PTSD From a Car Accident
April 14, 2022 | Car Accidents
A car accident can cause trauma. It is not uncommon for victims to suffer physically and emotionally after an accident. Even a minor accident can lead to severe emotional trauma, and individuals react to trauma differently. Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which generally requires a medical diagnosis and treatment to overcome. While PTSD is a defined medical condition, its symptoms can look different for each person.
Typically, PTSD happens when a person experiences a highly traumatic event. A car accident will qualify as a highly traumatic experience, and if it is a major accident, there are higher chances of experiencing PTSD.
Car accidents are unpredictable, and those involved may experience extreme fear of whether they will survive the accident. This reaction can cause undue stress. After an accident, you may suffer severe injuries that can cause you pain and suffering. These injuries can change your life and tax you physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Many people involved in or witness a car accident will experience post-traumatic stress. This reaction can have them replaying the accident repeatedly in their heads. Many people will try to avoid the accident scene entirely and may begin to experience anxiety. Sufferers may begin to see their relationships damaged and their daily lives changed forever. You will need to call a car accident lawyer after a car accident to seek compensation to pay for your medical and psychological treatments.
Signs to look for after being in a car accident
Each person diagnosed with or suffers from PTSD will experience different symptoms. There are numerous symptoms associated with this condition, and the lack of one does not mean that the person does not suffer from the disorder. There are a few common symptoms of this disorder which we will discuss in depth.
#1. The presence of anger
Many car accident victims will experience anger related to the accident and some unrelated items. Often when a person is triggered, they remember the accident or are triggered by pain from their injuries, leading to feelings of anger. This experience is an example of pain and suffering an accident caused, but that is not directly related to the accident.
#2. Intrusive thoughts
After a traumatic experience, it is normal to have intrusive thoughts and feelings to some degree. This process is also valid for individuals who have not suffered a traumatic experience. Get a professional to determine if you have PTSD. They may diagnose you if they see an inability to stop these thoughts that become so extreme over time that you begin to feel helpless.
#3. Flashbacks of the car accident
Getting the accident out of their heads, not thinking incessantly about it, and even reliving it repeatedly can present serious challenges. You will begin to wonder how you might have avoided the accident and figure out who to hold accountable for the accident.
Accident victims become obsessed with the accident and constantly talk about it to others. This obsession can be a coping mechanism that may get better over time. A severe flashback is more than reliving the accident; it takes the person back to the accident. They will feel like they are back in the car, spiraling out of control.
A flashback can onset seemingly out of nowhere, but there may be a trigger to blame, such as a sound or smell that takes the victim back to the accident. In other cases, the flashbacks may have no cause at all.
It can be challenging to come to terms with your new lifestyle when you have suffered a severe injury after a car accident. This change can lead to depression which is also a symptom of PTSD. Some people can fight through depression and continue to live normal lives. Others can see the depression overwhelming their daily lives, making it difficult to go to work or school. Medication and counseling may be ways to mitigate the depression symptoms.
After a car accident, victims will often feel nervous or anxious to get back into a vehicle. They may also try to avoid the accident scene at all costs. These might indicate that you are struggling with the anxiety an accident caused. In some cases, people will experience generalized anxiety merely leaving their homes or participating in everyday activities.
#6. Feelings of isolation
Some accident victims may want to withdraw from family and friends to try to process the accident on their terms. This reaction can be because accident victims feel their loved ones do not understand them or what they are experiencing. Victims may also not want to feel like a burden to their loved ones.
#7. Difficulty sleeping
You may find that your sleep patterns change after a car accident. This change may be due to your pain or from nightmares the accident caused. Be sure to seek medical treatment when involved in a car accident, even if you think your injuries were minor.
#8. Startling easily
You may startle more easily after an accident because you are constantly on edge. This change will often be apparent while driving as a car accident victim will press on the brakes for no reason. You may also become startled when someone comes up behind you.
Some drivers will go out of their way to pay attention to every little detail on the road around them. Others may become extra jumpy while driving or being a passenger. You may also want to place yourself in parts of the car that allow you to see the road as much as possible.
After a car accident, some people may avoid getting into a vehicle. They will avoid anything that reminds them of the accident, such as the scene or the highway where it happened. Avoidance can be an intrusive aspect of your life after a car accident to the point where you might have trouble functioning at a high level.
