Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common after a car accident. But you do not need to suffer in silence from these and other emotional and mental issues.

Documenting these problems with your doctor and seeking treatment will improve your health. These steps can also provide the evidence you need to recover compensation for the losses.

Here is some information about the emotional and mental issues that can develop after a car accident and how to recover compensation for their effects.

Trauma-Induced Emotional and Mental Issues

Mental and emotional issues can arise after a car accident for many reasons, including:

Survivor’s Guilt

Seeing someone injured or dead after a car accident can trigger guilt. This often happens when an accident injures or kills a friend or family member. But it can also happen when the person is a stranger.

With survivor’s guilt, you may harbor deep resentment and shame for surviving the accident while others suffered injury or death. You might feel guilty even though someone else caused the accident. 

Your mind might make up reasons to blame yourself. For example, you might become obsessed with the thought that you should have stayed home rather than driving on the day of the accident.

Survivor’s guilt can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts. It can create general anxiety or anxiety centered around driving. You may require counseling and medication to overcome your survivor’s guilt.

PTSD

The way your body reacts to stress can change after a traumatic event. Under normal circumstances, stress causes the body to trigger a fight-flight-freeze response. This response results from a cascade of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. The response prepares your body to fight, flee, or freeze to survive the perceived attack.

A traumatic event can sensitize your body to stress. This means that minor stresses can trigger the fight-flee-freeze response. 

After a car accident, the sights, smells, or sounds your mind associates with the accident can trigger an adverse response. 

Some of the effects of PTSD include:

  • Overreaction to triggers
  • Hypervigilance
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability and anger
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks

Living with constant or recurring stress can have physical effects. Cortisol and adrenaline prepare the body for a fight by increasing heart rate, respiration, muscle tension, and blood pressure. 

Over time, PTSD can lead to heart disease, hypertension, muscle aches, and headaches.

Depression

Your accident and your physical injuries can lead to depression. Your injuries might deprive you of the activities you enjoy. As a result, you might feel resentment and sadness.

You might miss work or family gatherings due to your accident. This could lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and detachment from others.

If your injuries cost you a limb or resulted in a permanent disability, it might lead to feelings of permanent loss.

In each of these situations, your depressed mood can worsen over time. You might start to separate from the things that brought you happiness. This can cause a downward spiral unless you seek treatment.

Compensation for Emotional and Mental Issues After a Car Accident

The law makes no distinction between physical injuries and emotional or mental injuries after an accident. Accordingly, you can recover compensation for losses related to emotional and mental harm after a car crash.

You will need to document your injuries and seek treatment for them. Talk to your doctor about your issues and get a referral to counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, or other mental health providers. This will create medical records that support your injury claim.

You can seek economic damages to cover the cost of mental health treatment and medication. You can also seek non-economic damages to cover the suffering, mental anguish, and diminishment in your quality of life due to your mental health issues.

Above all else, do not suffer in silence. This could damage your long-term health and prevent you from getting the compensation you need for treatment.

Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC
3120 Southwest Fwy Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 224-4878