Symptoms of Emotional Trauma from Car Accidents

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Car accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which are physical injuries to to the brain that can result in permanent impairment of the brain’s function. Besides physical injuries, many car accident survivors also experience emotional and mental trauma, which can also qualify as a bodily injury under South Carolina’s personal injury laws.

You can claim compensation for the psychological effects of car accidents if your trauma meets certain standards. Here is an overview of the most common car accident trauma symptoms and how they can affect your personal injury claim in Greenville, SC.

Psychological & Emotional Trauma of a Car Accident

The psychological and emotional trauma after a car accident can cause the following mental conditions:

  • Mental Distress
  • Emotional Distress
  • Post-Traumatic Brain Disorder (PTSD)
  • Adjustment Disorder

These conditions are associated with varying symptoms, some of which can severely disrupt your behavior and limit your overall quality of life. Some of the most notable symptoms of psychological trauma from car accidents include:

1. Flashbacks

You may experience flashbacks about the accident for months or years. These flashbacks may be spontaneous and can occur at any time. They may also be caused by things that remind you of the accident, such as certain car models and routes. Flashbacks can disrupt your thoughts and cause emotional and mental distress.

2. Nightmares

Besides flashbacks, you may also have intrusive memories of the car accident in your dreams, causing nightmares. Nightmares can cause vivid visualizations of the car accident, making you feel like you are experiencing the traumatic event all over again. They can also make sleeping difficult, causing additional psychological symptoms associated with sleep-related conditions such as insomnia.

3. Avoidance

As explained, things that remind you of your car accident can trigger flashbacks. Avoidance is a common coping mechanism in such a situation. It entails avoiding anything that reminds you of the accident, such as specific routes and car models – some people avoid riding in cars altogether.

Avoidance can disrupt your everyday routines and activities – for example, you may prefer taking longer routes to work to avoid driving by the spot where the accident occurred.

4. Irritability

Experiencing a car accident can leave you with a lingering uneasiness, making you easily agitated and irritable. Irritability can limit your relationships with your loved ones and colleagues. For example, you can easily snap at people who do or say things that you find intolerable, such as kids playing around the house or colleagues disrupting your work.

5. Depression & Anxiety

Post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident is common and can cause symptoms such as anxiety, stress, and depression. PTSD can change your behavior and personality, making engaging in activities such as socializing and working difficult.  For example, many people experiencing depression tend to numb their emotions and prefer keeping to themselves.

6. Misplaced Guilt

Car accidents can cause death or severe, life-changing injuries and disabilities. The effects can leave you feeling guilty, even if you didn’t cause the accident. For example, you may wish that you had taken a different route. Misplaced guilt can cause many negative emotions and contribute to psychological conditions such as depression and PTSD.

Can You Claim Compensation for Psychological Trauma?

PTSD can limit your ability to work, resulting in loss of income. If you suffer from PTSD and other psychological effects of a car accident, then you are entitled to car accident injury compensation.

However, mental pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages, making them difficult to assign a monetary value. Many mental pain and suffering symptoms of a car accident are also unseen, making them difficult to prove and complicating the litigation process.

Fortunately, an experienced Greenville car accident lawyer can help you identify and explain your symptoms, in order to present convincing arguments to make the court recognize your mental and psychological damages.

Helping Car Accident Victims Account for Trauma in Greenville

David R. Price, JR., P.A., is a personal injury law firm dedicated to getting justice and fair compensation for car accident injury victims, including the mental scars caused by a car crash.  Our auto accident lawyers can develop a convincing case to get you the highest compensation possible based on the extent of your physical and emotional injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Car Accident Injury FAQs

Can I get compensation for mental and psychological symptoms caused by a car accident?

Under South Carolina’s personal injury laws, you can get compensation for emotional pain and suffering caused by a car accident. However, you will need a competent personal injury attorney to develop, present, and argue your case.

How long will my emotional and psychological effects last?

Emotional and psychological effects caused by a car accident can be short-term or long-term. They can last for months or years, and it is advisable to seek professional psychological care to help you cope.


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