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What Causes Sleep Problems After a Car Accident?

After a crash, sleep problems can be a sign of physical injuries and psychological trauma.

A car accident in NYC can happen in the blink of an eye and leave a trail of physical and emotional challenges in its wake. One of the most devastating consequences of a car accident is the impact it can have on your sleep patterns. Sleep problems after a car accident can significantly disrupt the quality of your life and ability to recover from injuries.

Disrupted sleep patterns after a collision are usually linked to physical injuries and psychological trauma. It’s important to recognize the root cause of sleep problems to help make a full recovery. Start by getting medical attention and speaking to an experienced NYC car accident lawyer.

What are the most common types of sleep problems after a car accident?

The most common sleep disturbances after a collision include:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early are common forms of insomnia after a car accident.
  • Trouble waking up: Head injuries often cause excessive sleepiness or trouble waking up.
  • Nightmares and night terrors: Vivid and distressing dreams related to a collision can disrupt sleep and contribute to a fear of falling asleep.
  • Sleep apnea: Some people may develop sleep apnea or experience a worsening of pre-existing conditions. Breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, leading to significant sleep disruption.

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    What are the leading causes of sleep problems after a car accident?

    Sleep problems following a car accident can be multifaceted, often arising from various physical and psychological factors. Here's a closer look at the leading causes:

    • Pain and discomfort: Injuries sustained in a car accident can cause significant pain and discomfort, making it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position or remain asleep throughout the night. Common injuries contributing to sleep disturbances include:
      • Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash.
      • Spinal injuries, which can affect mobility and comfort.
      • Bone fractures, leading to discomfort and difficulty moving.
      • Soft tissue injuries, causing soreness and stiffness.
      • Head injuries, including concussions, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
    • Stress and anxiety: The emotional aftermath of a car accident can trigger heightened stress levels and anxiety, interfering with sleep quality. Individuals may experience racing thoughts, worry about the accident's repercussions, or fear of getting behind the wheel again. This heightened state of arousal can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Severe car accidents can result in PTSD, a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks related to the traumatic event. These symptoms often manifest during sleep, leading to disrupted sleep patterns, frequent awakenings, and nightmares. PTSD-related sleep disturbances can significantly impact overall well-being and quality of life.

    How can sleep disturbances impact my recovery and health?

    The consequences of sleep disturbances after a car accident extend far beyond feeling tired the next day. They can have profound and long-lasting effects on your physical health, mental well-being, and daily life. For example, it can:

    • Increase the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
    • Weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections.
    • Slow the body’s healing process from physical injuries.
    • Cause or contribute to anxiety and/or depression and exacerbate PTSD.
    • Impair cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, decision-making, and problem-solving.
    • Affect your productivity at school or work.
    • Impact your relationships due to irritability, mood swings, and emotional withdrawal.

    How are crash-related sleep problems diagnosed and treated?

    It’s always best to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you don’t have any injury symptoms. A medical evaluation can help pinpoint an injury and the source of your sleep disturbances.

    A doctor will likely perform a physical examination to determine your physical injury. If your sleep problems persist, you may be referred to a sleep specialist or psychiatrist for additional evaluation and treatment.

    Treatment for crash-related sleep disorders and the injuries that cause them may include:

    • Rest and activity modification.
    • Over-the-counter or prescribed pain relievers.
    • Sleep aids.
    • Psychologic therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management.
    • Physical therapy.
    • Massage and/or acupuncture.
    • For serious injuries, surgery.

    Can I be compensated for damages related to my sleep disturbances?

    If someone else’s negligence caused your car accident and it resulted in sleep problems or other complications, you may be eligible for compensation. To pursue a legitimate car accident claim, be sure to do the following:

    • Get a medical evaluation that establishes a link between your condition and the car accident you were involved in.
    • Report your car accident to your insurance provider and only provide basic details (e.g., time, date, and location of the crash).
    • Collect evidence from the car accident scene (if possible), such as taking pictures, obtaining witness information, and getting a copy of the police report.
    • Keep all medical documents, receipts, bills, and appointment logs.
    • Keep a journal of your sleep problems and any other pain and suffering you may be experiencing due to your car accident.
    • Collect pay stubs and tax documents proving wage loss if you miss work due to injuries.
    • Speak to an experienced NYC car accident lawyer so you’re aware of your rights and options for seeking compensation.
    • Avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company and never provide a recorded statement, as this can be used against you.
    • Follow all medical recommendations and advice from your attorney.

    If your claim is successful, you can be compensated for economic damages such as current and future medical costs, lost wages, and property damage. Your attorney can also calculate your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

    Why should I hire an attorney if I’m experiencing sleep problems after a car accident?

    After a car accident, your number one priority should be your recovery. If you try to handle your claim alone, you could be outmatched.

    Insurance companies use many tactics to keep their costs down, even at your expense. They could argue that your condition is unrelated to your car accident or try to shift the blame onto you. They also often try to close out cases promptly by offering quick, lowball settlements that don’t actually compensate the victim for the full cost of their losses.

    While it may be tempting to accept a settlement offer when you’re in need of financial support, this can hurt you in the long run. Once you accept a settlement offer, you won’t be able to pursue additional compensation. It’s best to wait until your attorney accurately values your claim and negotiates for a fair settlement that fully covers your losses.

    The attorneys at Giampa Law can gather the facts that matter to your case by thoroughly investigating your car accident. We won’t settle for anything less than the compensation you deserve, even if we have to take your case to trial and fight for a maximum court award.

    Since we work on a contingency fee basis, our services won’t cost you anything upfront. This also means you pay nothing unless we win your case, so you have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain. Our dedicated legal team is here to answer any questions you have, help you explore your legal options, and walk you through the claims process. To learn more about how our law firm can help you, contact us today.

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