Coping With Emotional Distress and Anxiety After a Car Accident
Car accidents are among the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2021, traffic fatalities hit a 16-year high, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. It is not surprising that many North Carolina drivers report that they have experienced a traumatic driving experience.
Although driving anxiety after a past car accident may not be a specifically recognized mental health condition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders contains multiple related conditions that an injured victim of a car accident may develop, including:
- Amaxophobia - the fear of being in a vehicle as a driver or passenger
- Vehophobia - the fear of driving, and
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a condition that can develop in some individuals who’ve experienced a dangerous event
After the trauma of being injured in a car accident, some victims may begin to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. To pursue compensation through a personal injury claim or insurance claim, courts have held that “PTSD may constitute such an injury when it is causally related to a motor vehicle accident and demonstrated by objective medical evidence.”
In most circumstances, a person injured in a Charlotte car accident must show a “serious injury” to recover compensation for pain and suffering. Several courts have recognized that emotional injuries, including PTSD, may qualify as serious injuries without physical injuries. PTSD is a real medical condition that can be debilitating and seriously affect injured victims’ daily lives.What are the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD?
It is essential to understand the signs and symptoms of PTSD if you have been involved in a car accident. The sooner you recognize the symptoms of PTSD, the sooner you can begin pursuing mental health treatment. Every case of PTSD is unique, and each patient will have a unique grouping of symptoms. However, some of the most common symptoms of PTSD experienced by car accident victims include the following:
- Anxiety about driving
- Intrusive thoughts related to the car accident
- Nightmares about the accident
- Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Panic attacks
- Avoidance of people, places, or things associated with the car accident
The American Psychological Association has identified that car accidents are among the leading cause of PTSD among individuals who have not served in the military. Additionally, car accidents were determined to be the number-one overall trauma for men and the second-most common trauma for women.Coping With PTSD After a Car Accident
Every case of PTSD is unique. Some individuals recover from emotional trauma relatively quickly. Others do not. 6% of Americans develop PTSD, according to a study conducted by the National Center for PTSD. A formal diagnosis of PTSD must be made by a qualified professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, or counselor typically requires the following symptoms to be present:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom, such as recurring dreams or repeated flashbacks
- At least one avoidance symptom, such as staying away from objects or places that remind the individual of the traumatic experience, such as driving a vehicle
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as being on edge or easily startled
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms, such as loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities or memory problems
Many people experience PTSD while also suffering from physical injuries. A person seeking compensation for damages for pain and suffering after a Charlotte car accident may experience a loss of enjoyment of life. His or her symptoms may prevent him or her from engaging in activities of daily living that once brought joy. Someone who experiences anxiety while driving a vehicle, whether as a symptom of diagnosable PTSD or as a standalone condition, may experience a significant enjoyment of life.Discuss Your Case With a Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney
If you were involved in a Charlotte accident and are now experiencing PTSD or driving anxiety, with or without additional physical injuries, you may be entitled to make a claim for pain and suffering. You may be experiencing emotional anguish because of your trauma, which may hinder your ability to perform daily tasks and enjoy life. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.
Do not hesitate to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn how we can fight for your right to compensation. You will not be charged legal fees and costs until we successfully obtain compensation on your behalf.