A car accident can be extremely traumatic and have a long-term effect on your life. Besides physical injuries, it can also lead to mental and emotional trauma, such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, you can experience anxiety following an accident even if you suffered no bodily harm or if you only witnessed it.
Mental trauma after a car accident can impact every aspect of your life, well-being and overall health. It may affect your ability to work and socialise and can even lead to financial losses and expenses. If another party was at fault, you could claim for anxiety after a car accident.
If you would like to find out if you have a valid compensation claim, please call 0800 678 1410 today to speak to a legal adviser. Using our online claim form, you can also request a call back with no obligation to proceed.
What are the symptoms of anxiety after a car crash?
Experiencing or witnessing a road accident can be traumatic, and it is common to develop anxiety symptoms afterwards. These can range from mild unease to debilitating panic attacks. In severe cases, such as after a serious car accident or witnessing the death of a loved one, you may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One of the most common consequences is anxiety driving after a car accident. Some people experience symptoms of fear and dread even when faced with the possibility of sitting in a car. Whether you are afraid to drive or get near a vehicle, this is known as travel anxiety.
Other symptoms of mental trauma after a car accident may include the following:
- Increased muscle tension, which may result in muscle aches, headaches, or jaw clenching
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Stomach aches, nausea, loss of appetite, or other digestive issues
- A rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Shallow breathing, chest pain and a sensation of breathlessness
- Feeling dizzy
- Excessive and irrational worry about various aspects of life
- Racing thoughts, making it difficult to focus or concentrate on tasks
- Intrusive thoughts or vivid mental images related to the car accident
- Irrational fears or phobias, such as a fear of driving, riding in cars, or being in similar situations
- Emotional symptoms, such as fear, dread, nervousness, and a sense of impending danger or doom
- Avoiding situations, places, or activities associated with the car accident, such as getting into a car
- Isolation and withdrawal from social activities and relationships
- Difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep
- Increased irritability, making it challenging to interact with others
- Safety behaviours, such as always driving slowly, avoiding specific routes, or constantly checking your vehicle
- Some individuals may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other substances as a way to cope with anxiety
It is essential to recognise these symptoms and seek care from a mental health provider if they persist. It would be best to also look for legal advice as soon as possible. If another party was at fault, you could claim compensation for anxiety after a car accident.
Can I claim for psychological injuries after an accident?
If you suffer from anxiety following a car accident, you may be able to pursue compensation. Like with any other car accident claim, your solicitor must be able to prove the following to have a valid case:
- Another party owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty by acting negligently or recklessly
- Their actions caused a road traffic accident
- You suffered anxiety and other potential losses as a result
In a road traffic accident claim, the other party will typically be:
- Another driver or road user
- The authorities responsible for road maintenance, such as the local council or National Highways
Your solicitor will refer to the legislation to prove a duty of care and liability. That could be the Road Traffic Act 1988 or the Highways Act 1980. If they can establish liability, your solicitor will contact the defendant and inform them of your intentions to start a claim for compensation.
In case of a hit-and-run or if the other driver is uninsured, you could seek compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
What evidence do I need to make a claim?
If you were involved in a car accident and want to make a personal injury claim for anxiety, you will need evidence to show:
- How the accident occurred
- Who was at fault for it
- The injury you sustained
- How this has affected your life
Because the symptoms of mental trauma are not visible, it may be challenging to prove. However, an experienced solicitor can help you gather the evidence you need to claim for anxiety after a car accident, which may include:
- Dash cam or CCTV footage of the accident
- Photographs or videos taken at the scene before anything is moved
- Pictures of any visible injuries that may have contributed to your mental distress
- Contact details of witnesses so they could provide a statement later on
- The name and insurance details of the other driver
- Any evidence regarding out-of-pocket expenses, such as receipts and invoices
- A copy of your medical records stating the physical and psychological injuries you have suffered
- A letter or other documents from a psychologist or psychiatrist could help support your claim.
If you have anxiety driving after a car accident, the solicitors we work with can help you gather everything you need to make a successful claim.
Common causes of road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Distracted driving, which includes activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating or adjusting the radio
- Driving at speeds higher than the posted speed limit or too fast for road and weather conditions
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Fatigue driving, which can be just as dangerous as impaired driving
- Aggressive behaviours like tailgating, road rage and weaving in and out of traffic
- Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, fog, and heavy winds
- Disobeying traffic signals, such as running red lights and stop signs
- Potholes, uneven road surfaces, lack of proper signage, and poor road maintenance
- Mechanical failures or defects in vehicles, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, or steering issues
If you suffered a psychological injury after a car accident that was not your fault, you could be able to claim compensation. To find out if you are eligible to claim, get in touch today by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free case assessment.
How can mental trauma impact your life?
