Types of Traumas After a Car Accident

According to data from UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), California experienced a significant increase in traffic-related injuries in 2021. An injury related to a motor vehicle accident may leave you wondering what trauma effects can arise.

A car accident victim may suffer temporary or permanent injuries, depending on the extent of the accident and its impact. These are in addition to legal and economic ramifications, along with navigating insurance claims.

Victims must be conscious of the extensive trauma, mental pain, and adverse effects that car accidents often produce.

Trauma following an accident; what and why?

Trauma is a physical and psychological reaction to an accident’s stress and unrest. It is not uncommon for victims to feel powerless, helpless, in pain, shocked, and even left with fear and doubts about their self-worth. The fear of getting behind the wheel can result from an injury from a collision. Others may become anxious about traveling in vehicles in general. Despite these common reactions, they can make daily life and activities more challenging.

Six Car accidents trauma-related conditions

Trauma effects after a car accident are difficult to predict, although they are more likely to develop among car accident victims. Among the predominant conditions linked to car accident injuries and trauma are:

  • Acute stress disorder (ASD)
  • Stress response syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Psychological distress
  • Emotional trauma

Acute Stress Disorder: Develops in the days and weeks following an event characterized by an intense and painful reaction to trauma. Some individuals may feel detached or numb in an emotional sense, while others may exhibit unpredictable behavior.

Stress Response Syndrome: When an individual has difficulty coping with or adapting to a particular source of stress, such as a significant change in life, accident, loss, or event. The syndrome is often referred to as “adjustment disorder,” as patients often face hurdles attempting to adjust to life after a traumatic event.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is a psychiatric disorder triggered by scary, startling, or life-threatening events. As reported by the American Psychological Association, car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD in Americans. PTSD is denoted by persistent flashbacks or reliving memories of the event that precipitated the trauma and disorder.

Traumatic Brain Injury: 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and occur when a strong external force damages the brain. These injuries range from mild to severe. However, they account for the majority of disabilities and deaths in adults. Signs of a TBI can manifest immediately or develop over time.

Psychological Distress: Moods can fluctuate wildly and cause painful physical and mental symptoms. Psychological distress can signal the beginning of major depressive episodes, panic disorders, and anxiety. In addition, the trauma can result in impairment of cognitive functions. An extremely stressful or traumatic experience can cause psychological distress.

Emotional Distress: While emotional distress can take many forms, its generally characterized by mental anguish, feelings of hopelessness, self-isolation, and depression. Emotional distress is usually a response to a particular crisis or event.

Many forms of trauma, unfortunately, go unnoticed, undiagnosed, and untreated. Getting appropriate care is imperative. The following are symptoms of trauma to be aware of:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks or night terrors
  • Avoidance
  • Development of new fears
  • Self-isolating behavior
  • Emotional detachment or “numbness.”
  • Mood swings (frequent ups and downs)
  • Insomnia or new and poor sleep patterns
  • Problems focusing or learning
  • Depression or low moods
  • Loss of interest
  • Loss of motivation
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling foggy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite or change in diet
  • Reduced libido
  • Aggressive or unpredictable behavior
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Can compensation after an accident include trauma?

Compensation may be available depending on the specifics of your claim. Consult an attorney specializing in this field to ensure you receive fair compensation. Compensation can assist with medical bills, prescription expenses, treatment costs, therapy, and more challenging to measure losses like pain and suffering. The trauma of a car accident can be grave and debilitating, but an attorney who is supportive and experienced can make all the difference.

How to be Compensated for Your Injuries as a Passenger in a Vehicle

If you have been injured while riding in someone else’s car, you are likely facing many of the same challenges as the driver, with the added difficulty of knowing how to navigate compensation for your injuries when the vehicle you were riding in was not yours.

Can you file a claim through the insurance of the driver? Can you initiate a claim through your own insurance? What if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft when you were injured? You may have a lot of questions following your accident and more confusion than answers.

In this article, we will explore these issues to help you move forward and collect the compensation you deserve.

Can you file a claim through the insurance of the driver?

Yes. As an individual who was injured in the vehicle of an insured driver, you can file a claim for damages through the driver’s motor vehicle insurance company. These damages may include your past medical bills, future medical bills, and lost wages from time off from work. If your injuries were significant, these damages may also include compensation for temporary or permanent disability, loss of earning capacity if you are no longer able to physically work at your job, and pain and suffering.

Can you initiate a claim through your own insurance?

If you are finding it difficult to file a claim through the motor vehicle insurance of the driver, you can also file a claim for compensation through your own insurance company. Typically, your insurance company will demand payment from the insurance company of one of the drivers involved in the accident on your behalf. They may also try to resist dealing with your claim altogether. If your insurance company does pay you for the claim, your compensation will likely be reduced by the amount of your deductible.

What if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft when you were injured?

