Types of Mental Health Conditions After a Crash

Michigan Auto Law

A person’s response to the distressing and disturbing nature of a crash can result in feeling a loss of control, helplessness, pain, confusion, loss of sense of self and self-worth, and an inability to cope.

Injuries may take the form of medical conditions such as a brain injury, PTSD, mental or, emotional distress, or an adjustment disorder. These can interfere with an individual’s medical recovery, ability to return to work, engage in activities of daily living, and in severe cases, to productively resume their pre-crash lives.

Below are more details about each of these medical conditions:

Traumatic brain injuries – crashes are one of the leading causes of TBI-related hospitalizations. This type of injury disrupts the normal functioning of a person’s brain. Many significant brain injuries will not show on medical diagnostic testing like MRI or CT, but can still result in profound changes in emotional functioning, particularly in the frontal lobe.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Research has shown that more than 30% of crash survivors suffer PTSD. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing an event such as a crash and it causes survivors to suffer intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Mental distress– This encompasses the mental health conditions or psychological or psychiatric injuries that a crash victim may suffer after having been involved in a collision. Unfortunately, this form of trauma is frequently ignored or downplayed because many people still attach a stigma to psychological injuries like this. The tragic result is that victims’ mental distress goes undiagnosed and, thus, untreated.

Emotional distress – Emotional distress can be as debilitating and life-altering as physical injuries such as broken bones. This is why prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial for making the best possible recovery.

Adjustment disorder – This is a mental health condition that occurs when crash victims suffer extreme stress and anxiety as they try to adjust to their injuries, treatment and impairments in order to live their post-accident lives.


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, then you may be suffering from car accident trauma and you should report these symptoms immediately to your doctor so that you can be promptly diagnosed and start receiving necessary treatment:

  • Flashbacks to or reliving the crash
  • Nightmares about the crash
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the crash
  • Avoiding driving or riding in a vehicle
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities that you once enjoyed
  • Feeling hopeless about your future
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory of events immediately before the crash
  • Loss of memory of events immediately after the crash
  • Dizziness, vertigo or confusion
  • Feeling drowsy and/or difficult to arouse
  • Difficulty thinking clearly and reasoning
  • Difficulty making decisions and solving problems
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Change in mood
  • Decrease in energy levels
  • Change in sex drive
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Sleep disorders
  • Difficulty with planning and organization
  • Increased aggression

Can I make a claim for No-Fault benefits?

In order to make a claim for No-Fault benefits you must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year of the crash.

The No-Fault law’s “priority” rules will identify the insurer with which you must file your application. This insurance company will pay your auto No-Fault insurance benefits, which cover your medical bills and your lost wages if you cannot return to work.

Can I sue for No-Fault benefits?

If your insurance company refuses to pay for – or cuts-off – your auto No-Fault insurance benefits related to the injury you suffered, then you can hire an attorney to bring a lawsuit and sue for unpaid and overdue medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, replacement services and lost wages because your stress and emotional injuries have prevented you from returning to work.

You can also sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation but you will first have to show that the other driver was at-fault for causing the collision and that as a result you suffered a “serious impairment of body function” under Michigan’s auto accident threshold law.

Additionally, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for other economic damages, such as excess and future medical bills and lost wages.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Michigan Auto Law

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