If you’ve been in a serious car accident (or any other kind of traumatic accident), you’ll likely have injuries that need immediate attention. It might be even overwhelming to think about starting a claim for compensation. When you do think about compensation, you’ll likely be thinking about compensation for the obvious injuries you’re being treated for immediately following the accident, as well as repair costs for your vehicle or other damaged property. But there’s another kind of life-changing injury that often follows serious accidents – PTSD. VeryWellMind reports that 39.2% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD.
And because PTSD often takes some time to start affecting you, you might not think to claim compensation for it during your initial personal injury case. But PTSD is serious and requires intensive and expensive treatment. Keep reading to understand the symptoms of PTSD, when to look for the symptoms, and how to claim the compensation you’re owed if you suffer from PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition occurring after some traumatic event, including car accidents.
Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, depression, withdrawal from social settings, apathy, anxiety, and phobias, explains LegalMatch. An estimated 8% of the U.S. population lives with PTSD symptoms. If you are struggling with psychological or social consequences following a traumatic incident, a medical diagnosis may reveal PTSD.
After you are diagnosed with PTSD, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent person who caused you to develop the disorder.
PTSD can impact your whole life, making even everyday tasks or activities impossible. According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, PTSD symptoms can look like:
- Intrusive or re-experiencing: These symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, visual or auditory memories (such as a gunshot victim hearing gunshot sounds even if a gun isn’t firing) or repetitive thinking about the traumatic event. These symptoms may disrupt sleep patterns.
- Avoidance or emotional numbing: This occurs when a person doesn’t want to be around the people, place or situation that reminds the person of the event. While some anxiety is normal for anyone involved in a traumatic event, if avoidance or numbing keeps someone from doing daily activities, it may be a sign of PTSD.
- Hyper-arousal: This is a nervous anxiety response to things that didn’t previously lead to such a response. Increased heart rate, increased respiration, stomach butterflies or sweating might occur around certain events that didn’t bother the individual before the trauma.
- Negative changes in mood and thinking: Some people may become down or depressed after a traumatic event that might change how they see the world around them. An example is beginning to believe that driving is unsafe after someone survives a car crash.
It is normal to feel a flood of emotions, including shock, guilt, grief, helplessness, confusion, and fear, immediately following a car accident. However, with PTSD, these feelings don’t go away over time and can actually get worse, says VeryWellMind.
How to Claim Compensation for PTSD
PTSD is a treatable condition. With proper medical care and therapy, accident victims can overcome the effects of PTSD. However, treatment can be lengthy and expensive. If someone else’s recklessness caused you to develop PTSD, you deserve compensation to cover the bills. LegalMatch explains that in order to establish PTSD, your attorney may invite an expert witness, likely a psychiatrist, to testify about and convince the court as to the following:
- Injury: You suffered some psychological injury, as shown by various symptoms
- Causation: A specific traumatic event triggered that mental or emotional injury
- Recoverable Damages: You should at least recover your treatment costs
The challenge in a PTSD lawsuit comes from the “battle of experts.” Opposing experts will likely argue that PTSD can only be triggered by some enormous traumatic events related to wars and natural disasters. The jury will have to decide if your PTSD claims are genuine.
PTSD and Claims for Emotional Distress
If your claim is deemed genuine, PTSD may serve as the basis for various emotional distress claims, says LegalMatch. For example:
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Evidence of a PTSD diagnosis indicates that the defendant’s conduct was intentional and outrageous.
- Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: If the defendant’s negligent conduct caused the plaintiff’s PTSD, the defendant may be liable for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Have you (or a loved one) been diagnosed with PTSD after an accident? Don’t keep suffering in silence! It’s time to get the compensation you deserve by working with a caring, experienced personal injury attorney. Contact your Brian K. Branch at 505.764.9710 or online!
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