PTSD Car Accident Compensation Claims
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a behavioral health condition often associated with those who've experienced the devastation of war. However wartime traumas are not the only causes as anyone can develop PTSD after experiencing or witnessing a fearful or life-threatening event. These could include natural disasters, sexual assaults or, as addressed in this article, car accidents.
When a car accident is severe enough to trigger PTSD in a victim, there are ways that you can use the legal system to recover for losses caused by its impact on your life. Below you'll find out more about PTSD car accident compensation claims and what they may mean for your case.
PTSD and Car Accidents: Indicators
Due to the increased frequency and risks of harm associated with car accidents, they've become one of the leading causes of PTSD. Even in accidents involving relatively minor injuries, the potential for PTSD exists because it's tied more to a person's reaction to an event than the event itself. However, accidents involving serious injuries usually involve traumatic responses in victims, so they're typically a good indicator that a victim could develop PTSD in the future. Other indicators can include:
- The severity of injuries to others involved
- Whether any fatalities were involved
- How long it takes to recover from any injuries
- Whether a victim has a history of traumatic experiences
PTSD Car Accident Compensation Claims: Damages
Most damage claims after a car accident are classified as either special or general damages. Losses which are easier to value, such as medical bills and lost wages are considered special damages. Those which are less easy to convert into dollars, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life, are considered general damages.
Placing a value on PTSD and the impact of its symptoms on your daily life would be part of a general damages award. Because it may not be as easy to calculate a dollar amount related to your PTSD, it will be necessary to prove your PTSD and related damages through expert testimony. Such testimony would be needed to establish:
- Whether you've been appropriately diagnosed with PTSD;
- Whether your condition is connected the car accident in question (as opposed to a prior car accident or another traumatic event); and
- The prognosis for your condition (how long it may persist) and how this would be reflected in a dollar amount.
One factor to consider in cases with PTSD car accident compensation claims is the impact that a victim's PTSD may have during trial. In one case, a woman suffering from PTSD due to a crash causing extensive injuries to her hand was advised by her doctor that re-living the incident on the stand could worsen her symptoms. She ultimately was not called to the stand, but that is a very real concern for PTSD victims. In that case, the evidence was convincing enough that the victim was awarded $30 million in general damages alone.
Another factor to consider in cases involving car accident PTSD is the time it may take to identify and diagnose the condition. Because it's not as well understood as other medical conditions, car accident victims or their family members may not see the warning signs until they get progressively worse.
This delay in diagnosing and treating symptoms not only has an impact on the victim's well-being, but may also interfere with the ability to recover any damages associated with the condition. This could be due to the damages being left out of an initial personal injury claim or because the statute of limitations has already passed by the time that PTSD is diagnosed.
Discuss Your PTSD Car Accident Claim With an Attorney
Given the unique nature of PTSD and related car accident compensation claims, it's important to have your case reviewed by an experienced professional. The difference in the outcome of your case could be dramatic. Don't take a chance with your future. Reach out to a personal injury attorney near you today to learn about your options.
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Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.