In the wake of a car accident, physical injuries get all the attention. Casts and bandages. Doctor visits and rehab. Lost time from work. But the psychological injuries can also be severe and lasting.
A recent study suggests about half of survivors suffer serious depression in the months after a crash, and one in five exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If diagnosed and documented, the psychological component can be compensated under pain and suffering.
A motor vehicle crash can have a lasting psychological impact
Car accidents are such a common occurrence that we forget how traumatic and devastating they can be. Researchers studied the prevalence of major depressive orders (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in motor vehicle crashes, including the mechanisms for screening and detection.
The Australian crash study followed 109 individuals in the months after their car accident:
- Over 50 percent of the victims presented symptoms of major depressive disorder (aka clinical depression).
- About 20 percent presented symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- MDD and PTSD were more prevalent for those who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or cervical strain (whiplash).
Many crash victims develop depression because of chronic pain, sleep disruption, frustration about setbacks or the slow pace of recovery, or the psychological impact of scarring or permanent disability. The study also found a link between major depressive disorders and anxieties about compensation and the legal process. Those who received a timely settlement or some form of financial assistance while their case was pending were less likely to succumb to depression.
Monetary compensation for psychological injuries
When a car accident results in depression or PTSD, those individuals may struggle to return to work or sustain working. They may also struggle in relationships and withdraw from social interaction. Subsequently, their quality of life is diminished because of the disruption to employment and daily living. Counseling or psychiatric treatment for MDD or PTSD is compensable if it is tied to the accident. The same goes for lost time from work due to depression or anxiety, as long as the loss of income is connected
The act of filing a personal injury claim initially increased the anxiety of test subjects. The legal process and dealing with insurance companies is stressful. But ultimately it’s about how the claim is handled and resolved. Your legal representative should alleviate the burdens and provide you with practical guidance and hopefulness. The lawyer should also be able to maximize your recovery by documenting every aspect of medical care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.