There may be no words to describe the shock and horror you felt when a tractor-trailer veered into your lane and collided with your vehicle. You may awaken at night, still hearing the sounds of the crash, seeing your world spinning around and feeling the pain of your injuries. Perhaps you watched a loved one die in the accident.
Undoubtedly, what followed was a long period of recovery and readjustment. You may have needed one or more surgeries, extensive hospitalization, and physical therapy to regain mobility and strength. You may have attended the funeral of your loved one if you were physically able. As time passes, your body may heal, but some wounds continue to remind you of what you have lost.
If you and your family have decided it is appropriate to pursue compensation from the trucking company, insurers or others for your injuries, there are obvious expenses to consider. You will want remuneration for your medical bills, prescriptions and therapy sessions. If your recovery requires the use of a wheelchair or hospital bed, you expect to include those costs in your claim. However, you may also consider seeking compensation for your emotional trauma that may manifest in these or other ways:
- Having nightmares
- Struggling to sleep
- Feeling moody or irritable
- Slipping into depression
- Withdrawing from people
- Losing weight
- Showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
While it may be difficult to put a price tag on these losses, the court will weigh the severity of the symptoms, how long doctors expect the mental anguish to last and the seriousness of your injuries that may contribute to your trauma. For example, if the accident left you paralyzed, disfigured or dealing with the loss of a loved one, the court may be more willing to award you an amount closer to the legal cap on awards in Texas.
Proving your trauma
Seeking medical care for your emotional trauma following an accident can have two benefits. Most importantly, it may provide the help you need to avoid progressively worse symptoms that could hinder your quality of life. Additionally, a medical diagnosis and a record of care can improve your chances of a positive outcome if you seek compensation for your mental anguish. Your case may also benefit from your own personal log of your symptoms and experiences dealing with the trauma and its aftermath.
Emotional trauma after an accident is a normal reaction, but not everyone gets over the suffering, especially if the injuries are severe or the accident resulted in loss of life. If a truck driver's negligence has cost you dearly, you have the right to seek justice through the court system.