Car accidents happen quickly, with no time for mental preparation for the aftermath of injuries and financial losses. Some people are so shocked by the accident that they generalize the horrific events of the crash to driving. This is because the brain learns through associations between internal feelings and external stimuli. A wreck often evokes extreme distress and anxiety, which becomes associated with the car. Talk to a Tennessee auto accident lawyer about filing a personal injury claim if you are suffering psychological trauma after a wreck.

PTSD and Emotional Distress

When someone encounters something they perceive as stressful, their hypothalamus initiates the flight or fight response, which induces several physiological and psychological changes throughout the body. These effects usually subside after the threat is removed, but they continue for some people. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) describes what happens when the effects continue for a month or longer.

Any traumatic incident, like a car accident, can induce PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD can be summed up as emotional distress and include:

  • Nightmares;
  • Reliving the trauma repeatedly;
  • Avoiding anything related to the incident;
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Emotional outbursts; and/or
  • Depression/depressive episodes.

Treatments for PTSD can be costly if someone does not have adequate health insurance because PTSD is not cured with just one therapy session or treatment. Often times, a patient with PTSD will partake in therapy for months, or even years. Prescribed medications may be given regularly with continued therapy sessions if therapy alone is ineffective

Compensation for General Damages

You can still sue for general damages if you are not diagnosed with PTSD. General damages are subjective and do not come with fixed dollar amounts. These are given for pain and suffering, emotional distress, infertility due to injuries from the accident, amputations, or relationship strains directly tied to the accident.

Multiple aspects of a wreck can cause distress like the abruptness of the incident, the violent nature of the wreck, or your body’s physiological stress reaction. Knowing you have to pay medical bills for injuries you sustained can create distress in anyone who is already struggling financially. If your child or loved one was severely injured or killed in the wreck, this can also cause great emotional pain.

All of these factors will need to be considered when attempting to file a personal injury claim if you did not suffer physical injuries. However, if you did suffer physical injuries with emotional distress, you can sue for both.