Can You Get Compensation for Emotional Injuries in NY?
The aftermath of a car crash, a slip and fall, or any other accident that results in a personal injury is extremely stressful. Although your physical injuries may only take a matter of weeks or months to heal, the emotional trauma can take much longer to recover from. You may struggle with disturbing memories, anxiety, and other emotions that make it difficult for you to function normally. These feelings are significant aspects of your case, which is why New York law allows you to pursue damages for your physical trauma, as well as your emotional injuries.
How Physical and Emotional Injuries are Related
After suffering a serious physical injury, you may have to receive extensive medical treatment and perhaps even surgery before you can make a full recovery. It can take time for you to get back to your normal routine and you may not be able to enjoy the same activities you once did. If your physical injuries are severe, they can permanently change your ability to perform even basic functions in the same manner as before.
If you cannot function independently, you may have to depend on a caretaker to perform even daily tasks, such as walking or bathing. For most people, this takes a great emotional toll. These emotional injuries may even affect the relationships you have with the most important people in your life. You may become withdrawn and not be able to interact with them in the same manner, resulting in even greater emotional stress. At the same time, you may also experience extreme fear and anxiety, which could lead to sleeping issues, compounding the emotional trauma you feel.
Signs of Emotional Injuries
Physical injuries are much more visible than emotional ones. Emotional injuries are also harder to identify because everyone experiences stress in a different way. After an accident, it is important to recognize the signs of emotional trauma so you can receive treatment for it, if necessary. The most common signs of emotional injuries are as follows:
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Becoming fatigued easily
- Startling easily
- Feeling disconnected from things going on around you
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling mentally confused
- Becoming angry or irritable easily
- Feeling a sense of disbelief or shock
- Withdrawing from social interactions and preferring one’s own company instead
- Feeling guilty about the accident
- Experiencing tense muscles, rapid heartbeat, or other aches and pains for no reason
It is not uncommon for individuals to report feeling the above symptoms after an accident. In New York, these fall under the category of pain and suffering damages, and you can include them within your claim.
How Long Do Emotional Injuries Take to Recover From?
Doctors can often provide a recovery timeline for physical injuries. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to provide the same guidance for emotional injuries. This is because everyone experiences emotional trauma differently.
Almost every person involved in an accident will have some type of emotional trauma in the first few days and week following the accident. If your accident caused more serious emotional injury, you may experience the symptoms for many months or years. Even when you have recovered from the emotional trauma, you may find yourself experiencing symptoms again when a different event causes you to remember the accident.
If you find the emotional trauma becomes worse instead of better, or the symptoms do not gradually get better over time, you could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a very serious condition that usually requires therapy to recover from.
When to Seek Professional Help for Emotional Trauma
After an accident, you will likely turn to your friends and family members to support you through the stressful aftermath. In many cases, this is all that is needed. Not everyone has that type of support system though, and loved ones are not always able to provide the proper type of support a person needs. In these cases, it may be necessary to seek the help of a mental health professional. You may need to speak to a professional therapist if you experience any of the following:
- Active avoidance of anything that reminds you of the accident
- Extreme fear or anxiety
- Recurring nightmares or flashbacks of the accident
- Depression or lack of enthusiasm for the things you once enjoyed
- An inability to function in the way you once did at home or at work
- Withdrawing from social situations
- An increasing need to turn to drugs or alcohol in order to deal with your pain
Speaking to a therapist will not only help you recover from your emotional injuries, but will also help you prove the trauma within your claim.
Proving Emotional Injuries
To receive financial compensation for your injuries, you will have to prove you are suffering from emotional trauma under tort law in New York. You can do this by showing:
- The accident that caused the emotional trauma was the fault of another person;
- The type of emotional trauma you are suffering from, the frequency and severity of the injury, and the impact it has had on your life;
- You have received a diagnosis by a certified and qualified mental health professional; and
- Any therapy you have received, or medication you now have to take, due to the emotional trauma
You will need important evidence when proving the above elements of your emotional injuries. Keep any bill, invoice, or receipt you receive from medical and mental health treatments, as well as any you obtain for medications you have had to purchase. Also, keep a journal detailing your emotional trauma and the effect it has had on your life at work, home, and in social situations.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in NYC Can Help You Claim Damages for Emotional Trauma
If you have been in an accident and are now suffering from emotional injuries, our NYC personal injury lawyers can help you claim the full damages you deserve for them. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our knowledgeable attorneys know how to prove emotional distress, and we can advise on every other aspect of your claim. Call us today at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.