Being injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft ridesharing vehicle presents its own set of unique questions and challenges. In these cases, there may be more than one party you can seek relief from including the driver of the Uber or Lyft vehicle, as well as the companies themselves.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, the path to and challenges involved with recovering compensation for your damages may be different, but you are still entitled to be made whole by the individual who was negligent in causing the accident, whether that individual was the driver of the vehicle you were riding in or the driver of another vehicle.

Our team of highly skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys can help you navigate all of your options and pursue the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe any legal fees out of pocket, and we only get paid if you win your case in a settlement or court judgment.

For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation of your case contact an experienced Bay Area car accident attorney at Dan Rose Law today.

Whiplash Injuries

Medically consulted injuries associated with car crashes have risen to roughly 4.8 million per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled that the US just experienced an all-time high in traffic fatalities in 2021. Additionally, The Bay Area is home to the 4th most congested city in America and is no exception to the uptick in accidents and injuries. Common injuries related to collisions are back injuries, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burns, and whiplash.

45% of people who have chronic neck pain attribute that pain to a past motor vehicle accident, according to the analysis conducted by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego.

What Is a Whiplash Injury?

Generally speaking, whiplash is a term used to describe an injury to the neck, specifically, a sprain. A rear-end collision is a familiar source of whiplash as it induces the neck’s abrupt forward and backward motion. A sudden, violent jolt can force your neck’s soft tissues beyond their normal range of motion, resulting in a sprain. According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, there are 3.1 million new whiplash injuries each year.

Most Common Causes of Whiplash

John Hopkins Institute finds the most common cause of whiplash injuries is auto collisions, specifically rear-end impacts. Sports injuries can also cause whiplash, particularly in contact sports, and incidents of physical abuse and assault.

The force does not have to be great for car accidents to render a whiplash injury. These injuries often result from accidents in which vehicles were moving as slowly as five to ten miles per hour.

Whiplash: Signs and Symptoms

Before discussing signs of whiplash, it is vital to note that whiplash does not always appear instantly. After an accident, your body releases hormones like adrenaline to shield you from shock and trauma. As well as activating a fight-or-flight response, hormones temporarily mask or reduce pain. Unfortunately, this often results in individuals abstaining from emergency medical treatment (EMT) on scene and skipping an urgent care visit following an accident. A physician should always check you for any signs of injury that may not be immediately apparent in the aftermath of an accident.

Whiplash will almost always result in stiffness and soreness in the neck, which can also radiate to the shoulders. Usually, you’ll notice that your neck is less mobile than it would be if it weren’t injured.

You may also experience any of the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tingling or numbness traveling down to the arms and hands
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling unsteady, disoriented, or dizzy
  • Problems with memory can accompany a whiplash injury
  • Depression and irritability

Tips for Avoiding Rear-end Collisions

Sadly, sometimes accidents are unavoidable due to other drivers’ aggressiveness, speeding, distracted driving, and general negligence. However, defensive and safe motorist techniques can help reduce the odds of a crash. Make sure you pay attention to the road ahead and your surroundings; be aware of the distance between you and other vehicles as you approach an intersection, a red light, and other road slowdowns. In addition to staying mindful and alert, you can avoid rear-end wrecks and other collisions by using your signals and mirrors, avoiding getting boxed in, and keeping a safe distance from reckless drivers you may encounter.

An Injury Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence

Consult with a knowledgeable Bay Area personal injury attorney when you suffer whiplash or any other injury due to another driver’s negligence. At-fault parties should always be held accountable. The cost of medical bills, therapy, prescriptions, and lost wages can quickly add up. Consulting an experienced car accident and personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure proper compensation.

Bay Area Accidents Due to Aggressive Drivers

Aggressive driving, also referred to as reckless driving, is more prevalent in the Bay Area than one may assume. According to The UC Berkeley Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), the rate of fatal and severe crashes has reflected a notable increase. Overall, the U.S. has been experiencing an intense spike in traffic fatalities and serious injuries related to aggressive driving.

In a statement from The U.S. Division of Transportation (DOT), on May 16, 2022, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed grave concerns and stressed the need for an urgent response to a “national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our road.”

Description and Examples of Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is often associated with rush-hour car wrecks; however, it may occur in residential neighborhoods just as frequently and result in harmful and sometimes lethal outcomes.

