How can I recover compensation for psychological and emotional distress damages from a motorcycle accident?

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Recovering for Psychological Damages After a Seattle Washington Motorcycle Wreck

Many motorcycle accident victims experience serious physical injuries that impact their lives long-term. Our Washington state auto accident attorney knows that while most people focus on just medical bills and physical pain, psychological and emotional distress damages from a motorcycle accident can be just as serious as physical injuries.

Emotional Damages person with their hand held in front of them blocking the view

The trauma motorcycle accident victims endure can be hard to imagine. Even if the accident does not cause severe physical harm, many accident victims may feel overwhelmed by the traumatic event they experienced.

Motorcyclists can react to trauma in different ways, depending on the circumstances of the accident and their past experiences. In any case, it is likely that accident victims will endure many of the following:

Pain and Suffering

It is no surprise that accident victims endure pain and suffering. While a more severe accident will likely bring about more severe pain and suffering, even relatively minor motorcycle accidents can bring about pain and suffering.

Physical Pain and Suffering: Physical pain and suffering refer to the physical discomfort caused by accident injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, courts will look at the plaintiff’s medical records to determine the injuries he has already suffered and the injuries he will likely suffer in the future because of the accident. Physical pain can also lead to emotional pain.

Emotional Pain and Suffering: Emotional pain and suffering refer to the mental anguish faced by a motorcycle accident victim. This can refer to a loss of enjoyment of life, sadness, fear, anger, and other forms of emotional distress. Emotional pain can lead to serious consequences including mood swings, lack of appetite, and insomnia. Insurers and juries will consider both past and future emotional trauma in a personal injury lawsuit.

Psychological Damage

In many cases, emotional issues can lead to psychological disorders. A motorcycle accident victim can experience a number of these ailments as a result of their accident.

Depression: Depression is a common disorder accident victims may suffer from. It refers to the feeling of constant sadness and lack of interest in life. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, inability to function, and physical issues if untreated. Medication, therapy, and counseling may prove to be beneficial for those feeling depressed after an accident.

Anxiety: Everyone feels anxious once in a while. However, after an accident, people may start feeling intense anxiety about everyday situations. Even getting in a vehicle or riding their motorcycle can trigger anxiety attacks. Anxiety can cause serious issues and prevent accident victims from enjoying their lives. Counseling and medication may be necessary to help prevent these attacks from occurring.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: While most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with violence or army enlistment, many accident victims suffer from symptoms such as:

  • Flashbacks of the accident
  • Nightmares
  • Fearful thoughts
  • Avoiding things or feelings related to the accident
  • Feeling jumpy or tense
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Angry outbursts


If you have more than one or two of these symptoms, it is best to seek psychological treatment as soon as possible.

Fortunately, depending on the circumstances of your accident, all of these emotional damages may be compensable.

Recovering Compensation for Non-Economic Damages

Valuing economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages is fairly simple. Your attorney will likely refer to your medical bills, treatment records, and past pay stubs to determine how much you should recover for these expenses.

On the other hand, valuing non-economic, emotional damages can be more challenging. It is difficult to place a monetary value on things like loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

However, when filing a claim or lawsuit, valuing these damages is very important. Calculating pain and suffering can be difficult, but juries use common sense and their life experience to determine what would be a reasonable amount to award the plaintiff.

You can help the jury or insurer calculate your damages by keeping a pain journal that shows how your emotional injuries have affected your daily life.

The testimony of your physician, therapist, or psychiatrist will also help calculate your damages.

Valuing a claim can be difficult, but you have help. Max Meyers has years of experience handling personal injury lawsuits and will help accurately value your claim and collect the evidence needed to help you recover the damages you deserve.


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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.