Mental Trauma and Car Accidents | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
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Can I Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Illinois?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury

When thinking of typical car accident injuries, you might picture physical harm—broken bones, cuts, concussions, and other bodily wounds. While these can cause immense pain and require a lengthy recovery, physical injuries aren’t the only damages you can sustain in a car crash.

Victims of a wreck might find that long after their wounds heal and scars fade, emotional distress lingers. Car accidents are often traumatizing for the drivers or passengers involved. This trauma may lead to psychological injuries, which can be equally debilitating as physical ones

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Illinois, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical and mental injuries. Learn more about emotional distress and how to recover compensation for damages.

What is Emotional Distress?

“Emotional distress” broadly describes the mental effects of trauma. You can recover compensation for these damages in an Illinois personal injury claim.

You should seek professional help if you’re struggling to cope after a car accident. A licensed counselor or trained psychologist can help relieve your mental suffering.

Common Psychological Injuries After an Accident

Emotional distress covers a wide range of psychological injuries. These injuries may interfere with your ability to work or perform daily tasks.

After a car accident, common types of psychological injuries include:

Symptoms of Emotional Distress

Symptoms of emotional distress will vary depending on the exact condition. Two people can also experience different symptoms, even with the same diagnosis.

However, common symptoms of psychological injuries include but are not limited to:

  • Significant changes in sleep, i.e., insomnia (trouble sleeping) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Vivid flashbacks or nightmares
  • Feeling sad, down, or agitated
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Extreme sense of guilt or worry
  • Personality changes or mood swings
  • Withdrawal or isolation from friends, family, and activities
  • Low energy or intense fatigue
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Suicidal ideation

If you experience any mental symptoms, contact a trusted professional—especially if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others. A healthcare provider can get you the help you need to manage and relieve your symptoms. You do not have to struggle alone.

Damages for Emotional Distress After a Car Crash

In a car accident lawsuit, a court or jury will award damages if another party is liable for the crash.

Damages are compensation for the losses and harm you’ve suffered from someone else’s recklessness or negligence. There are two kinds of damages possible: economic and non-economic damages. Mental anguish and pain and suffering fall under the non-economic category.

Compensation for emotional distress-related damages can cover:

  • General pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Cognitive defects
  • Panic attacks, excessive worry, or anger
  • Disability for ongoing conditions like severe anxiety disorders

Recovering Compensation for Emotional Distress

If you decide to sue the liable party in your accident for emotional distress, consider the following steps:

Seek Mental Health Treatment First

You must first recognize you need help and seek it out. This can feel like the hardest step. A healthcare provider can diagnose your psychological condition and provide essential treatment.

Mental health treatment can significantly reduce the impact of your symptoms on your life. Treatment for a psychological injury after a car accident can include medication, psychotherapy, and even long-term rehabilitative care.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer

After a car crash, contact a dedicated Chicago car accident attorney. They can provide immense value to your case. Through their experience, they can answer any legal questions, calculate the value of your settlement, and help you pursue the rightful compensation you deserve.

Lawsuits can involve many steps, particularly if you must prove emotional distress. However, your dedicated trial attorney can tackle any challenges that may arise while you focus on your car accident recovery.

Collect Evidence of Your Psychological Injuries

The court will require evidence of your mental injuries. Your attorney can gather documentation, expert testimony, and more to show the extent of your injuries.

Your physical losses can be documented with medical or repair bills. Proving non-economic damages can be challenging. You will not only need solid documentation of your psychological injuries, but you also need to show they are directly a result of the car accident.

Supporting evidence for emotional distress may include the following:

  • Testimony from mental health providers. If you see a licensed professional counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, they may be able to provide written or oral testimony regarding your mental and emotional condition for the court.
  • Prescription medication. Create a list of prescription drugs you began taking after the accident to treat mental conditions, such as anti-anxiety or depression medication.
  • Testimony from friends, family, and other acquaintances. Oral or written accounts from your loved ones can serve as evidence. Their observations on your mental and emotional state after your car accident can support the argument that your damages arose due to the crash. Additionally, objective sources such as your employer, neighbors, and others may provide compelling testimony to support your claim.

Reach Out to a Compassionate Lawyer Today

Before filing a lawsuit for emotional distress after an Illinois car accident, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to advocate for your right to compensation. The compassionate attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., have decades of combined experience helping people throughout Chicago with their car crash lawsuits and claims. We have offices in AuroraElginHinsdaleJolietNaperville, and Waukegan.

Your mental health is a priority at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We refuse to add to your distress with unnecessary fees or financial burdens. Our “no win, no fee” lawyers won’t charge you anything unless we help you win compensation.

Call us at (312) 270-0386  or use our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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