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Emotional Distress and PTSD After an Accident


If you’ve been in an auto accident, your physical injuries are probably your primary concern. You will likely need a formal medical examination to determine the right course of treatment and, if your injuries are severe, time spent in the hospital may be necessary. If you intend to file a claim against the party responsible for the accident, you will need your medical bills and records to justify the compensation you are seeking for your injuries.

Although physical injuries are the primary focuses of personal injury claims, the emotional and psychological effects of auto accidents can also be devastating despite rarely receiving the same acknowledgment. They are legally defined as “emotional distress” and do not necessarily require a medical diagnosis. However, there is a range of acknowledged symptoms, including:

  • Anguish/anxiety
  • Fearfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares

These symptoms can significantly disrupt accident-victims’ lives and regular routines, including going to work/school, caring for loved ones, or even simply getting through the day on their own two feet. Some may quickly manifest fear of driving or riding in cars following an accident, which can prevent them from tending to important matters away from home. While emotional distress is short-lived for some, it can be quite severe for others and persist for long periods of time.

The most common mental condition which may arise after an auto accident is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although PTSD is usually associated with veterans of war, it can be caused by a variety of traumatic events, including severe auto accidents. Studies show that about 9% of all auto accident victims – nearly one in ten – will develop PTSD as a result, and related anxiety disorders and fears of driving may also arise for short or long periods of time.

PTSD can have serious symptoms, including:

  • Intense and involuntary recurring memories of the accident
  • Related flashbacks which may result in “blackouts”
  • Emotional or physical distress caused by reminders of the accident
  • Intense nightmares
  • Depression/mood swings
  • Self-harm
  • Phobia-like fear of cars and/or driving in general

Accident victims who suffer from PTSD may require regular therapy, medication, or other treatments to return to normal daily life, and some cases are considered permanent, though their symptoms can be managed.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you deserve full compensation for all physical and psychological injuries sustained. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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