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Struggling With Mental Health Issues After a Car Accident? You’re Not Alone

Mental distress caused by a car or truck accident is not uncommon, and yet, admitting that we’re struggling emotionally can be a hard thing for many to do. If you’ve survived a crash, but the trauma still haunts you, you’re not alone. In this blog, we’ve outlined some next steps if you or someone you love is struggling with mental health after a crash.

Mental Health Issues Are Common After Car Accidents

In the United States, an estimated 8 million people struggle with PTSD each year. While that includes a wide variety of people, including soldiers and first responders, many car accident survivors struggle with post-traumatic stress.

According to a recent study conducted by British researchers, at least one in three car accident victims will develop PTSD, anxiety, depression, or a phobia a year later. Even seemingly minor crashes can spark significant mental health issues that, when left untreated, can become debilitating.

It’s easy to let caring for your mental health slip through the cracks after an accident; you’re busy going to the doctor, sorting through bills, and recovering from your physical injuries. It’s all a lot to go through and in the process of “powering through,” we don’t notice when serious mental health issues emerge.

Unfortunately, mental health can be difficult to talk about, and if you’ve never experienced depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can be tough to understand what’s happening to you.

RELATED ARTICLE: Can I Get Compensation for Car Accident Injuries That Don’t Show Up Immediately?

Signs You May be Experiencing PTSD After a Crash

After a crash, it’s normal to feel a flood of emotions, including shock, grief, anger, confusion, and fear. While some people process these feelings quickly, the emotional trauma of a car accident can contribute to or worsen mental health issues like PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is relatively common after a car crash. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you may have PTSD if you experienced or witnessed serious trauma, such as a violent car or truck wreck, and develop:

  • Nightmares, flashbacks, or unwanted, intrusive memories
  • Emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the crash
  • Avoidance of painful memories or anything that can trigger thoughts of the accident, including people, places, or driving
  • Difficulty remembering the crash
  • Decreased interest in activities and social isolation
  • Angry outbursts and a tendency to blame yourself or others
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive, destructive, or risky behavior
  • Problems with attention and concentration
  • Feeling like you’re constantly in danger
  • Intense startle responses
  • Having trouble sleeping

Typically, these symptoms must last for more than a month to qualify as PTSD.

If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing PTSD, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional who can accurately assess your situation and diagnose your condition. Therapy, medications, and emotional support can help you overcome your accident-related mental health issues.

Mental Health Is Connected to Physical Health

It’s always good to talk about what you’re going through, but there are physical benefits to treating your accident-related mental health conditions as well. Studies show that stress and emotional issues cause or worsen chronic pain. Indeed, in a recent study of people who experienced trauma and PTSD, 30% developed chronic pain.

Mental health treatment can help speed up your physical healing and keep conditions from worsening over time.

What to Do if Your Mental Health Issues Persist

If you are experiencing serious emotional issues after a crash, it’s important to acknowledge and address them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends, or even a support group to talk about what you’re going through. Talk to your doctor about the thoughts you’re having. They can connect you to mental health professionals who can help you improve your quality of life.

Developing a routine of low-intensity exercise, like walking, can also help your nervous system relax and recover. Seeking counseling or therapy can also help you relieve underlying emotional stress caused by your accident.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we also understand that medical bills, the insurance company’s non-stop letters and phone calls, and financial uncertainty can add unwanted stress. You don’t have to fight that battle alone. Our lawyers can help you get the time and space you need to heal, while fighting for the compensation you deserve.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Calculate the Real Cost of Your Car Accident Claim

Mental Pain After a Crash? You Could Be Owed Damages

After a crash, victims of negligence may be eligible for compensation for their damages. This includes the cost of your mental health care, medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been hurt, physically, mentally, or emotionally by a crash through no fault of your own, you deserve justice.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Accident Victims

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand how challenging legal situations are after traumatic car crashes. We fight for our clients because we believe everyone should be able to live the happiest, healthiest lives they can. If your mental health has suffered after a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll evaluate your case for free, and provide next steps, all at no risk to you. You can fill out our simple online contact form, or call us at 251-888-8888.

However, if you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or harming someone else, you need to get mental health care right away. Before you call a lawyer, contact your doctors, visit the emergency room, or call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline for help.

References

Babbel, S. (2010, April 8). The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain

DSM-5 criteria for PTSD (2019, March 28). Brainline. Retrieved from https://www.brainline.org/article/dsm-5-criteria-ptsd

Gradus, J. (n.d.). Epidemiology of PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp

Tull, M. (2018, November 2). The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident. Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/risk-factors-for-ptsd-following-a-traffic-accident-2797197

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills After an Alabama Car Accident?

