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Sleep Problems After a Car Accident

Can you recover financial compensation? Our Houston lawyers discuss

A car accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. It can leave victims in physical pain and in need of extensive medical treatment. It can also have a significant emotional and psychological impact. One common but often overlooked consequence of car accidents is the development of sleep problems.

When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can affect people in different ways. Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to illness. Chronic sleep issues have been linked to poor cardiovascular health and high blood pressure. Sleep difficulties can also make it more difficult to manage chronic pain.

In addition to physical health, sleep problems take a toll on mental well-being. Insomnia and poor sleep quality are closely associated with depression and anxiety. People with sleep difficulties may develop problems with cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, and decision-making.

Quality sleep is important for mental health and overall quality of life. That’s why it’s important to take action if you are experiencing sleep problems following a car accident.

Get medical attention as soon as possible

Seek prompt medical attention after a car accident. While some injuries can be obvious, others have delayed symptoms. You may not even know that you are injured. A doctor can examine you, diagnose your injuries, and begin treatment. This includes the diagnosis and management of injuries that can lead to sleep problems if left untreated.

For example, concussions can disrupt the brain’s sleep-wake cycle, causing insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness. Whiplash can cause neck pain and stiffness, making it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position. Sprains or strains may initially go unnoticed but can develop into chronic pain conditions that interfere with sleep.

By seeing a doctor promptly, potential sleep-disrupting injuries can be diagnosed and managed effectively, increasing your chances of getting restful and restorative sleep, and preventing long-term sleep problems that can impact overall health and quality of life.

Types of sleep problems seen after a car accident

Following a car accident, people may experience different issues related to sleep. These include:

  • Insomnia: After a car accident, many people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. They are still suffering from the stress, anxiety, and trauma associated with the accident. Thoughts of the accident can keep racing through their minds, making them restless. This prevents them from relaxing and getting the rest that they need.
  • Nightmares: During these distressing episodes, vivid and distressing memories of the accident resurface, causing intense fear and anxiety. Nightmares can jolt someone awake. Some may experience physical symptoms, such as sweating and a racing heart. It can be hard to return to sleep. Nightmares can be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Pain: Injuries sustained during a crash, such as whiplash, fractures, or muscle strains, can lead to persistent discomfort that disrupts sleep. Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging, and pain can wake someone throughout the night. This results in fragmented, shallow sleep that leaves them feeling fatigued during the day.
  • Excessive sleeping: The trauma, pain, and stress experienced can lead to overwhelming fatigue. People may find themselves sleeping excessively during the day, often struggling to stay awake. While some extra rest is natural during recovery, excessive sleeping can interfere with daily activities and indicate underlying issues such as depression.
  • Hypervigilance: Following a car accident, some people can experience a heightened state of alertness that makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep. They may constantly monitor their surroundings, making it difficult to switch off their minds. This heightened anxiety can continue into the night, creating a cycle of sleeplessness.

What to do if you are experiencing sleep problems

Talk to your doctor. If pain is interfering with your sleep, your doctor may be able to adjust your medication or recommend physical therapy to treat your injuries. A doctor may also be able to refer you to a sleep specialist or mental health professional to address other issues that are causing sleep problems.

If you’re dealing with insomnia, cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) may be recommended. CBT-I focuses on improving sleep habits and addressing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to sleep difficulties. A mental health professional can help you address emotional trauma or PTSD suffered as a result of the accident.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation can help ease anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Create a sleep-conducive environment. Ensure your bedroom is comfortable, dark, and quiet, and use a comfortable mattress and pillows. Establishing a consistent sleep routine can also regulate your sleep patterns.

Emotional support can also be helpful during this time. Talking with friends or family or joining support groups can help you deal with emotional trauma and help you feel more comfortable. This can help you feel more relaxed at bedtime.

Can I recover financial compensation for sleep problems after a crash?

When sleep problems are linked to a car accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation through a personal injury claim. The specific compensation awarded can vary depending on the severity of the sleep problems and their impact on your life. In general, you may be able to seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses: Compensation can cover the cost of medical treatments, doctor’s visits, medications, therapy, and any necessary medical devices related to sleep problems caused by the accident.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensation is intended to address the physical and emotional distress experienced due to sleep disturbances, including insomnia, nightmares, and other related issues.
  • Loss of quality of life: Sleep problems can significantly diminish quality of life. Compensation may be awarded for the reduced enjoyment of life, inability to participate in activities, and loss of normal sleep patterns.
  • Lost wages: If sleep problems prevented you from working or resulted in missed workdays, compensation can cover lost income, including both current and future earnings.

Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer

To recover compensation for sleep problems, it's essential to establish a clear link between the car accident and the sleep disturbances. A lawyer can play a critical role in helping you recover financial compensation for sleep problems or any other injuries resulting from the crash.

An attorney can:

  • Assess the details of your car accident case, including the cause of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the impact on your sleep and overall well-being.
  • Gather evidence to support your case, including accident reports, medical records, witness statements, documentation of your sleep problems, and related medical treatment.
  • Work to establish the liability of the at-fault party (or parties) in the accident.
  • Assess the full extent of your damages, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any future medical costs related to your sleep problems.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
  • File a lawsuit and represent you at all court proceedings.

If you were injured in a crash in Texas and are experiencing sleep problems, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Smith & Hassler has been fighting for the injured in the Houston area for decades. Our attorneys know how to build strong cases and recover the compensation you deserve.

Learn about your legal options and get answers to your questions. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, "Sleep Problems After a Car Accident."

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