South Carolina Car Accidents: Recovering Compensation for Mental Injuries and Emotional Distress

July 8, 2016

Car accidents can result in very serious psychological injuries. These injuries take a variety of different forms, from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to severe emotional distress. Mental injuries, though often unseen, cause extensive damage to the victim. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that mental health injuries cost the American economy nearly $200 billion per year in lost wages alone. Psychological injuries deserve adequate medical treatment, and fair legal compensation. In South Carolina, car accident victims are entitled to recover compensation for the full extent of their mental health damage. However, unfortunately, recovering this type of compensation can often prove to be challenging. If you have suffered psychological or emotional damage as the result of your car accident, you need to can an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Defining Psychological Injuries

Since mental health injuries, and emotional distress, take so many different forms, often victims may not even be entirely aware that they are suffering from a psychological  injury. These injuries run the full range from relatively minor unease to completely debilitating PTSD. If you have been involved in a serious car accident, you should always watch out for the signs of mental health injury. Some specific symptoms that you should be aware of include:

  • General feelings of sadness or anger;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Intense emotional distress;
  • Persistent anxiety;
  • Unusual mood swings;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Trouble concentrating;
  • Short and long term memory problems;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Loss of life enjoyment;
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in personality; and
  • In the worst cases, signs post traumatic stress disorder

PTSD always requires immediate medical treatment. If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you should contact both a doctor and an attorney right away. The condition is far too serious to ignore. A healthy recovery requires professional attention. Further, car accident PTSD is distressingly common. According to report from the American Psychological Association, as many as eight percent of car accident victims suffer some form of PTSD. Mental trauma is a common thing to experience after a serious accident. You should not feel alone and you should not feel like you are out of options.

Proving Mental Injuries and Emotional Distress

It is notoriously difficult to prove the full extent of your mental health injuries and your emotional distress. Unfortunately, direct evidence can be hard to come by in these cases. For instance, if you break your leg in a car accident, an x-ray will provide evidence to the existence of that injury. Insurance companies understand the conclusiveness of that form of evidence. Unfortunately, no similar, relatively simple test or examination, exists for a mental health injury or for emotional distress. These injuries are much more complex. However, this does not make your injuries any less real. These injuries still have a dramatic negative impact on the life of any victim. So, while you will likely face some insurance company skepticism when filing a claim for a psychological injury, you still deserve full compensation. This is why It is critical that you hire an experienced attorney who understands how to help you make a strong claim. Some specific ways that you can provide evidence for these injuries include:

 

  • Establishing the underlying cause: Proving mental injuries should always start with connecting the issue to the underlying cause. If the underlying cause was a high speed collision that took place on a South Carolina highway, then it will be easier to establish the connection between that accident and a serious psychological injury. The more serious the initial accident, the easier it will be to prove corresponding mental health damage.

 

  • Personal testimony: You will likely need to prepare compelling personal testimony about how your psychological injuries have negatively impacted your life. There are three specific things that your testimony should always address. First, you will need to provide an account for the intensity of your mental health injuries or emotional distress. Further, you should testify as to the persistence and duration of your psychological distress. Finally, you will need to connect the full extent of your psychological distress to the negative impact that they have had on your day to day life. For example, showing changes that have occurred in your behavior following the car accident can help you establish causation and therefore the existence of a mental health injury.

 

  • Related bodily harm: Physical injuries will always be easier to prove simply because they are more readily apparent. Unfortunately, mental injuries and emotional distress can sometimes be so severe that the mental pain can actually cause physical symptoms. These physical symptoms can be used to help provide proof of your injuries. For example, intense headaches and ulcers are two common physical symptoms that often have a psychological root cause.

 

  • Support from a doctor: Finally, the most compelling evidence will always come from qualified medical professionals. If you suffered a mental health injury or emotional distress in a car accident, it is extremely important that you seek immediate medical assistance. You should continue seeing a doctor for as long as your injury persists. Further, you should always follow the doctor’s professional recommendations. This is important for your own recovery, but also it will make supporting testimony from your doctor much more useful.

An Aggressive South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Mental injuries and emotional distress can be just as traumatic and debilitating as are physical injuries. Unfortunately, the unseen nature of mental suffering often makes recovery more challenging. You need to hire an aggressive car accident attorney in Charleston who can help you recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. At David Aylor Law Offices, our experienced car accident team is standing by, ready to help. If you have suffered mental pain or emotional distress because of your South Carolina car accident, please contact our office today. We will review your case free of charge. Our firm represents car accident victims throughout the Charleston area, including in North Charleston and Goose Creek.

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