Aggressive manifestations may include, but are not limited to:

  •   Excessive speeding
  •   Failure to obey traffic signals (red light accidents)
  •   Failure to honor street signs
  •   Tailgating
  •   Weaving in and out of lanes
  •   Cutting off drivers (often without signaling)
  •   Driving illegally on shoulders or driving on sidewalks
  •   Passing or attempting to pass vehicles in no-passing zones
  •   Failure to signal turns or lane changes
  •   Aggressive left turns
  •   Erratic lane changing
  •   Ignoring drivers or the signaling of others
  •   Driving in bike lanes or intimidating cyclists
  •   Disregarding “right of way”
  •   Exerting personal frustration on motorists
  •   Intentionally creating a hazardous merging situation
  •   Swerving (often repeatedly)
  •   Intimidation through aggressive acts or gestures
  •   Purposefully misusing auto horn to annoy, startle, or distract motorists
  •   Deliberately endangering motorcyclists

Dangerous Left Turns in the Bay Area

Being the fourth most congested city makes driving in San Francisco all the more dangerous. An increase in motorists on the roads translates to higher volumes of aggressive drivers and thus reduced time to safely maneuver challenging left turns. The results are difficult driving conditions, dangers to pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, and ultimately, an increased risk for collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

Note: Research published by The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) in conjunction with The Vision Zero initiative discovered that nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco involved a left-turning vehicle. Stressful situations such as left turns in high traffic congestion can aggravate aggressive drivers and increase the likelihood of reckless driving.

Consequences of Aggressive Driving

In many cases, reckless driving offenses are attached to more severe charges like driving under the influence (DUI), hit-and-runs, street racing (illegal drag racing), and even vehicular manslaughter.

As part of California Vehicle Code Section 12810(b,c), the California Department of Motor Vehicles can impose two points on a driving record for reckless driving convictions. A reckless driving conviction may result in other costs, such as your insurance company raising your premiums or canceling your coverage altogether.

A reckless driving offense is considered a misdemeanor in California. Section 23103 of the California Vehicle Code defines the offense as driving “a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

One can commit the act of reckless driving on a public road or in an off-street parking facility.

The consequences of such an offense under California Code Section 23103(c) are “persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one $145 nor more than $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

However, additional circumstances may lead to increased charges, including “wet” reckless driving (DUI and reckless driving) and even vehicular manslaughter.

Recommendations to consider if you come across an aggressive driver:

  •   Try to (safely) stay out of or leave the path of the aggressive driver.
  •   Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver.
  •   Do not respond to or return gestures from an aggressive driver.
  •   Keep calm and avoid interactions with the aggressive driver.
  •   Ensure doors and windows are shut and locked
  •   Provide adequate room between yourself and the car ahead of you, whether at a red light or in stop-and-go traffic, or to pull out if needed.
  •   Call 911 over safety concerns for yourself and other drivers.

When an aggressive driver causes an injury or accident

In the event of an accident or injury caused by a reckless driver, you should contact an experienced San Francisco Bay area accident and injury attorney. You have the right to hold a driver responsible for injuries suffered due to an aggressive driver or related-wrongful death.

California Car Accident Laws

If you’ve just been involved in a car accident in California and experienced injuries and/or property damage, you want to be made whole again by the person responsible for your injuries. You may be wondering how much compensation you may be entitled to or how to navigate negotiations with the insurance company.

 In this article, we will explore some important elements you should know about California car accident law and how they might affect you.

 1.    California is an at-fault state.

If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else in California, you may be glad to learn that California is an at-fault state, which means that determining which party was negligent in causing the accident is relevant in the insurance claim process.

 Other states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and others are no-fault states, which can make it much more complicated in some instances for car accident victims to reach full compensation in a timely manner.

 As California is an at-fault state, the most important part in recovering compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and property damage is establishing the other party’s negligence.

 As the claimant or plaintiff, you have the burden of proving the other party’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence or that it is more likely than not that they negligently caused your injuries. In some limited circumstances, if you are seeking punitive damages, this standard will be higher, and you will be required to show clear and convincing evidence of the other party’s negligence.

 Let’s take a closer look at the four elements of a negligence claim:

 The driver had a duty to operate their motor vehicle as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.

  • The driver failed to operate their motor vehicle as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.
  • This failure was the actual cause of the accident.
  • The failure resulted in damages to the claimant/plaintiff.

 The evidence available in your case must be substantial enough to prove that each of the above elements are more likely than not true.  If you are experiencing any difficulty in processing your claim through insurance or if there has been any question as to which party, if any, was at fault, you should consult with a California car accident attorney right away.

 2.    California follows a comparative negligence rule.

Under California law, you can recover damages from a party who was negligent in causing your injuries even if you were also negligent in the accident. However, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of contribution to causing the accident. This is a legal standard called “pure comparative negligence”.

 It is therefore important to not only establish the negligence of the other party, but also present a strong defense against your own contribution to causing the accident, if you are alleged to have acted negligently.

 3.    You must report certain car accidents to the California DMV.

If anyone involved in the motor vehicle accident was injured or killed, or if the total property damages amount to over $1,000, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days after the accident.

 An Advocate on Your Side

A Bay Area car accident lawyer can assist you if you have been injured in a California car accident due to the other driver’s negligence. By filing your claim with the guidance and experience of a San Francisco Bay Area personal injury attorney, you can significantly strengthen the likelihood of a positive outcome for your claim and in receiving complete compensation for your injuries and related damages.