Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim for PTSD and Emotional Distress Caused by a Car Accident?
Most people think about physical injuries when it comes to car accidents but it’s important to understand that emotional distress, psychological trauma, anxiety and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are relatively common problems caused by collisions. This is particularly true when someone was killed or very severely injured in the accident or when cars burst into flames or become mangled beyond recognition.
Emotional injuries can be extremely debilitating – just as much if not more so than physical injuries – making it difficult to work and causing loss of enjoyment of life. According to the American Psychological Association, car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD among the general (non-military) population. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nine percent of people who survive car accidents develop PTSD.
Personal injury claims are made to recover damages from the negligent party. Recoverable damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability and yes, emotional distress and PTSD. If you or a loved one is experiencing serious psychological issues as a result of a car accident caused by the negligence of another, contact a car accident lawyer for help today.
Can I make a personal injury claim for PTSD and emotional distress caused by a car accident?
In car accidents where the injured party is diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety or severe depression as a result of the car accident, a personal injury claim is the best path to recovering damages. Your car accident attorney will gather the evidence to show that you have suffered psychological and emotional trauma that has impacted your quality of life and/or ability to earn money and that you have spent money on treatment for your symptoms.
Proving PTSD for a car accident claim
Insurance companies will try to get out of covering damages whenever possible and a claim for PTSD or other psychological issues is no exception. Your personal injury lawyer will need to prove that:
- The driver who caused the accident owed you a duty of care before the accident occurred. All drivers owe a legal duty of care to all other road users.
- The other driver behaved negligently or carelessly.
- You suffered damages, including psychological trauma, lost wages and pain and suffering.
- The PTSD you are suffering from is a direct result of the car crash.
The insurance company almost always asks to see the claimant’s past medical history. Claimants should expect any past diagnosis of mental illness to be used as an argument against your claim that the car accident caused PTSD or other psychological issues.
Watch out for symptoms of PTSD after a car accident
There are several signs of PTSD to look out for after a car accident:
- Feelings of anxiety about getting back in a car
- Nightmares about getting into a car accident
- Being “jumpy”
- Recurring flashbacks that interrupt the ability to function normally
- Inability to work
- High blood pressure
- Body aches
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!