Emotional Trauma After A Car Accident

Jul 19, 2021 | Blog, Car Accidents

Not all injuries after a severe car accident are physical. Many of those involved can carry emotional trauma for years afterward, especially if they contributed to the cause of the accident. If you have been in a car accident in the state of Arizona and are seeking legal compensation, you may not realize that emotional damages can be a part of your car accident claim. Similarly, if you were determined to be at fault for an accident, you should be aware that those involved may seek compensation for emotional damages you caused, as well.


The legal definitions of emotional trauma and psychological damage can vary across different states and legalities. Additionally, the areas where emotional distress overlaps with auto accidents are not always clear. However, the state of Arizona has long been aware of the psychological damage that can result from negligence, cruelty, or recklessness.

In fact, the state of Arizona will often recognize emotional trauma in a court of law even where no physical injury is present. For example, if a person were to witness their family or friends sustain injuries or pass away as a result of another driver’s negligence, that person could potentially have a legal case for emotional pain and suffering, even if they did not sustain physical injuries themselves.


If you wish to pursue legal action for emotional trauma after a car accident in Arizona, one very important requirement can make or break your case — the physical manifestation of trauma. Generally, the court must see physical evidence and the impact of trauma on the victim’s life for there to be a strong case, and the more documentation you provide on this, the better.

This requirement can make emotional trauma difficult to prove in a court of law because trauma manifests differently for everyone. However, the professional team at the Folger Law knows how to take these cases head-on, especially with the help of a medical professional who can monitor your condition. Some common examples of emotional trauma that manifests physically after a car accident includes:

  • Sleep loss and disturbance, such as nightmares
  • Social withdrawal
  • Chronic exhaustion or fatigue
  • Moodiness
  • Strange behavioral changes, such as new obsessive or compulsive habits
  • Confusion, disbelief, or denial
  • Uncharacteristic fear or anxiety

In some cases, the emotional trauma after a car accident can manifest as more severe issues, such as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), major depressive disorder, acute anxiety disorder, or driving phobia.


Emotional trauma after an accident is extremely common, but not everyone realizes that the trauma may last months (or years) later. In fact, according to the APA, motor vehicle accidents may be the leading cause of PTSD for Americans. Whether you can make a successful legal claim involving emotional trauma is not easy to tell, as it depends on your symptoms and the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Arizona is a comparative fault state. If you were in a car accident and it was determined to be 50% your fault and 50% the other party’s fault, then you may only be able to seek compensation for 50% of your emotional trauma. If the other party experiences emotional trauma as a result of the accident, you may be legally responsible to compensate them, as well.

Regardless of what happens, you need to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help explore your legal options. With the help of trusted medical professionals, the team at Folger Law can help you determine what level of compensation you may be eligible for, as well as what you can do to help build your case.

Call Folger Law today at (602) 774-0033 to start the evaluation process and receive your free consultation.