Can I Be Compensated for PTSD/Anxiety After My Car Accident?

Car accidents are traumatic events. Not only do they leave their victims with serious physical injuries, but they can also inflict different forms of emotional trauma that many people find difficult to cope with. After being involved in an accident, you may find that you experience a variety of psychological challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. Fortunately, in many cases, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your mental trauma following a serious traffic accident. In order to do so, you will need to prove that your emotional distress was caused by your accident. If you were recently injured in a car accident and experiencing symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health conditions arising from or relating to the incident, contact the experienced Outer Banks car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today.  

Common Trauma Responses After an Outer Banks Car Accident

For many people, car accidents cause intense emotional turmoil that impacts almost every part of their day-to-day life. Reactions to this stress and trauma vary among victims and can be further affected by personal sensitivities and past life events. The two most common forms of emotional trauma experienced by North Carolina car accident victims are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

It is not unusual for a car accident victim to not immediately realize that the incident triggered symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder. This is mainly because they are not connecting the anxiety they experience with their car accident. For example, they may experience a heightened degree of anxiety around routine tasks or events. They may feel disproportionately anxious when considering future events that don’t have anything to do with being in a car. Victims with a generalized anxiety disorder also tend to be constantly worried, have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and overthink even the most inconsequential situations and plans. GAD patients also tend to catastrophize. In basic terms, their minds jump immediately to the worst possible scenario and then they hyperfixate on the expected outcome.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Until the 1980s, this condition, referred to by those of previous generations as shell shock or battle fatigue, was thought to only affect those unlucky enough to bear witness to the brutality of war when, in fact, many people who live through or witness traumatic and terrifying events develop PTSD.  Not only does post-traumatic stress disorder often cause patients to experience feelings of extreme fear and panic, but it can also cause them to excessively ruminate on the triggering event. PTSD symptoms often include night terrors, flashbacks, and anxiety that is so intense it makes it hard for them to carry out their basic daily routines.  

Oftentimes, PTSD symptoms center on the accident itself, meaning that anything related to the crash, such as driving, being a passenger, or driving through the area where the accident took place can worsen their condition.  

How Do I Pursue Damages for Emotional Trauma Caused by a Car Accident?

Car accident victims who experience psychological damage are entitled to pursue financial compensation in much the same way as they would for bodily injury. Emotional trauma, in many ways, presents similar challenges to physical injuries in that it affects multiple parts of your life, and receiving proper medical treatment comes at an equally considerable expense.

Unfortunately, dissimilar to bodily injuries, emotional trauma is more challenging to diagnose. Whereas most physical harm is directly apparent, many Outer Banks car accident victims do not immediately realize that the symptoms they are experiencing are caused by PTSD or anxiety. To make matters worse, if the symptoms are not promptly addressed, they will worsen as time goes on. To claim compensation for emotional trauma, you must:

Get an Official PTSD Diagnosis

Just as you would with a disability or physical injury, being medically diagnosed with PTSD or anxiety is crucial in proving your right to financial compensation. These conditions have well-documented, specific symptoms that a skilled psychiatrist can use to accurately assess your condition and give you a diagnosis. 

Calculate Your Damages

To show that you have a right to compensation for emotional trauma following a car accident, you have to prove the damages you incurred due to your condition. Total the expenses associated with your psychological damage, such as the cost of medicines you have been prescribed and therapy sessions. Consult with your Outer Banks car accident attorney about including damages for lost wages because your mental condition prevented you from returning to work.  

Were You Diagnosed With PTSD After a Car Accident?

The Outer Banks car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you understand what evidence needs to be collected to build a compelling case for damages for emotional trauma caused by your car accident. In one recent case, we obtained a $235,000 settlement award for a client who was hit by a negligent driver just two weeks before her wedding. If you were injured in a car accident through no fault of your own and have questions regarding compensation for emotional trauma caused by the incident, you can schedule a free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online contact form. We serve clients across Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills.