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Recovering Compensation for Emotional Damage After a Car Accident

emotional damage car accident

After a car accident, most people assume that the worst injuries will be the visible ones that require hospital treatments and physical therapy sessions. While that’s the case for many people, you don’t want to ignore the emotional damage car accidents can cause.

If you’ve been in a collision, it’s essential that you reach out to a car accident attorney to have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve. Take a closer look at how an experienced car lawyer can help you after being in an accident that wasn’t your fault.

Understanding Emotional Damages

Emotional damages provide financial recovery meant to address the negative emotional effects that a traumatic experience has on a person’s well-being. People who’ve gone through car accidents often experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population.

PTSD can lead to experiencing flashbacks, panic attacks, and even the inability to get behind the wheel again. Depression and anxiety are other conditions that people experience after surviving a car accident, all of which can negatively impact their quality of life.

Arizona law allows people who’ve been in car accidents to pursue pain and suffering damages. While a physical injury is not necessary to prove pain and suffering, you must show physical symptoms of emotional trauma to be eligible.

This means that if you claim you suffer from PTSD because of the accident, you have to be able to prove that you’ve experienced episodes of the illness.

Additionally, the emotional harm you suffer has to be severe and debilitating. This means that it has to interfere with your daily life, not allowing you to function as you did before the accident.

Proving Emotional Damages

To prove the emotional harm you have suffered after a car accident, you will need medical records. For example, if you suffered an emotional breakdown that resulted in needing medical treatment or if you sustained injuries as a result of a panic attack or a PTSD episode, you can present these records. 

Other important records can be therapist reports, new medication prescriptions, and eyewitness statements. If your coworkers saw you have an episode, having them testify on your behalf can be essential.

The next step of the process is proving that the accident is what led to the emotional distress. You may have to prove that you didn’t suffer from this level of emotional distress before the accident. Any diagnoses of PTSD, anxiety, or depression need to have occurred after the accident.

To show that the accident led to the trauma, you can also have a therapist testify on your behalf. A therapist is able to give an impartial testimony that shares exactly how the accident affected your mental and emotional state.

Types of Recoverable Emotional Damages

Pain and suffering damages are one of the most common types of emotional recoverable damages people receive after a car accident. The term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional distress you’ve experienced because of the accident.

This can apply even if you didn’t receive a physical injury. In some cases, witnesses of the car accident could also claim emotional trauma if the accident was very distressing to see.

Similarly, if the emotional harm the accident caused is severe enough to keep you from participating in activities you enjoyed before the accident, you could ask for loss of enjoyment of life damages.

Anxiety and depression damages don’t just address your struggles through daily life. They can also cover money spent on therapy sessions and medications. You shouldn’t have to pay for all of these expenses on your own if the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence.

If you’ve developed PTSD because of the accident, you could claim damages for how it impacts your functioning and the long-term effect it can have on your productivity. In this instance, too, you can ask for compensation for the ongoing therapy you will need.

Maximizing Your Claim

To maximize your emotional damages claim, it can help to start keeping a journal the moment you begin experiencing mental distress. You want to document your symptoms and turn to mental health professionals as soon as you can. If you suffer an episode and there are witnesses, try to gather statements from them.

You also need to have the right lawyer on your side. Not all personal injury lawyers have experience handling emotional damages claims, so make sure that you look for someone who does.

You’ll also want to find ways to demonstrate how the emotional harm you’ve sustained has affected your life. If you’ve had to miss work because of it, get records from your employer that prove this, if possible.

If you used to enjoy a particular activity and you’ve not been able to do so after the accident because of emotional trauma, getting witnesses who can testify to that can help.

Challenges and Considerations

Proving an emotional damages claim isn’t easy. There is a stigma that surrounds mental health, including the idea that someone struggling with mental illness can somehow “snap out of it.” Mental illness is just as difficult to deal with as any physical illness.

There is a common misconception that if you claim emotional damages after a car accident, you’re just taking advantage of the situation. It’s not uncommon for people to think that those struggling with these issues are lying.

Insurance companies, too, will do everything possible to show that you don’t deserve emotional damages. They could claim there isn’t enough evidence to prove your emotional distress, or they could scour through records and eyewitness statements to show that the emotional damage was a preexisting condition.

Even if you have sufficient evidence, insurance companies can try to make low offers and threaten you with not paying at all. They may even try to place fault on you.

You also want to keep in mind that going through a claims process can be stressful in itself. That’s even more the case if you try to go through it on your own. You need support from family and friends, and you also need to have an experienced lawyer by your side.

Gerber Injury Law: Helping Clients Get the Compensation They Deserve

The emotional and mental trauma that can result from car accidents can leave scars you can’t see but cause all manner of distress.

By turning to a seasoned car accident lawyer, you can have the best chance to get compensation for what you’ve been through. If you’re dealing with an ongoing mental health concern, knowing you have the funds available for therapy sessions and other care can take a huge weight off your shoulders.

You don’t want to wait to take action after a car accident. The compassionate team at Gerber Injury Law can fight for your rights and the justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.