A car accident can affect your life in many ways. Even a minor car accident can leave long-lasting injuries. After a collision, most people worry about their physical condition. Understandably, an injury can lead to severe pain, but mental trauma can also exist, especially in more serious car accidents. Do not ignore the mental trauma you face after a car accident. It can be just as debilitating as a physical injury.
During a traumatic event, your body goes into a heightened state of stress and anxiety. Sometimes, this becomes so severe that you experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another mental health condition after the event. While most people associate PTSD with soldiers, any traumatic event can trigger the condition.
If you have recently experienced a car accident, you need to look out for symptoms of emotional trauma, including:
- High levels of stress and anxiety
- Mood swings
- New and sudden fears
After a car accident, many people fear getting into a vehicle again, either as a driver or passenger. Cars are a part of daily life, and if you cannot use one, it can severely impact your quality of life. That is why it is crucial that you look out for symptoms that could indicate mental trauma.
Get a Proper Diagnosis
Just like you receive prompt medical treatment for any car accident injury, you should also receive prompt treatment for any mental injury. First, it is important to address the stigma around mental trauma. Many people refuse to acknowledge mental injuries and will refuse any treatment, even when the signs are clear and troubling. If you have an injury, physical or mental, you deserve the best possible treatment so you can recover.
Physical injuries can lead to mental injuries. Often, physical injuries that prevent a person from living their life and participating in society can also cause mental conditions. When you experience a disconnect from your family and friends because you are injured and cannot participate in social events, you can easily become depressed. This depression can make you retreat even further, making your mental trauma worse.
To properly diagnose your mental trauma, you must first acknowledge that you might have an injury. Once you do, your doctor can recommend a psychologist or counselor who can help you on the road to recovery. You should be aware that mental health injuries often take longer to heal than physical injuries because there is not always a clear path. The more you work to heal, the better chance you have at making a full recovery.
Your mental health counselor might suggest several avenues for treatment. Relaxation techniques like yoga and controlled breathing exercises have been found to be some of the most effective treatments. These can help calm your mind and emotions, keeping you in control. Your counselor will also help you face your fears head on. Facing the stress and anxiety after a car accident is not an easy feat, but one you may need to attack to recover.
When you are dealing with anxiety, fear, and flashbacks of your accident, you might become overwhelmed, leading to depression. Some people who have depression might stop going to work, stop socializing, and stop caring for themselves and their family.
The first step in your treatment is to be selfish. When you recognize there is a problem, prioritize yourself and work to get better. This can be as simple as making sure you are relaxed, getting enough sleep, and eating well. Make sure you get exercise when you can, and push yourself to go to social events. Connecting with friends and family can be some of the best medicine.
Your counselor will also help you deal with any flashbacks or nightmares related to your car accident. These images and reenactments in your mind can often be traumatizing to the point that you feel like you are reliving the crash. However, remembering that the accident is over will help you regain control. Then, you can take proactive steps to get your life back on track. One of the best ways to focus on that control is by not worrying about how you can cover your medical bills.
Seek Legal Advice
When people think about compensation after a car accident, they often think about car repairs and medical bills. While those amounts can be quite large, you may also be able to recover compensation for your mental and emotional suffering.
To prove that someone else owes you money for your mental injury, you need to show that they caused your accident and that your injury is debilitating. Proving this will require several steps. You need to prove that another driver:
- Owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
- Breached that duty of care by driving in a negligent, reckless, or otherwise careless manner.
- Caused an accident because of their negligent driving.
- Caused your injuries because of the accident.
The injuries that were caused in your accident may include mental injuries. These injuries are harder to prove because there is no conclusive test to prove that you have a mental injury. However, that does not mean mental injuries are not compensable or any less severe than physical injuries.
To try to get compensation for a mental injury, you will need to show that the car accident you were in has negatively affected your mental health and overall well-being. This may require evidence from your mental health counselor, who might be required to give testimony about your mental state. Medical experts can provide insight that will help to make your case by showing that you had to visit a counselor regularly. Family and friends may also be able to help you by providing evidence of your changed behavior.
You can also provide evidence through your own words. You can show how the mental anguish of your car accident has prevented you from participating in important life events and has kept you out of work. While extremely difficult to admit and discuss, the evidence you can provide about how your life has been impacted can be some of the most important evidence to prove that someone else caused your mental suffering.
Since it is difficult to prove that you have a mental injury, one of the first steps you should take is to speak to a lawyer. A lawyer will discuss your legal options, and they will inform you if you are eligible for compensation.
After a car accident, you may have serious physical pain that prevents you from doing many activities, but you could also have debilitating mental trauma. Ignoring these symptoms can prolong your recovery. Our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can help you pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.