When we think of injuries to passengers, we often think of broken bones or tissue injuries. Unless you are a lawyer or a doctor, you may not give so much thought to the angst and anxiety a car crash can cause to a victim.
However, a case that was recently settled in Virginia has highlighted the full extent of mental trauma that the aftermath of a car crash can cause to a young passenger.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported on the case in which a 16-year-old passenger was injured in his mother’s van when the family was rear-ended on I-66 by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Accidents in which a car is rear-ended are among the most common on the highways of Virginia and they can be very devastating.
When the impact occurred, this young man was thrown forward in his seat and then jerked back again by his seat belt. The accident was a blur. When he was asked to recollect it later his first memory was of pain in his neck and back.
The paramedics at the scene backboarded the 16-year-old and placed him in a c-collar. He was transported to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax County. CT scans were carried out on him that were normal. He was diagnosed with cervical strain and headaches and released from the hospital.
What was notable about this accident was the uncharacteristic levels of anxiety that the teen suffered after the crash. Virginia Lawyers Weekly noted how he found it almost impossible to control his thoughts. Around this time he began to think compulsively about death and the afterlife. Severe headaches, anxiety attacks and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder followed. These are the kinds of symptoms we associate often with troops who return from war zones, but we often underestimate how traumatic vehicle accidents can be.
I was relieved to hear this young man got his life back on track finally in 2013 when he was admitted to a transition program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. He was since able to enroll and complete classes at Northern Virginia Community College.
His attorneys brought a lawsuit against the insurance company of the at-fault driver. All cases are different and we cannot guarantee the same result in your case, but this action was settled for $240,000. The attorneys for the plaintiff were Jonathan S. Rochkind and Julie M. Porto of Prince William County.
If you are injured in a car crash you may suffer very serious and life-changing injuries. I am the co-author of The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents and Injuries along with my colleague John Cooper. Call us at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.