Unseen Wounds: The Consequences of Anxiety and PTSD After a Car Accident

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Paige* is a 62-year-old woman who works as a secretary in Putnam County Schools. She is the golden standard for health in your sixties. In fact, she jokes to her colleagues that the only medication she needs is her vitamins. One day, after school Paige is driving home from work when a bus pulls out in front of her. Her driver’s side is T-boned. An ambulance is called to the scene as Paige is rushed to the hospital for her injuries. Flash forward one month after the car accident, Paige is ongoing physical therapy for neck and head injuries sustained in the wreck. But Paige experiences another side effect, one that often goes unseen. She is now afraid to drive in vehicles, whether as a driver or a passenger. The anxiety she experiences whenever she has to go anywhere is unbearable and Paige eventually gets on anxiety medication simply to ride to and from her PT appointments. She does not think to call her personal injury lawyer and does not know that this type of emotional injury – anxiety – can greatly affect her claim. 


As an experienced personal injury attorney, I’ve witnessed the physical and emotional toll car accidents can have on victims. While visible injuries are often apparent, it’s essential to recognize the severity of mental health conditions that can follow a traumatic event like a car crash. As we saw with Paige, victims can suffer a wide range of emotional wounds such as anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It is important to remember this may be a part of yor car wreck case. Call an expereinced car wreck attorney in Cookeville to get you the compensation you deserve. 

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Understanding Anxiety and PTSD

Anxiety After a Car Accident: Car accidents can lead to intense feelings of anxiety. Individuals may experience persistent worry, racing thoughts, and physical symptoms like increased heart rate or shortness of breath. Anxiety can interfere with daily life and impact one’s ability to drive or even ride in a car again.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can develop after a traumatic event. Car accidents are common triggers for PTSD. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and avoidance of situations resembling the accident. PTSD can be debilitating and requires professional treatment.

Documenting Anxiety and PTSD

If you suspect you have anxiety or PTSD after a car accident, it’s crucial to seek help from a mental health professional. They can diagnose your condition, provide therapy, and recommend appropriate treatment options.


It is also a good idea to keep a journal of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Note instances of panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, and any triggers that worsen your anxiety or PTSD. This documentation can be valuable in demonstrating the severity of your condition. 

Request and retain copies of your medical records, including those related to mental health evaluations and treatment. These records provide evidence of your diagnosis and the medical care you’ve received. You should be sharing this documentation both with your health care provider so they can treat you effectively but also to your car accident attorney. All documentation is worth revewing when it comes to your treatment, health, and accident claim. 

When to Inform Your Doctor

If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or PTSD, it’s essential to inform your healthcare provider as soon as possible. We are advocated of early disclosure so that you may get the best treatment available to you. Your medical professional may refer you to a mental health specialist for evaluation and treatment. 

Early disclosure allows your doctor to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. 

A woman sitting on a couch, her hands clasped tightly together, displaying signs of anxiety.
Source: https://www.brainsway.com/knowledge-center/

Regular monitoring of your condition is vital to track progress and adjust treatment as necessary.  We have seen clients need months, or years, of treatment. Save all of this documentation and provide your accident attorney as soon as possible. 

Anxiety and PTSD in Car Accident Compensation Claims

In Tennessee, to include anxiety or PTSD as part of your car accident compensation claim, you must establish that these conditions resulted directly from the accident. This can be challenging but not impossible with the right documentation and legal support. In Paige’s case, we were able to prove causation and include her symptoms in her car accident claim. The difference in her compensatio was about $20,000. All of which would have been money left on the table has she not opened up about her anxiety and provided us her medical records. 

Your attorney will work with you to collect and present compelling evidence of your anxiety or PTSD in your claim. This includes medical records, expert testimony, and witness statements describing the changes in your behavior and emotional well-being since the accident.

Anxiety and PTSD often require ongoing treatment, which can be costly. Your claim may include compensation for past and future medical expenses related to your mental health treatment.

In Tennessee, car accident victims may also be eligible for pain and suffering damages. This can include compensation for the emotional distress, anxiety, and PTSD you’ve experienced due to the accident.

Tips for Strengthening Your Claim

  • Maintain Consistency

    Consistency is key when documenting your condition. Continue therapy and treatment as recommended by your healthcare providers, and keep detailed records of your progress.
  • Expert Witnesses

    Your attorney may enlist the help of mental health experts to testify about the severity and causation of your anxiety or PTSD. Their professional opinions can bolster your claim.
  • Witness Statements

    Collect statements from friends, family members, or coworkers who have noticed changes in your behavior or emotional well-being since the accident. These witnesses can provide valuable testimony.
  • Consult an Experienced Attorney

    Car accident claims involving mental health conditions can be complex. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the nuances of such cases in Tennessee. They can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your rights.
A red car sits on top of a pile of coins and a calculator, potentially indicating an accident claim involving the vehicle.
Source: https://sharepowered.com/can-i-keep-cash-from-my-car-insurance-and-not-fix-my-car

The Importance of Self-Care

Remember, recovering from anxiety or PTSD after a car accident is a journey that takes time. Be patient with yourself and prioritize self-care. If you are in treatment, work closely with your mental health professional to learn coping strategies and therapeutic techniques to manage your symptoms.

Lean on your support system—friends and family can provide invaluable emotional support during your recovery. An experienced attorney can help alleviate the legal burdens, allowing you to focus on your mental health and overall well-being.


Anxiety and PTSD are serious mental health conditions that can profoundly affect your life after a car accident. It’s essential to seek professional help, document your symptoms, and inform your doctor as soon as you suspect these conditions. In Cookeville, these conditions can be factored into your car accident compensation claim when properly documented and established as a direct result of the accident. And experience attorney will know how to improve your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your claim. By working with an experienced attorney and maintaining a consistent approach to your recovery, you can secure the compensation and support you need to move forward with your life. Remember that your mental health matters, and seeking help is a sign of strength and resilience.

*The names in this story may have been changed in order to protect the privacy of our clients.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog or on this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific subject matter. No person should act or refrain from acting due to any content included in the site without seeking legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the person’s state. The Firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this blog or website.

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