Nothing is more stressful than watching your medical bills pile up after a serious car accident. You may wonder who is financially responsible for your expenses and may consider sending them to your health insurance company. Fortunately, you have options. In this blog, Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys outlines the basics of accident-related medical bills.

Identify All the Insurance Policies That Apply to Your Claim

Depending on your circumstances, a variety of insurance policies may cover your medical bills. However, without an experienced injury lawyer, you may overlook some of these policies, losing out on valuable compensation.

At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance

Under our state’s fault-based system, someone who causes a crash is financially responsible for the victims’ damages. That means that you’ll need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Alabama car owners must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance.

    • $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
    • $25,000 in property damage coverage

While some responsible car owners carry larger policies, many people only have this minimum coverage. However, a catastrophic injury claim can quickly deplete even a more generous policy.

UM/UIM and MPC Policies

After a crash, you should always review your own auto insurance policy, looking for sources of compensation. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we recommend that all car owners purchase:

    • Medical Payment Coverage: Covers costs from an accident regardless of who caused the crash, including medical bills, lost income, and funeral costs.
    • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): Steps in and pays your accident-related expenses when the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage.

These policies can provide much-needed compensation and cover your medical bills.

Commercial Insurance Policies

Sometimes, you may have multiple liability claims arising out of a motor vehicle accident. For example, if a bar or restaurant overserved a drunk driver, you may have a dram shop liability claim against the establishment. An Alabama injury lawyer can help you evaluate your case and identify these more nuanced legal claims.

RELATED ARTICLE: Alabama Is Not a No-Fault State — Here’s What That Means if You Get in a Car Accident

Should I Send My Medical Bills to Medicare or Medicaid?

If you’re a Medicaid or Medicare beneficiary in Alabama, you have the option to use your government-sponsored medical insurance to cover your medical bills after a crash. When the hospital bills Medicaid after an accident, it will only cover the contracted percentage of the total bill, which is usually 10-20%. If you file a claim against the negligent party and win, you’ll need to reimburse Medicaid and Medicare for the bills they paid on your behalf, whether you win through a jury award or a settlement.

However, we still recommend using Medicaid and Medicare to cover your bills if you have that option available. If you have questions about your health insurance coverage and how you can pay your medical bills after a crash, it’s in your best interest to talk to a personal injury lawyer who can provide direction and counsel.

Will I Have to Pay My Health Plan Back if They Cover Accident-Related Bills?

Many people in Alabama have employer-sponsored or marketplace health plans. If you have health insurance, you can send these bills to your insurer. However, just like Medicaid and Medicare, you’ll have to reimburse them for these costs if you win or settle your injury claim.

Sometimes, you’ll get a letter from your health plan, asking questions about your injuries and accident. If you receive one of these letters, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away; they can help you complete the form honestly and accurately.

In rare cases, the health insurance company will decide to take legal action on your behalf and try to recover its accident-related expenses. Called subrogation, this typically happens when you choose not to file a personal injury lawsuit.

3 Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Medical Bill Claim

If you’re like many accident victims, medical bills make up a large portion of your damages. When you meet with a trial lawyer, they’ll want to know a lot about your treatment, its costs, and your recovery. To help them, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Keep all of your medical bills, receipts, and explanations of benefits in a folder.
  2. Instead of putting “doctor appointment” on your calendar, list the medical provider’s name and the service provided every time you see a doctor or therapist.
  3. Notify your lawyer immediately if Medicaid, Medicare, or your health plan is paying your accident-related medical bills.

This information can help your lawyer accurately calculate your damages, negotiate with your medical providers, and ensure that you comply with Medicaid and Medicare’s rules and regulations.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Protecting Alabama Car Accident Victims

When you’re injured through no fault of your own, you need wisdom and guidance of a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can help you navigate the notoriously complex world of insurance settlements, subrogation, and lawsuits.

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ll listen to your story with empathy and understanding, and stand up for you with tenacity and grit. If you’ve been hurt in a crash and need help understanding your legal options, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (251) 888-8888 today or complete our simple online form. Consultations are free.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

6 Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters and How to Handle Them

After a car accident, you’ll have to negotiate your case with an insurance claims adjuster. Also called an insurance adjuster, claims representative, or insurance consultant, these employees go by various names, but they always have the same goal: to make your claim disappear as quickly and cheaply as possible.

In this article, we’ll talk about some common tactics insurance adjusters use to try and accomplish their goal, and we’ll also provide some tips that can help you prepare for and handle these tactics.

How Insurance Adjusters Operate

When a crash occurs and you file a claim with your insurance company, the claim lands on the desk of an insurance adjuster. The adjuster’s official job function is to decide how much the insurance company should pay you for that claim.

