Can I File a Claim for Anxiety Caused By a Car Accident?

distressed man

Car accidents, even minor ones, can be tremendously upsetting. Most people know that they can receive compensation for the cost of treating physical injuries, but may not know that you can also recover for mental health consequences. In part, this is due to the very ableist society in which we live, which still treats mental health as less valid. It can be easy to not acknowledge the role that emotional trauma and anxiety play in someone’s day-to-day experiences after they’ve lived through a car crash. That’s why this blog will explain what symptoms of emotional distress after a car accident are as well as how you might be compensated for your pain and suffering. If you’re experiencing anxiety and/or physical issues after a car crash, don’t hesitate to call a San Mateo County car accident lawyer who will fight to make your burden less heavy with the compensation you deserve.

How Do I Know if I’m Suffering from Anxiety after a Car Accident?

Feeling anxious after a car accident is to be expected, and not necessarily a sign of a longer-lasting condition. In some cases, car accident victims can suffer much more than mild stress, up to and including panic attacks. From minor to severe, car accidents always pose a huge and often abrupt disruption to our lives, and dealing with mental trauma after an accident is understandable and normal.

Sometimes our bodies react to anxiety and mental suffering in ways we might not intuitively acknowledge as such, so it’s good to know some of the ways these conditions can manifest. If you’ve been in a car crash, here are some symptoms you should keep in mind:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reduced patience
  • Increased tiredness, exhaustion, and/or irritability
  • Dizziness

Can I Sue if I Was Mentally Harmed but not Physically Injured?

In California, mental trauma as well as pain and suffering damages are typically included in car accident claims, along with any physical injuries you may have endured. And if you didn’t have physical injuries, you can also sue just for your emotional distress.

A lawsuit for a car accident would be processed under negligence law. Depending on your circumstances, the lawsuit would develop on one of two possible premises: intentional infliction or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress requires that your lawyer prove the following elements: that the defendant acted outrageously, intending to cause distress, and did in fact cause distress.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress, on the other hand, requires that your lawyer prove: that the defendant was negligent, that you as the plaintiff suffered from distress, and that the defendant’s negligence caused your distress.

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