Psychological and emotional injuries after a serious accident aren’t often discussed, but they can be just as debilitating as physical injuries
In a perfect world, all motorists in Montana would always adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations. But as we all know, it’s far from a perfect world.
In reality, driver negligence and recklessness often cause serious and sometimes deadly car accidents, leaving Montana families struggling physically, financially and emotionally in the aftermath. Seeking medical attention immediately after a crash is always a top priority, especially because some physical injuries may not be apparent at first.
In addition to physical injuries, severe emotional trauma after an accident can have lasting implications. In fact, many recovering accident victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The physical and mental healthcare a recovering accident victim might need is expensive, which can cause financial distress that intensifies a person’s post-accident suffering.
What are your options if you have PTSD from your crash?
For starters, you may be entitled to compensation.
How to know if you have PTSD after a car accident (signs and symptoms)
If you witness or experience trauma, you may be at risk for PTSD. Being involved in a motor vehicle collision can be frightening, upsetting and emotionally traumatic. Not only is it possible that you witnessed horrors—such as people screaming or crying, blood or severe injuries, etc.—but you may also be haunted by memories of the crash, such as the sound of brakes screeching, metal clashing or glass breaking upon impact.
The following psychological symptoms commonly result from traumatic accidents:
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
- Exaggerated startle reflex
- Chronic fear
- Lack of appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritability or mood swings
- Absence of emotion, feeling detached
PTSD after a crash may not only produce mental or emotional health symptoms but also physical ones as well. It’s important to closely monitor your condition after the car accident and report any new symptoms to your primary care physician or visit a nearby emergency room. This condition can also impede your ability to function on a daily basis.
Recovering from PTSD after a car accident
The psychological consequences of a car accident can be devastating to recovering victims and their families. If you’re experiencing post-accident emotional trauma, you might have repeated nightmares about the crash or keep reliving the accident in your mind.
Various trauma-focused psychotherapies have been shown to be effective in helping some people recover from PTSD, including:
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
- Behavioral therapy
- Prolonged exposure (PE)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Stress inoculation therapy (SIT)
In addition, sometimes medications such as antidepressants, beta-blockers and antipsychotics may be prescribed to help the brain fight the effects of trauma.
Who pays for care for emotional trauma after a car accident?
PTSD may cause temporary or permanent disability. If you suffered an injury when another vehicle struck you, you shouldn’t have to bear the full financial burden associated with the incident. Montana law allows recovering accident victims to file a personal injury claim against any person deemed responsible for damages.
If you have been medically diagnosed with PTSD, it can be included on a list of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. As a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, you are tasked to prove several things. It’s a good idea to seek legal consultation before heading to court so that you fully understand what the court expects of you before it rules in your favor.
Seeking compensation for damages that include a PTSD injury
If a negligent, distracted or impaired driver caused the collision, you may be eligible to seek financial restitution in a civil court. Here are 3 things you must prove to successfully litigate a personal injury claim following a motor vehicle collision:
- The defendant was negligent.
- Their negligence was a direct cause of the collision.
- The defendant’s negligence resulted in your personal injury, which resulted in damages.
If you can present evidence in court that substantiates your claim, the judge overseeing the case may order the defendant to pay you damages. Court-awarded compensation may help offset your medical bills, replace lost wages if you’re unable to return to work because of PTSD or other injuries as well as pain and suffering for the emotional and psychological harm you suffered.
Restitution might also be based on loss of future potential income, as well as any financial costs associated with treatment, care or damages you have suffered because of the defendant’s negligence.