Can I make a claim?

A car accident can result in catastrophic injuries and even death, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Unfortunately, such a tragic loss can also cause emotional and psychological trauma for injured victims or relatives of deceased victims.

Suppose you are involved in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence. In that case, you can file a car accident lawsuit to get compensation for damages, such as medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and lost wages. However, not everyone knows that you can also include your psychological trauma as a result of the crash in your total settlement.

While it is possible to add non-financial losses, such as psychological and emotional trauma, to your compensation, quantifying such damages can be challenging. This article explains when and how you can include non-economic damages in your settlement.

Understanding psychological trauma in car accidents

Typically, insurance companies consider physical or tangible damages resulting from a car accident, such as medical expenses, property damage expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, and others. However, you should understand that you can also include non-financial losses, such as psychological trauma, in a car accident claim.

The question now is: when and how do you know that you are suffering psychological trauma as a result of a car accident? It can take some time to identify psychological trauma caused by a car accident, and it varies from person to person. But some indicators that you may have experienced psychological trauma are as follows:

  • Intrusive memories: Individuals with PTSD or trauma may re-experience the traumatic incident through recurring memories, disturbing dreams, or intense emotional or physical reactions caused by memories of the accident.
  • Avoidance: Those affected often go out of their way to avoid everything related to the traumatic event, including discussions about it or situations that remind them of it.
  • Mood and cognitive changes: People with trauma may develop negative beliefs about themselves or others, struggle with memory function, experience difficulty maintaining relationships, experience feelings of detachment from loved ones, anticipate a bleak future, or lose interest in previously enjoyable activities. They may also find it challenging to experience positive emotions.
  • Altered physical or emotional responsesMany people with PTSD or trauma exhibit heightened anxiety responses, hypervigilance, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame, and may resort to self-destructive coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

It is crucial to understand and recognize the symptoms of psychological trauma in order to treat it accordingly. If you experience this, therapies such as cognitive and exposure therapy, medications and other rehabilitation can help you overcome such emotional damage from an accident.

Making a claim for compensation for psychological trauma in car accidents

In a car accident, the negligent driver must pay for damages. Therefore, you must have the necessary evidence to prove that your injuries and other damages resulted from the collision. In most cases, their insurer will try to resolve the situation quickly and offer a settlement that covers property damage from an accident.

Most people think that they can only receive compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills, car repair costs, and lost wages, because they have documentation to prove it. But non-financial losses such as psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder can also be included in a settlement.

For example, while you were going to work in Los Angeles, you were hit by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, the crash was so serious that you lost a leg as a result. As a result, you can no longer enjoy the hobbies and activities you used to do, resulting in psychological trauma.

How will you then quantify non-economic losses to include them in the compensation?

Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers can use several methods to calculate the total damages from your car accident, including the psychological trauma you suffered.

  • The multiplication method: The multiplication method typically involves adding the non-economic damages associated with quantifiable monetary values ​​and then multiplying this sum by some factor, usually in the range of 1.5 to 5. The severity of the pain and injuries from the victim often determines the multiplier applied.
  • The Per Diem Method: The per diem or daily rate approach provides a way to determine the compensation that individuals receive on a daily basis for their non-financial losses. Unlike the multiplier method, which multiplies economic damages by a factor, the per diem method assigns a specific monetary value to each day the injured party experiences pain and suffering as a result of the injury.
  • Comparative analysis: To determine the appropriate costs for your claim, attorneys may examine similar cases in which compensation amounts have been determined for non-economic losses.

These methods, along with others, are often used by legal professionals and insurance adjusters in personal injury claims to facilitate negotiations and achieve fair and just compensation for non-economic damages, such as psychological trauma. The choice of a specific method often depends on the circumstances of the case and your wishes.

Factors influencing psychological trauma claims

When you include psychological trauma in your settlement, several factors can influence how it is quantified.

Severity of the accident and resulting injuries

The extent of the accident and resulting injuries have a significant impact on psychological trauma claims. An accident that causes a severe impact, such as a collision between a truck and a vehicle, may be more likely to cause psychological trauma than a car accident, resulting in minor damage to the vehicle. Different types of car accidents, such as high-speed collisions, rollovers, or collisions involving multiple vehicles, can lead to more severe emotional distress.

Furthermore, the degree of physical injury, such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or disfigurement, can intensify psychological suffering and result in disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For example, you may experience psychological trauma if you lose a leg in a car accident, compared to a victim who suffers minor cuts and bruises from a collision. Overall, the mental health of people involved in accidents that result in serious injuries or fatalities can be significantly affected.

Impact on daily functioning and quality of life

Psychological trauma can take many different forms, including difficulty concentrating, anger, disturbed sleep, and avoidance of locations or events related to the disaster. Therefore, these symptoms can negatively impact your quality of life if they make it difficult for you to work, interact with others, or enjoy the things you used to enjoy.

For example, due to the psychological trauma resulting from the loss of a leg due to a car accident, you can no longer drive a moving vehicle to work. As a result, you lose your job, leaving you with no income to pay your expenses.

In addition, psychological trauma can cause strained relationships with friends, family, and coworkers, exacerbating emotional distress and interfering with daily functioning. You may lose interest in building relationships with other people because you lack the confidence to do so due to your disability.

Documentation of psychological trauma

Documentation of psychological trauma is a prerequisite for supporting claims in legal processes related to accidents. Proper documentation acts as evidence to justify the psychological consequences you experience after an accident. Without documentation, it may be difficult for your attorney to prove such damages.

For a thorough assessment of psychological symptoms, you can consult mental health specialists such as psychologists or psychiatrists. These experts can determine the extent of the trauma, identify any mental health issues, suggest the best course of action, and provide documentation for your psychological trauma.

You can also keep a notebook or diary where you can record your feelings, ideas, and symptoms related to psychological trauma. This documentation can provide a chronological overview of your emotional experiences, including changes in mood, sleep habits, and daily functioning.

Although psychological trauma and other non-financial losses may be included in your settlement, the following factors should be considered to determine the total value of your damages. A car accident attorney can also advise you on how to properly document such losses and add them to your settlement.

Conclusion

After a car accident, psychological stress is common and can have a significant negative impact on your health and quality of life. While physical injuries may be easier to recognize, the emotional and psychological consequences of an accident are just as real and essential to consider.

You can make a claim for the emotional distress and mental health consequences of an accident by speaking to knowledgeable legal specialists, documenting their symptoms and experiences, and receiving the necessary medical and psychiatric care. If you have experienced psychological trauma, you can pursue recovery and get the money you deserve to start your life over, provided you get the right help and advocacy from an experienced car accident attorney.

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