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Fighting the Emotional War After a Car Accident

May 31, 2016 - Car Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys have helped countless victims who suffered serious injuries all because another party failed to exercise due care. Physical injuries can take a long time to heal, and they can also leave victims with permanent disabilities. Regardless of the level of physical injury, however, involvement in a car accident can leave deep emotional scars that can have a profound effect on someone’s ability to live a normal life.

Physical Injuries and Psychological Ones Are Not Always Connected

Most people who have been in a car while witnessing a vehicle speeding toward them can probably remember the experience with specificity, even if years have passed since the incident. Some people can file the memories away in their minds, but, according to WebMD, car accidents do not have to be fatal or even cause serious physical injury to have profound psychological effects on many accident victims.  Some of the common psychological issues can include:

  • Anxiety symptoms, which are often experienced as panic attacks and can appear for no apparent reason. These attacks can include sudden fear and nervousness, along with physical changes, such as sweating, dizziness and heart rate acceleration. Left untreated, this condition can become debilitating, particularly since fear of the attacks themselves commonly becomes a major source of anxiety.
  • Depression is also a serious disorder. This is not the same as an occasional feeling of sadness; it is a longer-term condition that can affect sleep, appetite and energy levels. Left untreated, some sufferers even have thoughts of suicide.
  • Phobias are generally irrational fears, but they are so severe that they prevent sufferers from participating in common activities, such as getting into a car. These fears can be substantial enough to stop individuals from conducting the normal activities of life, like going to work or maintaining healthy social relationships.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is well-known when related to military members returning from war zones, but it actually relates to the effects of any traumatic event — even car accidents. The condition actually affects brain function and causes flashbacks, jumpiness, emotional detachment and any number of other symptoms that have debilitating effects on relationships and everyday life.

Clearly, the psychological effects of car accidents are very real, but without clear evidence, anyone from insurance companies to juries can view them with suspicion.

No Single Formula Exists to Quantify the Value of Psychological Trauma

To some degree, it is possible to accurately predict the expenses related to psychological treatment or even the inability to go to work, but how can anyone place a value on damaged relationships and other psychological losses? These damages fall under the category of pain and suffering and Alabama law has no set standard for determining its value.

One common method for valuing pain and suffering is to apply a multiplier to the costs of physical injuries, but this method is often insufficient, particularly when accident victims suffer greater psychological injuries than physical ones. This is why it is so important for auto accident lawyers to work closely with their clients to help uncover evidence related the deepest nature of their conditions — and help protect their full rights to compensation.

Additional Resources:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Mayo Clinic

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