Depression after a car accident is not as well-known or well-studied as anxiety after a car accident or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The limited amount of research may bring some people to believe that depression isn’t a serious outcome, but nothing could be further from the truth. Depression is very real and can be very harmful if left untreated.
The good news is that depression is treatable, and you can recover compensation to pay for treatment with the help of a car accident lawyer. Keep reading to learn all about depression after a car accident, then call one of our experienced lawyers at (866) 931-2115.
*If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or committing suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
How Car Accidents Can Cause Depression
Everyone deals with trauma differently. We all have unique brain chemistry, and you never really know how you’ll react in a situation until you’re in the middle of it. So don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel like yourself after your accident. In a traumatic situation such as a car crash, your body is overloaded with stress hormones that can make you feel panicked, jumpy, and confused.
Later, you might even feel numb or sad. It’s normal to experience depressive emotions in the hours and days after an accident. However, if these feelings last more than a couple of weeks, you might have developed a more long-term form of mental trauma.
Symptoms of Depression After a Car Accident
Depression will manifest differently in different people, even if they were in the same accident.
You may be familiar with some common symptoms of depression, such as low energy levels and disinterest in activities that you used to enjoy. There are more symptoms specific to traumatic events that you should watch out for.
Call a doctor if you are currently experiencing two or more of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or in a depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Experiencing a major fluctuation in weight (loss or gain of more than 5% body weight within one month)
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep almost every night
- Having feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt almost every day
- Daily trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, having a suicide plan, or attempting suicide
This is not a comprehensive list of depression symptoms. You must speak with a psychiatrist or psychologist to receive a diagnosis. When you visit the doctor, they’ll ask how you’ve been feeling and evaluate how many and to what extent you are experiencing the symptoms above.
Langdon & Emison is happy to provide guidance if you don’t have a primary care physician who can refer you to a mental health professional. We have strong connections with many mental health professionals and can get you the treatment you need.
Can I claim for depression after a car accident?
Yes. Under Illinois law, you can seek damages for depression through one of two types of suits for emotional distress: intentional infliction of emotional distress, or negligent infliction of emotional distress. The latter is much more common in car accident cases, as most crashes are caused by another driver’s negligent or reckless mistake.
Attitudes about mental health disorders have shifted, but it’s still important to gather evidence of your depression to prove your case. Insurance fraud investigators are all too eager to disprove claims of emotional distress. Don’t give them an opportunity to question your condition. You can help your car accident attorney by gathering evidence.
Visit your doctor within two or three weeks of your accident and inform them of any depressive symptoms you’re experiencing. Your doctor will document these symptoms, a record of which will prove helpful in your case.
You should also document any prescriptions for antidepressants, and if you’ve begun seeing a therapist, take note of the sessions. It’s also a good idea to maintain a journal in which you can record your symptoms and their progression.
It’s crucial that you maintain documentation of your emotional injuries to recover maximum compensation. Call a car accident attorney at Langdon & Emison for more information about the types of evidence you can provide.
Treatment for Depression
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of depression, seek help from your psychiatrist or family doctor as soon as you can. Your wellbeing is the priority; make sure you are not a danger to yourself or others before embarking on your legal journey.
Thankfully, there are many treatment options available to people with depression. Speak with your doctor to find which option may be the best for you.
Current treatment options for depression include:
- Antidepressant medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants
- Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression but don’t know where to turn, call Langdon & Emison. We can help you find a top mental health provider in your area and get you started on a course of treatment.
Don’t ignore your symptoms; take the first step toward recovery and schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Help for Depression After a Car Accident
Depression is common after car accidents, but that doesn’t make it less painful. Every area of your life can be affected if you don’t feel like yourself. For help finding treatment and holding the at-fault driver accountable, call Langdon & Emison today.
We’re here to fight for you and get you the compensation you need. Call (866) 931-2115 today.