Compensation for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident

October 4, 2023

Experiencing a car accident can be traumatic. Not only may they leave you with lasting physical wounds, but you may also suffer mental anguish. While you likely are aware that you can seek compensation for your physical injuries, did you know that you can also pursue compensation for emotional distress following a car accident?

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress refers to the mental and emotional hardships you experience as a result of a car accident. Emotional distress can appear in many different forms, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. 


Post-traumatic stress disorder, or better known as PTSD, occurs in individuals who experience a traumatic event. Being a victim of a car accident and not knowing what is going on as you hear and feel terrifying things is a mentally scarring event. It is common for such an event to result in the development of PTSD. PTSD in car accident victims can present itself in various ways, such as triggered flashbacks and nightmares. Those with PTSD may also avoid getting into a car or stay away from the vicinity of the accident. In many cases, PTSD interferes in your daily life by making you relive through the accident.


After a car accident, you may struggle with returning back to your life before the accident. With some physical injuries, it is possible for them to prevent you from engaging in normal daily activities for a while or permanently. Physical injuries may also make it difficult or impossible to continue with your hobbies. These types of major changes can negatively impact your enjoyment of life, resulting in depression. A car accident can also feel like an isolating event if no one else was there with you. Your loved ones may not completely understand what you experienced, and it can lead to feelings of loneliness. Depression can have an impact on your ability to eat, sleep, work, and communicate with others.


Following a car accident, you may have new or increased feelings of worry and fear for general life events. This is the result of anxiety developed through the accident. With anxiety due to a car crash, you generally experience nervousness or fear while driving or riding in a car. However, your anxiety can also show up in situations apart from driving or riding in cars, such as discomfort in getting into elevators. Situations like that may seem completely unrelated, but they stem from the impact the accident left on you. An elevator may feel similar to being trapped in a car, so it triggers a response similar to if you were to get into a car. Anxiety can lead to over-thinking and having everyday life events turn into unexpected triggers.

How To Prove Emotional Distress?

It is important to figure out the exact mental and emotional effects the car accident had on you. This would start with a doctor’s evaluation and diagnosis of your mental state after the accident. Just as there are symptoms of physical injuries, there are symptoms that a doctor would observe to establish emotional distress, along with any specific conditions such as PTSD

Another crucial step is to gather your past medical records. Emotional distress is considered for compensation only if the mental suffering was a direct result of the car accident. Your previous medical records can confirm that you had no history of mental disorders, therefore, demonstrating that you developed any current mental illnesses due to the accident. Past medical records can also show that even if you may have had a previously diagnosed mental disorder, you received treatment and were on the path to improvement until the car accident exacerbated your condition.

The next step in proving your emotional distress is to contact a car accident attorney prior to speaking with the insurance company. Insurance companies will be searching for ways to lower or deny your claim, and having an experienced car accident lawyer can help you pursue your owed compensation in full. Our team at Ball Eggleston is well equipped and eager to fight on your behalf because you deserve compensation for your mental and emotional suffering.