Can I Claim Damages for Anxiety After a Car Accident?Auto Accidents
A badly damaged vehicle and broken bones are apparent damages after a car accident. However, many accident victims often suffer in silence from the emotional trauma following an automobile accident.
Car accident attorneys can seek compensation for your anxiety after a car accident. Continue reading if you were in a car accident, suffer from anxiety as a result, and want to learn more about your legal options.
Can I Sue for Damages?
Yes, accident victims can claim damages because they suffer from anxiety after a car crash. An accident victim can sue for damages, including lost income, medical injuries, emotional distress, and mental trauma.
Anxiety or emotional trauma is a non-economic claim. Non-economic damages are neither monetary nor easily quantifiable. An accident attorney can help an accident victim suffering from non-economic injuries, like anxiety, prove their case and recover damages. Call an experienced accident attorney to maximize your recovery amount if you need legal assistance.
What Are Emotional Damages?
Emotional damages take many different forms. Emotional stress and trauma manifest in various ways, and each person will uniquely experience emotional stress. Some common diagnosable conditions result from emotional trauma. These common conditions include:
Anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of intense emotional pressure and worry that can show up in an individual’s daily life. Anxiety manifests in various ways and may cause a person who suffers from anxiety to create habits that help them cope with their anxiety symptoms, like avoiding driving after a car accident.
A car accident victim may substantially change their lives to cope with overwhelming anxiety symptoms. They may decide to see a therapist that treats anxiety and may be prescribed medication. The at-fault driver should reimburse each of these treatment options, along with damages for the anxiety itself.
Depression. Although anxiety and depression may present in similar ways for some sufferers, depression is unique. An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness can characterize depression. After a car accident, a victim may suffer from an overwhelming feeling that they will never live their lives the way they did before they were hurt.
For some people, these types of feelings can persist. Because depressed car accident victims feel they will never get better, they may spiral, and their condition can worsen.
Depression can interfere with a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living. A person suffering from depression may lose the ability to eat, sleep, bathe or otherwise care for themselves. They may not be able to work and support themselves or their families.
A person suffering from depression may seek treatment with a therapist or psychiatrist. They may incur expenses for therapy sessions and medications. An experienced accident attorney can help you prove your damages and recover fully after a car accident.
PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric condition where the person suffering may have flashbacks to the event. A sound, smell, or other stimuli can trigger a distressing memory. Car accidents are traumatic events, and the memory of the accident can trigger strong emotions.
A person who has PTSD following a car accident may have triggers every time near or in a car. Traffic sounds, the wind rushing past when the windows are down, a car engine backfiring can all debilitate a person and substantially affect their lives.
In addition to the triggers, PTSD can affect a person’s ability to conduct daily life activities. Things can trigger a memory every day, and a person who suffers from this condition may cope by avoiding engaging in the activity.
In addition to psychiatric care, PTSD also has non-economic value. If you have PTSD, an accident attorney can help you make a case for recovery of damages.
How Do I Prove an Emotional Distress Claim?
Like any other legal claim, a successful claim for emotional distress requires proof. To get evidence for a lawsuit, speak to an accident lawyer for advice.
You, your lawyer, therapist, and family members and friends work together to prove your claim. You must seek treatment for your anxiety. Your therapist can diagnose your condition. With a diagnosis, you and your lawyer can provide an insurance company, jury, or judge with objective elements that can help prove your claim. It is easier to explain what is going on with you emotionally if you can tie it to a medical diagnosis.
Your friends and family can serve as witnesses for your claim. An insurance company, jury, or judge needs to understand what your life was like before the accident to know how your life has been affected fully. Witness testimony can help prove a claim for anxiety by showing any changes in habits. Friends and family can speak to your social habits, sleeping changes, and other intimate changes that you have suffered because of the anxiety an accident caused.
An accident lawyer needs facts to prove a claim for anxiety. The success of your claim relies on your lawyer’s successful proof that your anxiety resulted from the car accident, and that the emotional trauma had a significant impact on your ability to perform activities of daily living like working, socializing with friends and family, or taking care of your hygiene.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Company?
