Accident victims may have physical injuries following an incident, whether minor or more serious ones. These physical injuries will need medical attention to heal.
But what about a victim’s possible emotional injuries? Or emotional injuries you might end up experiencing after witnessing a traumatic event?
The emotional pain from the trauma of an accident is as real as the pain that comes from physical injuries, and it needs attention to heal as well. Kane Personal Injury understands how important it is to give your emotional distress the attention it needs. Getting help for emotional pain further ensures you the chance for fair compensation for any damages or losses.
What Personal Injury Emotional Pain Looks Like
Emotional distress is defined as a victim’s mental response to a traumatic event. It might involve severe panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or other types of mood disorders. Some of the more common conditions of emotional pain and distress include:
Anxiety Disorder: One type of emotional pain that can show up as a personal injury is an anxiety disorder. This is where you become hyper-aware of any potential threats to life and safety following the incident. In a constant state of worry, you might also isolate yourself from others.
This disorder can also make you feel unable to manage daily tasks. You might neglect your self-care, or relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. It can cause an inability to perform or launch newfound fears, such as no longer being able to get behind the wheel of a car following an automobile accident.
Panic Disorder: Following a traumatic event, an individual might start experiencing panic attacks. This form of emotional pain and distress is severe, causing you to feel like you can’t breathe and your heart to beat rapidly. You might feel chest pain and tightness, confusing these symptoms with a heart attack, and further your panicked feelings.
What can be especially frustrating about a panic disorder is that it can show up seemingly out of nowhere and without a known reason. A victim then may live in a constant state of fear because they can’t predict when the panic will come over them. This can prevent them from enjoying everyday life activities with those they love and may even make a victim unable to leave their home.
Major Depression: Victims suffering from disabling physical or emotional injuries often experience some level of depression. But, the symptoms of major depression cause the injured person to be unable to function throughout each day.
You may feel tired all day long and feel overwhelmingly negative about everyday life. You may be unable to cope, and think that suicide is the only way to deal with your emotional distress. Medical treatment is crucial. Treatment may include antidepressant medication, counseling and therapy, and perhaps even hospitalization.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is most often associated with military veterans and combat trauma. But, PTSD can also be a resulting emotional pain following a personal injury. PTSD involves you being part of an event that is highly upsetting or disturbing to you.
The triggering event typically involves the occurrence or perceived threat of serious injury, death, or other types of physical or emotional trauma. Disabling symptoms include aggression, insomnia, mood swings, major depression, and thoughts of suicide. Medical treatment is crucial for PTSD as well. Treatment typically involves medication, therapy, and perhaps hospitalization.
It’s important to get medical help to treat any symptoms right away. Any or all of these symptoms can be accompanied by other emotions that anyone might feel after an accident: Varying levels of anguish, embarrassment, fear, irritability, or anger, for example.
It’s also important to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney for legal options in getting compensation for any emotional distress injuries. We understand that witnessing any kind of trauma can lead to emotional pain much beyond what is physically painful as a personal injury.
Potential Causes of Emotional Pain and Distress
Any traumatic event has the potential to cause emotional pain to those directly involved in the event, whether or not they have physical injuries. Emotional pain can also occur in anyone who witnessed it, or is related to the event’s victims or survivors.
Thus, a victim might seek compensation for emotional damages following almost any kind of accident, such as after either being part of or witnessing:
- Being hit by another vehicle
- An attack by a vicious dog
- Complications experienced with a medical event or procedure, including childbirth
- A fall on someone else’s property
- A loved one’s abuse while in long-term care such as in a nursing home
- Loss of a loved one in an accident
Emotional Distress is Not “Pain and Suffering”
With any personal injury case, compensation for “pain and suffering” is often included in a victim’s claim. This type of loss most often results from another person’s negligence and involves the mental anguish that directly results from being a part of the incident and suffering physical injuries from it.
Emotional pain and distress, however, involves the mental distress you might have whether or not you were directly part of the incident or had any physical injuries. Maybe you were a passenger in a car that wrecked, but you were uninjured.
Or maybe you were an outside witness to the traumatic event, but not directly involved or physically injured in it. For example, the victim may have been walking to the bus stop and witnessed a motorcyclist hit head-on by a speeding car. Seeing the accident might cause a debilitating fear of driving to develop in the witnessing victim that they can no longer do so.
Compensation for a victim’s personal injury damages experienced from this type of pain covers a broad range of emotions. Emotions might still range from anxiety and anger to depression and grief. These emotions can traumatize anyone. They can also sometimes signal a more serious emotional injury of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Further Considerations to Emotional Pain Injury Claims
It is important to point out that there are time limits for a victim to file a personal injury claim. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations ranges from three years for injury to a person and four years for injury to personal property. There are also criminal statutes of limitations that may apply. Each type of claim, and each type of criminal charge, may involve a different time limit.
To preserve your legal rights and stay on the path toward recovery and healing, it is vital to move quickly. Working with an experienced law firm like Kane Personal Injury will help you receive fair compensation.
An attorney will help with documenting the emotional pain and distress. They will also prepare an initial demand letter and initiate claims with insurance companies. They help negotiate any potential settlements. And if a settlement is not feasible, they can file a lawsuit that includes a clear outline of your emotional distress damages.
With everything you are going through, the last things you need to worry about are medical bills piling up, a loss of income and livelihood, and how to pay your monthly household bills. Getting an attorney involved might at first feel selfish, but it is the best way to reduce the levels of worry, anxiety, panic, and other emotional pain you might experience.
Please note that this article was created for advertisement purposes, and it does not constitute any contractual legal relationship, nor imply one.