Can car accident lawsuits seek compensation for emotional trauma?

Not all injuries are physical. Some individuals suffer emotional effects after a vehicle crash, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Flashbacks or intrusive memories of the incident
  • Avoiding talking about the crash
  • Avoiding places, people, or activities that remind the victim of the crash
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood
  • Emotional changes

It’s important for victims who believe they may be suffering from PTSD to seek psychological care right away.

Real Case Example

In one headline case is of truck accident victim and television star Tracy Morgan. The former “30 Rock” star was rear-ended by a Wal-Mart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan suffered critical injuries, yet he was the lucky one. A friend who was traveling with Morgan in the same limousine did not survive the crash.

Readers may assume that Morgan’s interview focused on his physical injuries. To the contrary, the actor talked about the lingering emotional pain he felt even after his physical condition had improved. The actor’s confession is significant, since the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological trauma may not appear until a month or longer after an accident.

Yet according to one researcher, any physical recovery after a motor vehicle accident cannot be fully successful if accompanying psychological trauma is not addressed. Said another way, mental health can also affect physical health. Fortunately, a number of therapies have shown some success among patients. Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to reinterpret the trauma through talk therapy. Another approach is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, which actually invites participants to move their eyes as they remember parts of their trauma.

Do many car crash victims include the costs of therapy in their damage calculations? A catchall approach might seek compensation for pain and suffering, but our attorneys have the experience to pursue all damages for which a

Source:  Live Science, “Tracy Morgan Car Accident: Crashes Leave Many with Emotional Scars,” Tia Ghose, June 2, 2015

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