Up to 50% of crash victims suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from a car accident. Some symptoms can be mild and others severe. If you feel high levels of stress or anxiety hitting you when you think about your car accident, you may have PTSD. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your mental and emotional suffering.
If you pursue a legal claim for your PTSD car accident injury, there are critical things to know. This page highlights PTSD car accident injuries, settlements, how to prove PTSD to an insurance company or jury, and more.
Almost everyone experiences some form of stress in the wake of a car accident. Emotions run high in such situations. Many crash victims report flashbacks and nightmares for weeks after the incident. Post-traumatic stress disorder is more than flashback or nightmares, though. PTSD after a car accident often manifests in unexpected ways. Many victims avoid driving or even riding in vehicles for months after their crash. Intrusive thoughts about the incident can interrupt a victim’s focus, making it difficult for them to accomplish tasks at work.
Some PTSD victims struggle with a lot of negative self-talk after a wreck. They blame themselves for the crash, isolate themselves and feel overwhelmingly depressed or even suicidal. Others may tend to overreact over seemingly minor things. PTSD victims often report that they feel as though they are constantly on edge. This can cause sleeping problems, which in turn, impacts the way they function throughout the day.
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PTSD is a severe mental condition after a traumatic event. It is usually associated with military service, but it can occur after a car accident.
Symptoms for this condition include:
Car accident flashbacks
Withdrawal from social situations
Fear of automobiles
Apathy towards life
If you suspect you have PTSD after a car accident, you must be diagnosed by a medical professional. At that point, you can file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the car accident.
Thankfully, there is hope for people with PTSD. Therapy can help restore a victim’s self-esteem, teach them coping skills to use during trying moments and improve overall symptoms. In some cases, a therapist may refer those with PTSD to a psychiatrist, who can prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to help mitigate some of the symptoms of PTSD.
More work is being done each day to understand the way trauma impacts the brain. As the research becomes more thorough, the options for treatment also expand. Though therapy and antidepressants are the two primary forms of treatment, they are far from the only kinds available. Speak with your doctor about the options that are best for you.
Why Expert Testimony Is Crucial in a PTSD Injury Case
Some subject matter in personal injury lawsuits may not make sense to the average juror. While most people generally understand what PTSD is, a juror cannot usually determine on their own if the plaintiff has the condition.
Therefore, the plaintiff’s attorney will provide an expert witness to perform a PTSD assessment and explain it to the jury.
If the case goes to trial, the expert witness testifies the condition and whether the plaintiff suffers from it. If the expert has years of experience with the patient, they may talk about their diagnosis details.
If you have PTSD after a car accident and want a settlement, it is vital to have expert witnesses testify on your behalf about your condition. The more experts you have, the better. Some experts who can testify about PTSD include licensed therapists, physicians, academics, and scientists.
Other ways to prove your injury include:
Show how severe your PTSD is: While documenting a psychological condition is challenging, it is possible. Show related injuries that could accompany PTSD, prove the need for medication and therapy, and lost work time because of anxiety.
Loss of ability to work and deal with life: This shows how PTSD stress affects your daily life and workability. Show that you have lost work time, must go to medical appointments often, and have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Family and friends can testify on your behalf.
Detail in writing how you have used alcohol or drugs to deal with your PTSD symptoms. Also, discuss how your personality has changed since you got PTSD.
PTSD Car Accident Settlement Examples
Many PTSD car accident victims have won settlements and verdicts for their injuries. These cases can result in large settlements if the PTSD condition is backed by substantial expert testimony.
Below are some recent case examples from across the United States that show PTSD lawsuit values. The recoveries listed below are no guarantee of what your settlement or verdict amount might be. Talk to an attorney listed at Lawsuit Info Center to get more information about your PTSD injury case.
$2.5 Million PTSD Settlement
A man suffered a life-threatening car accident while driving to work in New York. He suffered fractures and a concussion, which healed in six weeks. But the victim suffered from PTSD. During the accident, he was certain he would die. The defendant offered a settlement of $300,000.
The plaintiff’s attorney brought in several expert witnesses, including an ER surgeon, psychologist, psychiatrist, and neuropsychologist. The defendant agreed to increase their settlement offer by 800% before the case went to trial.
$600,000 PTSD and Brain Injury Settlement
A driver on I-495 in Virginia veered sharply across three lanes of traffic and hit the plaintiff’s vehicle on an I-95 off-ramp. The collision caused the plaintiff’s car to slam into a retaining wall.
