Mental Issues After A Car Accident

Man sitting on the floor photo

Getting into a car accident is a terrible experience regardless of whether or not you suffer from physical injuries, but many people find themselves unsure whether they can pursue a claim for mental issues alone. Insurers would like you to believe that you are out of luck if you are “only” experiencing emotional injuries, but the fact is that these injuries are just as real — and just as impactful — as something like a broken leg.

1-800-Injured — as well as the attorneys available through our referral service — understand that your mental suffering is important, which is why we are available to connect you with a proven personal injury lawyer who can help you make sense of your situation. You will be hard-pressed to find an insurance adjuster who will readily admit that your trauma is deserving of fair compensation, but your attorney will fight to get you the money you deserve.

Take a look below to learn more about some of the most common mental issues stemming from car accidents, as well as a brief explanation of how an auto accident attorney can assign a dollar value to something as abstract as “mental anguish.”

Common Mental Issues From Car Accidents

It is not uncommon for people who have been in a car accident to experience some form of mental issue. This can range from mild anxiety or feelings of unrest to more severe problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the most common mental issues that can arise after a car accident include the following:

Anxiety

Many people who have been in a car accident will experience anxiety. This is often due to the fear of being in another accident or because of the trauma experienced during the initial accident. Common anxiety symptoms include feelings of dread, racing thoughts, palpitations, or excessive sweating.

Depression

It is not uncommon for people who have been in a car accident to become depressed. This can be due to the loss of a loved one, injuries sustained, or other factors. Common symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or a general loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Many people who have been in a car accident may develop PTSD due to the trauma experienced during the accident. Symptoms can include flashbacks, fear, nightmares, and avoidance of places or situations that remind them of the accident. Common symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, irritability, and flashbacks, but everyone suffers from this disorder in a different way.

Other mental issues such as anger, mood swings, and irritability are also common after a car accident.

Understanding Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are damages that can be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for any non-tangible losses suffered as a result of the accident. This can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and trauma.

It is important to note that non-economic damages are not easy to quantify, so they can be a challenge for an attorney to argue for — and an easy target for an insurance adjuster to push back against. However, they are still an important part of any personal injury claim and should not be overlooked. If you have mostly suffered from mental or other non-economic damages, your lawyer will need to focus on these intangibles to get you the compensation you deserve.

How Do Attorneys Assign a Dollar Value to Mental Injuries?

Many people wonder how attorneys assign a dollar value to emotional injuries like anxiety and depression when there is no physical evidence to prove this kind of injury has occurred. While it is impossible to say for sure what each individual case would be worth without consulting with an attorney, there are a few common ways that attorneys typically assign a dollar value to mental injuries:

Multiplier Method For Assigning Non-Economic Damages

The “multiplier method” in personal injury law is a common way to calculate the value of an injury on non-economic factors such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

This is done by multiplying the amount sought in economic damages (such as lost wages or medical expenses) with a multiplier between 1 and 5, which is determined based on the severity of the injury. The most severe injuries will merit a higher number (e.g., using a multiplier of 3 or greater), while less severe injuries could warrant 1 or 2. This method can be used to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to for your mental injuries following an accident.

The issue with the multiplier method lies with the fact that it requires your economic damages to be substantial, which may not be a reality if most of your impacts are emotional. For this reason, your lawyer may choose to use the next method.

Per Diem Method For Assigning Non-Economic Damages

The “per diem” method in personal injury law is another common way to calculate the value of an injury on non-economic factors such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

This method calculates damages by taking into account the amount of time that you have experienced symptoms (or will experience them in the future) due to your injuries and multiplying this number with a daily rate. For example, if you are seeking compensation for three months’ worth of anxiety following an accident, you may be entitled to 3 x $250 = $750 per day. This adds up to a total compensation amount of $22,500 for your emotional injuries.

While there is no guaranteed formula that can determine how much money you could be entitled to for your mental injuries following an accident, these are some of the methods that attorneys typically use to calculate damages. Regardless of the method they ultimately use, you can be certain that it will take ongoing negotiations before a settlement is reached, and you may need to file a lawsuit in order to have a judge rule over your case.

Contact 1-800-Injured Today

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Whether you or someone you love is dealing with mental trauma after an accident or have questions about how an attorney might be able to help, 1-800-Injured is here to connect you with a lawyer for a free consultation who is ready to take your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options and fight for the compensation you deserve.