the manner in which the defendant’s carelessness caused the accident.
What happens when you sue for anxiety after a car accident and win? You collect the damages. Yet how much is good enough? Each case is unique, and the settlement amount depends on the cause and severity of a person’s anxiety.
The best option is to discuss the matter with Des Moines car accident attorneys. They can offer estimates and guidance throughout the entire case. If you have concerns such as if you will need a lawyer if you were rear-ended, they can help.
Most commonly, the damages are paid by an insurance company. However, if the insurance company refuses to accept the requested amount, another option is going to court. If the jury finds the case valid, they will determine the compensation fees.
Depending on the seriousness of the emotional injury, the compensation claim may include lost wages, medical bills, commuting fees, and lost earnings for the future.