Can You Get Compensation For PTSD After A Car Accident?

By | April 12, 2017

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological reaction to a traumatic event. It is a  condition that can range in severity, but when it’s serious enough it can interfere with an individual’s ability to perform the basic functions of life. It can also adversely affect their quality of life. There is no question that automobile accidents can be traumatic, whether or not you sustain an injury. Sometimes the worst injuries are the scars on your psyche that you can’t see.

Although it’s commonly associated with post-war emotional trauma, PTSD can result from just about any stressful event in a person’s life. If you are involved in a car accident where you suffer emotional stress in the form of post-traumatic stress syndrome, it is possible to receive fair compensation for your suffering. So the question is should I get an attorney after a car accident?

The problem with diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder is that it affects everyone differently. Some people have behavioral issues, while others have issues with their thought processes or experience “triggers” that affect their ability to live their daily lives. A common misperception is that post-traumatic stress disorder results only from major accidents where injuries are physical and severe. But sometimes the smallest of incidents can result in severe mental anguish.

Typically, PTSD is not something that shows right away. The effects are usually not recognized until well after the accident is over and the physical scars have healed, which is what can make it problematic when it comes to compensatory claims.

Factors that increase the likelihood of PTSD are things like a past incident in the accident victim’s life where they have a history of traumatic experiences, how long it takes the victim to recover from injuries sustained, if there were fatalities involved alongside the victim, and how severe the injuries or the accident itself was. Things such as survivor’s guilt or watching a loved one suffer can result in a lifetime of emotional distress.

How are PTSD damages calculated?

There are two different types of damage claims that you can file. In cargo van or car related accidents, you can claim  either general damages or special damages. Since losses that are concrete are easier to value, like lost wages or medical bills, they are considered special damages.

General damages are the types of claims that are typically more difficult to pursue. Things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish are all things that would be classified as a general loss, and are much harder to calculate.

Making a claim for PTSD, or ascribing a specific amount of impact to the enjoyability or functionality of someone’s life, is a general claim and subject to many factors. It is much more difficult to put general damage compensation claims in monetary terms. Typically, it takes more than just your testimony to prove that your life has been altered. Introducing expert testimony is a must, and having an evaluation that confirms the diagnosis lends strength to any general claim.

An expert witness can strengthen your case by helping to quantify your pain and suffering. They can do so by describing things such as whether or not your condition is related to the accident itself, or if you had a prior condition before the accident that was worsened by the event.

They can also help to present an appropriate diagnosis of PTSD and determine the prognosis for your ailment going forward, and how it may impact your life chronically or effect your quality of life. All those factors can be used to determine the calculation of monetary damages.

The biggest problem with a general claim is the time of diagnosis in relation to the time of the accident. There is a statute of limitations when you’re making a claim. Often, by the time PTSD shows up, that time has run out. That is why if you are experiencing emotional problems related to an automobile accident, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately so that a direct correlation can be made and you can file a claim before time runs out.

The best place to start with any general or specific claim related to a vehicular accident is to find a lawyer to explain the process and help you to document things correctly so that you can receive fair compensation for all of your injuries.

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