Very often our clients who have been injured in a car accident tell us that they are afraid to drive. After the trauma of being in a car accident many people develop a real fear of driving or of being a passenger in a motor vehicle. This reaction is very common and can develop into a true phobia.
Those who have been in an accident that was not their fault may experience a more intense fear of driving as they know from firsthand experience that an accident can happen at any moment due to the irresponsible drivers, people who text while driving, talk on a cell phone while driving, or just don’t follow the rules of the road.
Some people have mild anxiety and on the other end of the spectrum some have panic attacks or stop driving altogether. Some people may still be able to drive on city streets where the traffic moves more slowly but develop a fear of highway driving or of merging on to interstates.
The good news is that treatment for fear of driving may be considered a reimbursable medical expense under the terms of the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. Check with your car accident attorney to be sure.
Below are some of the most common treatment options.
Therapy can help you to regain confidence. You can seek professional counseling or psycho therapy for your fear of driving. Because the treatment is directly related to your car accident, it may be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. Your personal injury attorney can work with the insurance company to try to get these expenses included in your settlement or verdict.
Some people may prefer to regain their confidence by taking a hands-on defensive driving school class focused on collision avoidance and understanding how the driver's vehicle would perform during an emergency situation. This is another expense that may be recoverable from the at-fault driver’s insurance. Again, your car accident lawyer can work with the insurance company to negotiate reimbursement for this expense as part of your car accident settlement. In the Seattle area, Swerve is one of the driving schools that offers just such classes.
And still others may be interested in a self-help approach that involves researching and reading about driving anxiety. There is a wonderful self-help program called ‘Driving Fear Program: Learning To Drive Panic Free’ which offers books, CDs and DVDs to help people work through their anxiety. Again, this is an expense that may be reimbursable. Check with your motor vehicle accident lawyer.