Post-accident trauma can last for months following a serious crash
When you get behind the wheel of a car to drive, you can reasonably expect that other motorists will adhere to all traffic laws and safety regulations, just like you.
But what if the worst should happen?
If another driver’s negligence causes a collision, not only might physical injuries occur but also severe emotional trauma, which can be just as debilitating as a physical injury.
Types of emotional trauma after a collision
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, you might feel startled, frightened or even confused. Depending on the severity of your physical injuries, you might not be fully aware of your emotional condition at the time.
Here are some possible types of emotional trauma that a recovering car accident victim may be suffering from:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
You can suffer 1 or more of these conditions simultaneously. In some cases, emotional trauma can impede your ability to function on a daily basis. In fact, it may even cause a permanent disability. This is why it’s so important to reach out for support if you experience any symptoms of mental trauma after a car accident.
PTSD after a car accident and other emotional trauma symptoms
PTSD refers to any number of symptoms related to severe emotional distress after being involved in a trauma. Such situations often include circumstances such as violence, a sudden and unexpected shock (like a car accident) or combat, such as military warfare. Depression and anxiety may present symptoms that are similar to PTSD.
If you’re recovering from a motor vehicle collision and experience any of the following symptoms, it’s best to report them immediately to your doctor:
- Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Lack of appetite
- Irrational fear or paranoia
- Suicidal tendencies
- Thoughts of violence
- Panic attacks
- Chronic fatigue
Care and treatment for PTSD after a car accident
There are licensed professionals who can administer various screening tests to determine whether you are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression or some other trauma-related condition after a car accident. The “PTSD Checklist” is a commonly used screening measure where a patient records and reports symptoms that may be relevant to PTSD, after which a determination is made whether a more extensive diagnostic evaluation is necessary.
Building a strong support network from the start is the key to getting the care and support you need to recover, especially if you’re suffering from severe emotional trauma. A team of professionals—including medical doctors, nurses, physical therapists, licensed counselors, faith ministers and others in your community—may play significant roles in treating your condition and providing encouragement and support.
Who pays for treatment for mental trauma after a car accident?
Perhaps the driver who hit you was texting on a cell phone at the time or was later determined to have a blood alcohol content level exceeding the legal limit. Maybe they ran a red light or were driving faster than a posted speed limit allows.
Each of these issues may be evidence of driver negligence. This means a person who suffered physical, economic or emotional damages may seek restitution against the person deemed responsible by filing a personal injury claim in a civil court.
Under Florida law, there are basically 2 types of damages: compensatory and punitive.
If you’re the plaintiff in an injury case, and the court awards compensatory damages, the defendant would be ordered to pay a certain amount of money intended to help you recover. Compensatory damages typically include economic issues such as medical bills, lost wages from work (if you had to take time off because of your injuries), car repairs or loss of body function.
Non-economic damages include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life and other related matters. If the court awards punitive damages, it means the defendant would be ordered to pay a certain amount of money as a punishment for their conduct.
In the days and weeks that follow a collision, you might feel better on some days than others. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD or other mental health issues, you should tap into local resources available to help you get the care and treatment you need to achieve a full recovery.