Can a Car Accident Cause Depression?

In Car Accident by Michele Mirman

Few things are terrifying than getting into a car accident. You’re doing everything you can to stay safe, and then, all of a sudden, someone else runs a red light and plows into the side of your car. You saw them coming, but there was nowhere for you to go. All you could do was brace yourself and hope that everything would turn out okay.

Everyone worries about the potential physical consequences of a car accident in New York City. However, it’s just as important to consider the emotional fallout of a crash, as well. An accident, particularly a crash similar to the one described above, can be traumatizing.

It’s entirely possible to suffer from acute and chronic emotional distress – including depression and anxiety – after you get into a collision.

You May Be Haunted By Your Accident

Every time you close your eyes you replay the accident in your head. You can’t escape it. It consumes you. It’s all you can think about. Studies show that this is a reality for many car accident victims. 

According to British researchers, about 33 percent of car accident victims suffer some form of psychiatric distress in the year following their accident. This includes:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Depression, and
  • Phobias.

The study found that these psychiatric consequences weren’t just limited to victims who were sustained severe physical injuries in their accidents. In fact, the assumption that “people who have more severe injuries are more likely to get psychiatric complications” isn’t an accurate one.

Anyone who is involved in a car accident can potentially develop severe emotional distress in the months that follow. It’s the trauma of the crash, and not necessarily resulting injuries, that can lead to depression.

Your Injuries Might Limit Your Ability to Enjoy Life

You don’t have to necessarily suffer a serious injury to suffer from depression after a collision in New York. However, your injuries could certainly cause debilitating emotional fallout. 

Let’s say that you’re broadsided by another vehicle while passing through a NYC intersection. Your car is totaled and you’re rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. Doctors tell you that you’ve suffered severe trauma to the spine and may not regain function in your legs. You may never walk again. 

Even the thought of not being able to walk is, in itself, paralyzing. You’re an avid skier and you love playing basketball and running 5 Ks. You’d planned on teaching your future children to swim and play baseball. Now the things you love and the plans you’ve made might not be a reality. It would be completely understandable if you spiraled into depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression After a Car Accident

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from depression. If you’ve been in a traumatic car accident, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of potentially-debilitating emotional distress. 

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability, especially concerning minor things
  • Isolation, and
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Do not hesitate to seek medical assistance or therapeutic treatment if you experience any of these things after an accident. The costs of your treatment could potentially be covered if you file a personal injury lawsuit.

You Can Seek Damages for Emotional Distress After an Accident

Car accidents can cause a lot of damage. Sometimes that damage is physical. Other times, the damage is beneath the surface. If someone else caused your accident and resulting depression, you can potentially recover compensation from them.

There are two types of compensatory damages you can request after an accident: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages generally compensate for the financial costs of your accident. This can include things like medical bills and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are intended to compensate for injuries that don’t have a set financial cost. These injuries affect everyone differently. Depression, as well as other types of emotional distress, are considered to be non-economic damages. 

Just because something like depression is hard to value doesn’t mean that it’s any less important. Make sure you work with an experienced NYC personal injury lawyer who can fight to get you the money you deserve.