Mental trauma after car accidents can impact the sufferer and their loved ones in various ways. Some examples include:
- It may affect your relationships and cause you to avoid social situations;
- It can lead to physical health issues, such as headaches, muscle pain and shortness of breath;
- It can affect your sleep and cause fatigue;
- Substance abuse, as some people may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms;
- A fear of driving or getting into a vehicle again, especially if the accident was severe or resulted in injuries, making it more difficult to commute;
- Reduced overall quality of life;
- Lost wages due to inability to work;
- Other financial expenses for medication and counselling;
- It can lead to avoidance behaviours, which may limit your freedom and daily activities;
- It can affect job performance due to difficulty concentrating and other symptoms.
A car accident can also lead to PTSD, characterised by flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and emotional numbing. These symptoms can be highly distressing and severely interfere with daily life.
If another person was at fault for your accident, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. Your solicitor will ensure the car accident compensation provides for all the ways your life has been affected.
How to get over anxiety after a car accident
If you have anxiety driving after a car accident, it may seem complicated to get over it. Recovery may take time, and it is essential to be patient with yourself. Here are some steps and strategies that may help:
- Seek the help of a healthcare specialist who can help you work through your fears. They may recommend treatments like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines like antidepressants to manage severe anxiety symptoms.
- Join an anxiety support group that can understand your feelings and what you have been through. This can provide a safe space to process emotions and heal.
- Educate yourself about the effects of trauma and read about how to get over anxiety after a car accident.
- Focus on self-care and make sure you get enough sleep and exercise. Eat healthy and balanced meals, socialise and focus on your hobbies and interests.
- Keep a journal and write about the accident and how you feel.
- Seek support from family and friends and talk to them about the accident and how it has affected you.
- Get used to being in a car again by starting as a passenger.
- Get back behind the wheel as soon as you feel comfortable. Start driving in a quiet neighbourhood and work with a driving instructor if necessary.
A car accident can be terrifying, so it is essential to be patient and allow yourself time to heal. If you want to claim compensation after a car accident, you should also consult with an experienced solicitor as early as possible.
Frequently asked questions:
If you want to claim compensation for anxiety after a car accident, you may have further questions about the claims process. Below, we have touched on some of the most common concerns we hear from claimants. For more information about how to make a claim for anxiety, do not hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back.
Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?
If your loved one has suffered severe anxiety or PTSD after a car accident, you could claim on their behalf. To claim for a loved one, your solicitor will help you apply to the court to be named as their litigation friend.
Children may also develop anxiety after car crashes. Depending on their age, symptoms may include separation anxiety, sleep and school problems, stomach aches and changes in usual behaviour. You could also make a compensation claim for your child as their litigation friend.
What is the time limit to start a claim?
It’s your right to claim compensation after a car accident if this was due to someone else’s negligence. However, there are strict time limits for initiating legal proceedings. Under the Limitation Act 1980, you typically have three years from the date of an accident to claim. There are some exceptions to this time limit:
- For children, the time limit only begins on their 18th birthday. From then, you have until your 21st birthday to start an anxiety compensation claim.
- The time limit is suspended indefinitely if the injured party does not have the mental capacity to claim. That could be due to PTSD or a pre-existing condition like Down syndrome. A litigation friend could start legal proceedings for them at any time.
- You could also claim compensation for emotional distress following a car accident abroad. In this case, the time limit may depend on the foreign country’s laws and could be shorter than three years.
How much compensation for anxiety after a car accident?
Each case is unique, and various factors will affect how much compensation you could receive for psychological trauma after a car accident. These are grouped into two types of damages that are included in every personal injury claim:
General damages cover the pain, suffering and loss of amenities caused by the mental trauma. They will depend on the initial severity of your condition and any ongoing symptoms. According to the Judicial College guidelines, you could receive:
- £690 to £1,370 for travel anxiety with recovery within 28 days
- £1,370 to £2,450 for minor injuries and travel anxiety with recovery within three months
- £3,950 to £8,180 for anxiety disorders with almost complete recovery and some persisting minor symptoms
- Around £4,670 for mental anguish
- £3,950 to £100,670 for post-traumatic stress disorder, depending on severity and recovery time
Special damages cover the losses you have suffered financially due to your condition. Some examples include loss of earnings, travel costs, prescriptions and counselling.
Can I claim for anxiety on a No Win No Fee basis?
If you are entitled to compensation for anxiety after a car accident, the solicitors we work with will help you claim on a no win no fee basis. That means you do not have to pay them any upfront fees; they only get paid if your case succeeds. This service makes the claiming process less stressful and ensures you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.
As part of your agreement, your solicitor will ensure you have After the Event (ATE) insurance against the legal expenses incurred during litigation. The ATE will cover all your costs if you lose, including the defendant’s, so there is no financial risk to you.
Please do not hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 or use our online claim form to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. They will determine within minutes whether you can claim and answer any questions you may have.