Call us!  (912) 461-6798
Call us!  (912) 461-6798

mental health issue from car accident

Mental health disorders are not always the result of a chemical imbalance. Often, traumatic events trigger mental health disorders, especially those related to anxiety and depression.

The good news is, there’s help for people in these specific situations. If you were in a car accident and are struggling to cope or to live as you normally would, you may be able to make a claim and receive compensation through what is known as “emotional distress” damages.

Emotional distress is part of a larger category of damages known as “non-economic damages.” They’re more difficult to assign a specific dollar amount, but an experienced attorney will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Keep reading to learn about car accident-related mental health issues and emotional distress damages.

Defining Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is defined as “mental anguish, suffering, or torment.” It can be caused by physical injuries, such as those sustained in a car accident, or by the emotional reaction to a traumatic event.

In the law and insurance worlds, “emotional distress” can refer to several different conditions, including:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, see a doctor. Then, speak to a lawyer about your legal options.

Can I receive compensation for emotional distress?

Compensation for emotional distress can be a complex issue. Many factors need to be considered, such as the type of emotional distress you are experiencing and the specific cause of the distress.

If you are experiencing emotional distress as a result of a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation from the driver who caused the accident.

However, you will need to prove that the emotional distress was caused by the accident and not by something else.

Symptoms and Diagnoses of Emotional Distress


PTSD is a mental illness that can be caused by exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from others
  • Anger and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

Like physical injuries, mental health disorders require prompt treatment. PTSD is a relatively common disorder, so don’t be afraid to discuss your symptoms with your doctor or counselor.


Anxiety is a mental health disorder that is characterized by stress or fear. Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive worry
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling tense or jumpy

Anxiety is completely treatable. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They can rule out other problems and possibly refer you to a behavioral therapist.


Depression is a mental illness that can be caused by stress, fear, loss, or sadness. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or suicide

Most adults deal with depression at some point during their lives. Always reach out to someone right away if you’re encountering frequent feelings of hopelessness. Like other mental health challenges, there is help available.

How to Prove a Car Accident Caused Trauma

If you are looking to receive compensation for mental health issues from a car accident, you will need to prove that the accident was the cause of the trauma.

There are several ways to do this:

Medical Records

If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness as a result of the accident or kept your doctor up to date with mental health-related symptoms, this serves as evidence.

Witness Statements

If you have witnesses who can testify that the accident caused your emotional distress, such as someone who lives with you, this bolsters your claim. They can explain how your behavior changed following the event.

Police Reports

When the police who responded to the scene of the accident created their report, they may have made note of your emotional state. Obtain a copy of the police report, review it, and make sure your attorney does, too.


If you have any photographs of yourself or your damaged property after the car accident, they might be evidence that the accident was the cause of the trauma.

Sometimes, actually seeing the physical injuries or wreckage resulting from an accident can make it clear how a survivor would be left with emotional scars.

Speak to a lawyer about your options if you are looking for compensation for emotional distress caused by a car accident.

Emotional Distress Lawyer

If you’re not feeling like yourself after a car accident, you’re not alone. With years of experience helping accident victims just like you, we know what it takes to prove emotional distress.

Contact an Athens car accident lawyer today to speak with an experienced attorney.

Work with the Macon’s Best Car Accident Lawyer


Google Reviews

Get a Free Consultation

1Step 1
2Step 2

Call Us (912) 461-6798


2 East Bryan Street, 4th Floor Savannah, GA 31401