EMT and ER records showed no facial or head trauma. However, the next day, photographs of the woman showed facial swelling and several abrasions. Her doctor confirmed these injuries.
The plaintiff suffered panic attacks, flashbacks, crying spells, and smelling burning tires and gas for weeks after the accident. Her doctor diagnosed her with PTSD. Also, she suffered headaches, memory loss, and difficulty finding words for months after the accident. A neurologist diagnosed her with a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Now they sought a traumatic brain injury PTSD settlement.
The plaintiff’s attorney retained an expert on PTSD and TBI. He testified that her brain injury made her PTSD worse and vice versa.
While the defense contested liability, the insurance company eventually offered a $60,000 concussion PTSD settlement. But the plaintiff’s attorney aggressively negotiated until the day before trial. The insurance company increased the payment to $600,000.
$150,000 PTSD Settlement
A driver in Boston cut in front of the plaintiff’s vehicle on Route 24. The driver and her 14-year-old daughter veered into the guardrail, and the girl’s head slammed into the dashboard. She suffered a broken tooth, and the windshield also shattered when her head hit it.
The young passenger reported mental and social ability, could not sleep and generally did not feel like herself in the weeks after the crash. Her doctor diagnosed her with PTSD. While the insurance company brought in experts who argued the girl did not have the disorder, the insurance company settled for $150,000.
$85,000 PTSD and Neck Strain Settlement
A driver in Wisconsin ran into several cattle on a highway in Wisconsin. The legal investigation showed the animals escaped a fenced area that was in disrepair.
After the attorney filed a lawsuit and took two depositions, the business that owned the fence accepted liability. Their insurance company settled the PTSD lawsuit for $85,000.
$50,000 PTSD Settlement
A car accident in South Carolina left a young woman with PTSD and anxiety attacks. The driver’s insurance company only offered $5,500 in compensation. The plaintiff’s attorney filed a PTSD lawsuit.
The insurance carrier argued that the car accident did not give her PTSD. But the attorney used medical records and victim testimony to link her injuries to the car crash. The insurance company settled for $50,000.
Insurance adjusters will look for any reason to deny a claim and save their company money. PTSD is often referred to as an invisible syndrome, one that’s easily dismissed because the physical damage just isn’t there. Insurance adjusters are on the lookout for medical fraud, and PTSD victims unfairly bear the weight of this pressure. Any inconsistencies on your medical record could give reason for the insurance company to deny your claim.
Unfortunately, the costs associated with treating PTSD aren’t as easily dismissed. Without the approval of an insurance claim, those with PTSD from a car accident may need to shell out payments for therapy and medication from their own pocket. Many go into medical debt seeking relief from their symptoms.
Find a Lawyer for Your PTSD Claim
It doesn’t have to be this way. An experienced car accident attorney can go to bat for you. Handling a car wreck claim is challenging enough on its own, but if you’re considering doing so while battling the symptoms of PTSD, you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle. By partnering with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that your rights are being fought for while you focus on resting and recuperating.
By working with a lawyer, you’ll gain an ally who will represent you in negotiations with insurance companies and with the negligent driver responsible for your crash. An attorney can also help you determine how much your case is worth and whether or not you should take an offer from the insurance company or fight for more. Compensation may be available for your hospital bills, therapy costs and any other damages you’ve suffered as a result of your accident.
Get started today by using our Car Accident Settlement Calculator. It’ll give you a good idea of how much your case might be worth. If you’re eager to connect with an experienced car wreck lawyer in your area, we can also help with that. By dialing 877-810-4067, you’ll reach one of our helpful employees. They’re eager to get you on the road to redemption today.
Get Legal Help For Your PTSD Car Accident Case
If you have PTSD after a car accident caused by another party, it is essential to seek medical treatment immediately. After seeing your doctor, you may want to take legal action against the person who caused your trauma.
Lawsuit Info Center can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. You may be entitled to compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Use our site to find a licensed attorney near you today.
In addition to a personal injury lawsuit, a PTSD diagnosis can support claims against a company under the Americans With Disabilities Act for not accommodating your PTSD; and worker’s compensation claims.
Exposure therapy may be useful in reducing travel phobias and re-experiencing the event. Also, relaxation therapy can help you deal with hypervigilance. Lastly, eye movement desensitization can reduce your symptoms.