Insurance adjusters aren’t typically bad people, but they work under conditions that make it impossible for them to exercise compassion towards injured victims. Most adjusters have huge workloads of anywhere from 50 to 100 claims per month, and they also feel enormous pressure from their employer to minimize payments on claims. If the adjuster doesn’t do what the insurance company wants, then the company will find someone else who will, and the adjuster will lose their job.

To satisfy their employers, insurance adjusters often apply less-than-ethical practices and techniques to resolve each claim as quickly and cheaply as they can.

Here are six common tactics used by insurance adjusters along with information about how to avoid falling for these tricks.

Tactic #1: Looking for Inconsistencies in Your Story to Discredit You

Your insurance adjuster may ask for an official recorded statement from you describing the nature of your accident. They will use this statement as a tool to manipulate information and misrepresent the situation. For example, they might only ask you about your broken arm and not about your bruised ribs, then claim later that your ribs weren’t hurt in the wreck because you didn’t mention it in the recorded statement.

Remember that the adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money, and the more unreliable they can make you seem, the better off they will be.

Avoid the trap: Don’t give testimony to the insurance company without talking to a lawyer first. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you negotiate this conversation and act as a critical resource in a process designed to trip you up.

Tactic #2: Recording Your Conversations

Many insurance adjusters will call you immediately after a collision happens and ask to speak with you. These conversations are often recorded, and they’re designed to catch you off guard before you’ve evaluated the extent of your injuries and losses or had the chance to contact a lawyer. Any contradictions in your story or admissions of guilt will be used against you, even though you experienced trauma and may have even still been in shock when you gave the statement.

Avoid the trap: Refuse to speak to a claims agent without consulting a personal injury lawyer first.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: Important Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Car Accident Lawyer

Tactic #3: Requesting Access to Your Medical Records

Your insurance adjuster will usually ask for a medical authorization to gain access to your personal medical records. The request might seem reasonable, but if you grant the request, you’ll give them access to all your medical records — even those from before the accident.

Once the adjuster has access to your records, they’ll look for any evidence that the pain you’re experiencing might come from a pre-existing condition and not the crash that injured you so they can avoid paying you fair compensation for your injuries.

Avoid the Trap: Don’t sign anything after a crash unless your attorney advises you to do so.

Tactic #4: Stalling and Avoidance

Between medical bills, missed time at work, and damaged property, medical bills can pile up fast after an accident. Insurance claims agents know this, and they’ll use the pressure you’re feeling to try and manipulate you into settling for less than you deserve. Often, the adjuster will delay your claim much as much as possible to make you desperate. They may dodge your calls, refuse to provide specific information about your policy limits, and avoid putting details in writing.

The adjuster’s goal with these tactics is to push you to the point where you’ll sign a lowball settlement offer just to get a little relief. But if you sign their settlement offer, that’s the end of your claim — you’ll never be able to go back and get more compensation for your injuries, no matter how bad things get.

Avoid the trap: Get as much information from your adjuster as you can in writing. If the adjuster needs to check with a supervisor, make sure you get a date when you’ll hear back from them, and then follow up if they miss that date. Also keep in mind that insurance companies are more likely to make a legitimate, reasonable settlement offer to victims who hire a lawyer.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: How to Prove Fault During an Accident

Tactic #5: Intimidation

Insurance adjusters are experts in the claims resolution process. Many adjusters handle 100 claims a month; meanwhile, for you, this is probably your first time dealing with an injury claim. Your insurance adjuster knows there’s a huge disparity between what they know about the claims process and what you know, and they’ll use this against you. They may say you’re not entitled to compensation and assure you that they’ve seen many cases like yours before, so they know how your claim will play out.

Avoid the trap: Claims adjusters may understand the claims process, but they have just minutes to spend on each case per day. They’re not experts on your claim, nor do they understand the details of your trauma and injuries. By hiring an experienced attorney to handle your claim, you can get someone on your side who understands how insurance claims work just as well as the adjuster and knows the facts of your claim much better.

Tactic #6: Pressuring You to Settle Without Consulting a Lawyer

Some claims adjusters will be so bold as to say that you won’t be eligible to collect benefits if you contact a lawyer or that you can’t afford to wait to seek legal counsel. This is the most unethical of all insurance adjuster tactics since it’s an outright lie.

Avoid the trap: You always have the right to consult an experienced personal injury attorney after a crash, especially when damages for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering are on the line. Getting advice from a lawyer will never damage your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting Against Insurance Adjuster Tactics on Behalf of Victims in Alabama

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we have experience handling complex Alabama car wreck claims with empathy and grit. We understand the true value of your claim, and we know when the insurance company is trying to take advantage of you. When you choose us to handle your claim, we’ll deal with the insurance company and fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you think an insurance claims adjuster is trying to deny you the compensation you deserve, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free, no-risk case assessment. To speak with an attorney from our team, fill out our convenient online contact form or call our offices at 251-888-8888.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.