Video: Recovering Damages for Emotional Trauma After a Car Crash

Auto Accident
pain and suffering
emotional trauma
mental injury
noneconomic damages

Many car accident victims don’t pay attention to their emotional and mental health. An experienced auto accident attorney understands that these injuries can be just as devastating as physical ones. Emotional damages arise as a component of damages in a personal injury case. 

In today’s video Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief, talks with Julia McGrath about emotional and mental damages that occur in personal injury cases. She is a prominent personal injury trial attorney in Tampa Bay Florida.

 There is a distinction in the law between economic damages and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages – the law provides compensation of past lost wages and the amount of your medical bills.
  • Non-economic damages – the law also provides compensation for intangible injuries such as of pain and suffering. Examples include loss of capacity to enjoy life, feelings of anguish, anxiety, mood swings, bouts of anger, fearfulness, feelings of humiliation, crying, sleep issues and nightmares, losing appetite, and loss of interest in usual activities.

It’s very important to document these types of anguish claims. You need to speak with a mental health professional who will document and hear the types of pain, mental anguish and suffering you have endured because of the physical injury.

“I have a lot of clients who are very wary, they’re very anxious, they start to withdraw socially. They have social anxiety, not wanting to do the types of activities they did before,” McGrath says.  “It’s important to speak with witnesses, and friends and family. These people will be important before-and-after witnesses who will be able to testify how they were before, how they were afterwards and how their symptoms have progressed.”

How to quantify emotional distress

“When you are dealing with physical injuries, you are not the same person. Pain changes your perspective, your attitude. It changes your life."

“I have clients who used to take an hour to do grocery shopping, and now it takes two hours. Everything is more difficult and takes longer – longer to do laundry, longer to brush their teeth,” McGrath says.

People understand increments of time, and dollars per hour. You can present pain and suffering as a matter of “how much is your time worth? Is it worth $50? $100 an hour? $500?”

“When you are dealing with physical injuries, you are not the same person. Pain changes your perspective, your attitude. It changes your life. That is important and it is not lost on people. When you’re able to document it, calculate it and present it, then you are able to be compensated for it,” she says.

After a car accident, a person should seek therapy. “If you know you are not acting the same, and or you have friends and family members who are pointing things out to you, you need to speak with someone about it. Don’t try to go it alone. There’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about it,” McGrath says.

“It becomes important because without documentation and without actually treating, you’re not going to heal, you’re not going to get better and you’re not going to be compensated for it,” she says.

To find out more information visit has many articles about this topic.  You can also reach Julia McGrath at (727) 451-6900. “Every consultation is free and we’re always happy to hear from you and to help.”

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