If you suffer from acute stress disorder after your car accident, seek legal counseling and representation from an attorney. Acute stress disorder, or ASD, is a life-changing and debilitating condition that occurs when you face a traumatic and life-threatening event. If you or someone you love almost died in your car accident, the event can affect how you handle stressful situations in the future. In addition, you can develop problems with everyday living, such as the inability to care for your family or attend school. Here’s what ASD is, how it affects you and what a car accident lawyer can do to help you.

What’s Acute Stress Disorder?

ASD is one of several types of mental disorders that develop from traumatic experiences. Acute stress disorder occurs weeks after you experience your car accident and takes a toll on your life for three days to a month after the event. It’s possible for your ASD to develop into post-traumatic stress disorder without the proper treatment.

The symptoms of ASD can strike at any time and can vary in intensity. You can experience intense and vivid flashbacks of your accident during your awake hours and nightmares when you fall asleep. You may even avoid friends and family in order to hide your inability to cope with your accident. Some individuals become detached from their emotions to cope with the painful memories. Other people experience dissociative amnesia and can’t recall the events leading up to and after their traumatic event. 

How Is ASD Diagnosed?

Before an accident lawyer can add acute stress disorder to your personal injury case, they must obtain viable proof of your ASD. Because ASD can mimic the symptoms caused by alcoholism, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may blame your post-traumatic symptoms on these issues. The insurer may not want to compensate you fairly for ASD, as well as any physical injuries you sustained from the accident. 

A medical doctor or psychiatric specialist will generally use psychological tests to evaluate your mental state. The psychological tests may include asking questions about your childhood to see if you have a history of mental illness. The specialists may even acquire records of your medical history to see if you have any past problems or conditions that can possibly trigger your symptoms.

Doctors may run a variety of blood and urine tests to rule alcohol and drug abuse. The healthcare providers can also use these types of tests to look for traces of any medications you might take for a mental illness. If you take narcotics or other strong pain medications to control the pain caused by your physical injuries, it’s important to reveal this information to the doctors. Some pain medications, such as opiates, contain ingredients that may show up as illegal drugs.

After they complete the tests and rule out the issues above, the doctors will give the results to an attorney to look over and file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurer may try to stall your case until it can verify the documentation presented to them. During this time, the insurer may also try to negotiate a settlement amount with a car accident attorney that doesn’t reflect the extent of your ASD and physical injuries.

If the attorney doesn’t consider the settlement offer acceptable, they may choose to take your case to personal injury court. The court may award you a fair settlement right away, or it may request more time to complete your case. A lawyer will keep you updated about your case from start to finish.

For more details about ASD and filing a personal injury case, contact a car accident attorney today.

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