PTSD is the most common mental trauma suffered by motor vehicle accident survivors. In fact, many studies estimate that up to 25-33% of those involved in a car accident suffer from PTSD at least 30 days after the accident and some can experience the disorder for years. Often people think of financial compensation for their physical injuries when they consider a lawsuit after a car accident. However, it may be possible to sue for PTSD after a car accident.
What Is PTSD?
According to the American Psychological Association, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that often follows a traumatic event, serious injury, or threat of death or harm (real or perceived). PTSD is commonly associated with soldiers and military personnel returning home from combat; however, motor vehicle accident-related PTSD has been cited as the leading cause of all those with the disorder. In other words, you’re not alone. Many people who experience the shock, fear and other emotions associated with an accident suffer from PTSD.
Everyone experiences PTSD differently but some common symptoms include:
- Nightmares or incessant thoughts in which you are re-experiencing the accident
- Avoidance of anything related to the accident including driving or getting in a car
- Sleep disturbances
- Feelings of detachment
- Emotionally numb
In some studies, PTSD has been closely linked to those also suffering from chronic pain due to a car accident. Those suffering from PTSD symptoms will likely be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist who will make an official diagnosis of PTSD.
Compensation for PTSD after a Car Accident in New Jersey
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your own PIP (personal injury protection) insurance will be the primary insurer in your claim. If your losses exceed your PIP coverage limits, you may then be able to file a claim against the other driver, assuming they were at-fault.
Compensation for PTSD in an injury claim falls under non-economic damages, which refer to intangible losses suffered by the injured victim. Non-economic damages don’t have a specific dollar figure attached to them, like medical bills or lost income. They are a form of compensation that accounts for an injured person’s pain, emotional distress, suffering and other similar issues related to an accident. Common kinds of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, impairment or disfigurement.
An experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer will be able to assess your case and put a monetary figure to your non-economic damages claim for PTSD. It’s critical to have the expertise of an attorney on your side to handle the demands and negotiations -- even if its your own insurance company.
How to Prove PTSD in a Car Accident Claim
You and your attorney will need evidence of PTSD and its impact on your life in order to seek and win compensation. It is important to seek medical help if you believe you have psychological trauma. Not only can medical professionals help to alleviate your symptoms, an official PTSD diagnosis can also dramatically improve your chances of obtaining financial compensation for this condition.
In some cases a diagnosis of PTSD or depression may show what you are going through or the nature of your injuries alone may warrant an award for non-economic damages. Your lawyer may also advise you to keep a journal documenting your pain and experience recovering from your injuries.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Consult with an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney, like Brandon J. Broderick, right away after a traumatizing car crash for help with the claims process. Our firm can give you advice as to where to seek help for PTSD after a car accident, as well as help you build a compelling claim to damages. Our compassionate attorneys understand that these injuries can be just as devastating as physical ones.
If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you deserve to fully recover for any physical, emotional, and mental injuries you suffered. At Brandon J. Broderick, with our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.