An accident victim should never speak to an at-fault driver’s insurance company alone. The opposing insurance company is not on your side. The other driver’s insurance company has one goal: to ensure that the company’s bottom line is protected. The insurance company may offer a small settlement that does not cover your damages. Insurance companies attempt to invalidate injured people’s claims to keep costs down. Insurance companies bet on accident victims’ inability to prove their injuries.
Unfortunately, an insurance company can easily ignore a claim for anxiety. A car accident lawyer is an advocate an injured person needs in their corner.
A car accident lawyer will represent your interests to the insurance company. A car accident lawyer works for you and will fight as hard as the insurance company fights for its bottom line. Insurance companies work hard to avoid paying for any injury. Insurance companies ask injured people questions designed to trip them up, but an experienced accident attorney can help you avoid pitfalls that you may not anticipate on your own.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect?
Car accident lawsuits help victims become whole after suffering from an accident. Compensation can be for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include damages that are monetary losses and easy to quantify.
Economic damages include things like:
- Lost income. If your anxiety caused by a car accident has made you lose income, you are entitled to compensation. Keep good records of your days off. If your employer requires you to give a reason for your absence, be honest. If your absence records are discovered in the fact-finding stage of the lawsuit, having an independent record of why you missed work will be helpful to prove your claim.
- Medical bills. Keep track of your medical bills. A consistent record of caring for your injuries helps clarify to the insurance company, jury, or judge that the accident hurt you. The more money you spend on medical care, the more likely insurance companies will take your claim for anxiety seriously. A good record of medical care helps your accident lawyer prove your damages to an insurance company or a court.
Non-economic damages include losses that are not necessarily monetary but compensate an accident victim for the harm they suffered.
Non-economic damages include:
- Mental and emotional anguish. Mental and emotional anguish are intangible losses. These claims include loss caused by anxiety. An accident victim with anxiety after an accident experiences a decrease in their quality of life, and the at-fault driver should compensate for that. Proving intangible losses can be difficult. To ensure that you recover full compensation for your loss, speak to an experienced accident lawyer. Accident lawyers know how to get the maximum recovery for their clients. Don’t go against big insurance companies on your own. Get a qualified legal team on your side to get the recovery you deserve.
How Will I Pay My Legal Fees?
Many accident victims worry about the cost of pursuing compensation. The thought of massive legal fees puts them off, and instead of getting the help they need, they try to get by with their conditions caused by the accident. However, it is not necessary to put off pursuing legal action against an at-fault party because of the fear of legal fees. Many accident attorneys use contingency fee structures for their clients.
A contingency fee allows clients to defer legal payments until after the case settles. An accident lawyer and client must agree to the terms of the agreement. The majority of accident attorneys charge based on the outcome of the case. It is called a contingency fee. The contingency fee structure allows accident victims to pursue justice without having to front the litigation costs. The attorney and client should discuss a contingency fee agreement and sign.
Lawyers must follow specific ethical rules. According to the applicable ethical laws, lawyers can only set up contingency fee structures in some instances. Car accident cases permit a contingency fee. The contingency fee structure is usually not used in criminal and family law cases. An agreement on contingent fees must be in writing and thoroughly discussed. The lawyer and the client cannot deviate from the contract terms.
By keeping legal fees low, contingent fees benefit the client. A contingency fee sets the amount paid at the end of the case, no matter how long the case takes. An injury lawyer usually charges a client one-third of the settlement amount plus reimbursement of litigation expenses if they are not prepaid. The client has complete control.
When accidents injure people, they often shy away from pursuing their deserved compensation due to the fear of legal fees. Most accident victims find that contingent fee structures ease their minds and give them the confidence they need to go after the big insurance companies and defense law firms for the money they deserve.
The terms of the agreement may vary. Your accident attorney will tell you how they structure their contingency fees. Contingency fee structures take the pressure of paying legal fees upfront off the accident victim and help them seek justice.
Contact an Accident Lawyer Today
Getting into an accident can be one of the scariest moments of your life. Putting the pieces back together on your own can be overwhelming. It can be challenging to get your life back post-accident.
An experienced car accident attorney can save you a lot of stress as you navigate the healing process and recover the compensation you deserve. Create a legal team that protects your right and works as hard for you as the corporate lawyers for the big insurance companies who work for their clients.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.