What is Vehophobia and How is it Treated After a Car Accident?

When most people think of vehicle accidents, they think of injuries and property damage. Typically, individuals receive compensation from the at-fault party to pay for their expenses, and they move on from the incident. Unfortunately, there are times when individuals experience various types of emotional and psychological distress caused by the incident, including vehophobia. Here, we want to discuss vehophobia along with treatments that may be required for individuals to recover.

Defining Vehophobia

During the reporting year on file, there were more than 103,000 vehicle accidents across Washington state, according to the Department of Transportation. Out of these incidents, 704 were fatal, more than 2,600 resulted in a suspected serious injury, and nearly 11,000 resulted in a suspected minor injury. If you need legal assistance for such incidents, consider consulting a Seattle auto accident lawyer.

The physical toll of these vehicle accidents is severe, but what the data does not show is the mental and emotional toll the crashes take on the victims. Vehophobia is one way to describe the mental and emotional struggles that vehicle accidents experience after the incident. As you likely know, the term “phobia” means fear, so vehophobia means a person has a fear of driving. 

It is not uncommon for individuals to develop either temporary or long-term vehophobia as a result of a vehicle accident. Individuals can develop this fear as a result of an accident of any severity. One major problem with this particular condition is that, like other forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), individuals can become debilitated, even if the danger of another accident is only imagined. 

How is Vehophobia Treated?

Treating vehophobia is important for those who lead active lifestyles that involve driving a vehicle. Individuals who experience any PTSD symptoms, including vehophobia, after an accident need to seek treatment from a mental health professional. When an individual schedules an appointment, they will likely undergo a physical and psychological evaluation. After these initial evaluations are completed, a doctor may diagnose an individual with PTSD, though they may not specifically call it vehophobia. 

A psychologist or psychiatrist could prescribe various types of psychotherapy, and they may prescribe medications on a temporary basis to get individuals past the initial fear of driving. However, PTSD medications could make an individual drowsy, and we strongly encourage individuals to speak to their doctor and read all instructions on medications before getting behind the wheel.

The goal of psychotherapy treatment and any medications prescribed is to help individuals learn how to cope with any triggers they experience when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after an accident. Additionally, if there is any underlying mental illness associated with the vehophobia, the mental health treatment could also help with that.

Can You Recover Compensation for Vehophobia?

It is entirely possible to recover compensation after a vehophobia diagnosis. Individuals regularly receive compensation for PTSD and other types of emotional and psychological trauma caused by a vehicle accident. Whenever a vehicle accident occurs, there will typically be an extensive investigation into the incident. Individuals should be able to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit. Non-economic damages are the umbrella of damages where vehophobia or PTSD compensation would fall. We encourage individuals who experience any type of emotional and psychological trauma after an accident to work with a skilled Seattle personal injury lawyer who can enlist assistance from medical experts to adequately calculate all non-economic damages.