Besides physical injuries and damage to your vehicle, car accidents can sometimes cause mental health disorders. The chances of developing a mental illness are higher when a person is involved in a serious car accident. This is because a person may have lingering emotions regarding that traumatic event that they are unable to control. If you or a family member is suffering from depression after a car accident, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer. At Reiff & Bily, our attorneys can help you understand all your legal options if you developed depression after a vehicular accident. Our lawyers are here to explain whether car crashes can cause depression.
Causes and Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a mental health disorder that impacts an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. The signs and symptoms of depression can become severe enough to significantly affect a person’s ability to function socially and professionally. There are various risk factors that can affect the likelihood of an individual developing depression and possibly other mental health disorders because of a car accident.
The severity of a car accident is one risk factor that could affect the chances of developing depression. A serious car accident can be a life-threatening and traumatic event that may leave a survivor with psychological damage. This psychological damage may be worse if other people involved in the crash died or suffered devastating injuries. Seeing close friends or family injured in a car accident is a common trigger for developing depression.
Another risk factor for depression is a person having a history of traumatic experiences. The moral and social support a person received when dealing with a prior traumatic event will likely have an impact on how they cope with later traumatic events. An individual who has unresolved issues regarding a prior experience is at a higher risk of experiencing depression when dealing later with a highly stressful event. Additionally, the level of support given to a victim after an accident will also play a role in dealing with psychological trauma.
Other psychiatric conditions can also increase the risk for having depression after a car crash. Some individuals who have symptoms of depression after a car accident may also have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another type of mood disorder.
There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate that a person has depression or PTSD, including the following:
- Experiencing a loss of interest in doing activities you previously enjoyed
- Avoiding conversations or scenarios that could remind you of the car accident
- Feeling easily scared and constantly on guard
- Having frequent flashbacks or nightmares about the car accident
- Experiencing anxiety, nausea, or sweating when reminded about the car accident
- Engaging in destructive behavior like the use of drugs or alcohol
- Feeling emotionally numb or having unpredictable moments of anger and aggressiveness
To learn more about how depression may affect you after a car accident, and whether you may have an injury claim, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
Suing for Depression After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania
If you developed depression after being the victim of a serious car accident, you might be able to receive legal compensation for your injury. When filing a lawsuit for a mental health disorder, you should focus on how the diagnosis has affected your professional and personal life. For example, if the injury has made you feel like you cannot enjoy activities you used to love, you may be able to use this as evidence of your injury.
Mental health issues can be more difficult to litigate, because you need to demonstrate an injury that cannot be easily perceived by other people. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly document all of your experiences, in addition to interactions with therapists or psychiatrists, following the car accident to facilitate the building of your potential case.
Additionally, you should be aware that there is a deadline to file a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania. The filing deadline for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, there is a possibility that you may be able to delay your case beyond the two-year filing deadline. Despite that possibility, it is always wise to pursue a claim as soon as possible.
Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys Are Here for You
If you or a family member is experiencing depression after a serious car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Reiff & Bily possess over 40 years of personal injury experience that they will utilize to help you pursue your legal claim. Our attorneys are here to assist you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (215) 274-0072, or contact us online today.