17 Dec 2020

By Ashu Hayat

In Personal Injury

Suffering through a car accident can cause not only bodily injuries, but victims may also suffer from long term emotional trauma. This emotional trauma can cause debilitating medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety. While physical injuries can be obvious and their medical treatments can easily provide proof of the injury, the often-invisible emotional pain and suffering losses can be difficult to calculate and prove.

The laws in Arizona are favorable to accident victims experiencing emotional distress, so there is a good chance of success if you work with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help you build a strong case. An experienced car accident lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC can help you sue for damages for both the physical injuries and the emotional trauma you’ve suffered after your car accident.

Car Accidents And Emotional Trauma

The mental health of an accident victim can be greatly affected after a car accident, however, the biggest challenge with identifying emotional trauma is that it rarely presents itself visually. For example, some victims may suffer from debilitating flashbacks or a fear of driving. Others may become depressed with the toll of both the physical injuries and the emotional stress of surviving a car accident. Unlike physical injuries like cuts, bruises or broken limbs, emotional trauma often exists below the surface.

How Does A Car Accident Affect You Emotionally?

Many times, this emotional trauma can manifest itself with symptoms such as:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Embarrassment
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Chronic pain
  • Nightmares
  • Fear of driving
  • Exhaustion
  • Social withdrawal

These symptoms can make it difficult for a person to concentrate, focus on work, and can significantly impair a person’s ability to participate in daily life. Victims of a car accident can respond to emotional trauma in different ways, and the range of symptoms experienced can include more than what is listed above.

If you suspect your car accident has caused emotional trauma, it’s always best to visit a doctor or therapist for a professional assessment. A trained medical professional will assess the impact of the car accident along with any factors that contributed to your emotional trauma symptoms, either before or after, the car accident. Physical and psychological symptoms may be treated through the care of a doctor or mental health professional, which is why it’s important to seek treatment. Also, if you plan to pursue compensation for your emotional trauma, medical records will help provide strong documentation for your case.

And if the emotional trauma you’ve suffered after your car accident has caused you to have thoughts of self-harm or hurting others, contact your mental health provider immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Remember: You don’t have to manage emotional trauma symptoms alone, and there is always hope.

Tips To Cope With Emotional Trauma After A Car Accident

If you were involved in a car accident and are suffering from emotional trauma, there are some coping strategies that might help you:

  • Tell your doctor: Often, if a car accident victim doesn’t have any physical injuries, they may fail to seek medical help. However, the mental health symptoms and emotional trauma that many people suffer after a car accident may be alleviated with the help and guidance of a doctor. A doctor can prescribe medications and can refer you to a mental health specialist to assist you with managing your symptoms.
  • Talk to Someone: Friends, relatives, religious leaders, or counselors can provide a great support system after a car accident. You can talk to them about your thoughts and fears about your car accident.
  • Focus on wellness: Regular exercise releases endorphins into your system, which can make you feel more positive and can also help reduce pain. Speak to your doctor about what kind of physical activity you can do safely.
  • Keep a journal: Keeping a journal of how you are feeling mentally while you are recovering from your car accident is a good way to manage your emotions and track your mental health.
  • Follow routines: It’s important to try and return to your normal daily routines and activities, which may help you regain control of your life and help you manage your symptoms.
  • Empower yourself: Being a victim in a car accident may not have been your fault, but you can empower yourself by taking a defensive driver course and improving your safe driving skills.

Can You Sue For Emotional Distress In Arizona?

In Arizona, you can seek compensation for any serious injury or loss that affects your life as the result of an accident caused by negligence. This compensation can include damages for emotional trauma or economic distress. Arizona doesn’t place a cap on damages for emotional trauma in personal injury cases, such as car accidents. This type of compensation is often referred to as “pain and suffering” damages.

Proving Emotional Distress After A Car Accident in Arizona

You should always work with a skilled car accident lawyer who can put an appropriate dollar value on your claim, as damages for emotional trauma or distress are often hard to prove. A skilled attorney will be able to build a strong case, whether it goes to trial or settles out of court, that proves that you are entitled to additional damages for emotional distress.

In order to help prove your case, your attorney will look to submit evidence that may include:

  • Medical diagnosis of emotional trauma
  • The frequency and severity of the emotional trauma symptoms
  • Any underlying physical injuries
  • The cost and effectiveness of treating the emotional trauma

You can help improve your case by documenting your emotional trauma, seeking an evaluation from a trained medical professional, and tracking any bills (ex: doctor, psychologist, therapy and prescription costs) related to your emotional trauma.

Contact Us

If you’re living with emotional trauma and distress after a car accident, the car accident lawyers in Scottsdale, AZ at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC are here to support you. We understand that living with emotional trauma is a very real and very painful experience. Let us help you secure the compensation you are owed for all of your injuries.

Reach out to a compassionate lawyer at our firm today. We are ready to fight for the compensation you need and deserve. We serve our car accident clients in our conveniently located offices in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, and Tucson. Call us today or fill out our online contact page.

ashu hayat

Ashu Hayat is the Marketing Attorney for Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC. Her focus is on helping people who need legal advice connect with the attorneys who can best help them. She does this by providing valuable legal information through the firm’s website and social media channels, enabling people to find answers to their initial questions and connect with the firm for a free consultation. Click to read more.