#11. Suicidal thoughts
One of the worst possible systems of PTSD is experiencing suicidal thoughts. This result is prevalent in cases where the accident resulted in catastrophic or severe injuries. Survivors may feel they are a burden to their loved ones who might be better off without the added stress of caring for them.
Treatment for PTSD due to a car accident
While you may feel helpless if you suffer from PTSD, there are treatment options. We mentioned that you might need to seek counseling and take medications. Some people will find religion as a way to cope.
A doctor can provide you with viable treatment options such as:
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Animal therapy
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for car accident victims. Each person can suffer from PTSD for different lengths of time. Your assigned treatment will determine how long your symptoms last. In the end, you must find what works best for you. It is common for car accident victims to experience pain and suffering. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering damages, but you need to call a lawyer to discuss your case.
Pain and suffering from a car accident
After a car accident, you can seek compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering. This constitutes any mental and physical anguish caused by a car accident.
Physical pain and suffering can include aches and pains which cause discomfort, restriction on your lifestyle, and ability to work. Mental pain and suffering are a bit more complex. These will include embarrassment from your scars or the memories of the accident, which impact your daily functions and relationships.
These damages are non-economic. This title is because they do not have a numerical or tangible calculation. General damages such as pain and suffering can be complex to prove and obtain compensation for.
Some examples of these damages are:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Severe pain
Pain and suffering do not only apply to past and present mental anguish but also future anguish. There may be several factors to consider to obtain pain and suffering damages.
Plaintiffs often receive these damages in cases that produce:
- Disfigurement or permanent scars
- Disability or a permanent impairment
- Loss of function
Pain and suffering is not a hard and fast rule, and you need to call a lawyer to discuss whether you are eligible to seek pain and suffering damages.
Proving pain and suffering in a personal injury claim
To obtain compensation for pain and suffering damages, your lawyer must prove these damages exist. Each case is unique, and you will need to inform your lawyer exactly how your lifestyle and emotional state have altered after the accident.
Current and past pain and suffering may be easier to articulate. There is also future mental anguish that you must consider. This future anguish refers to any pain and suffering that you may endure down the line after treatment is complete. Future pain and suffering are often the hardest to prove.
What is the multiplier method?
Once the court determines that you are eligible for pain and suffering, you will need a lawyer to calculate how much you may receive for these damages. One method often used to determine how much your injuries may be worth is the multiplier method.
The multiplier takes your economic damages and multiplies them by a number. Determining the number used as the multiplier will depend on several factors. There may be times when the court uses a multiplier over five, such as when paralysis or a brain injury is present.
How does the pier diem method work?
Courts calculate pain and suffering damages in various ways. One of the standard methods is the per diem method. This simple method translates as per day. The method is unpopular, though specific situations will support its use. Essentially this method assigns a specific value to every day that you suffered from your injury. If you have a long-term injury, this method is ill-advised. You will need to call a lawyer to determine which method works best for your case.
Other pain and suffering calculations
Insurance companies are not keen on offering the biggest or fairest settlement for accident victims. Keeping this in mind, you should be cautious of any offers the insurance company gives for pain and suffering. They will often use a generic computer program or prior cases to determine what your damages are worth. They often forget that each case is unique and should receive a particular treatment. Call a lawyer to ensure that you are being protected and get the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Call a lawyer after suffering physical or mental injuries in a car accident
Pain and suffering are often some of the most complex damages in personal injury cases. Since this is not monetary damage, insurance companies will fight to avoid paying them in a settlement. A lawyer knows how complex these issues are and how to negotiate with insurance companies to get you a fair settlement.
A personal injury attorney will gather evidence relevant to your case, whether medical records, witness statements, or other documentation that can help prove pain and suffering. A lawyer knows the insurance companies’ tactics precisely to avoid paying car accident victims.
Every state has statutes of limitations for personal injury cases. You will need to move quickly to file a claim after a car accident. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to file a successful claim and obtain compensation for your injuries.
Call a lawyer after an accident to get started and receive the compensation you deserve. You want an attorney who understands how to seek compensation for PTSD and other mental trauma.