PTSD is the most prominent psychological injury suffered by survivors of motor vehicle accidents. Many studies estimate that between 25 and 33 percent of those involved in a car accident develop PTSD at least 30 days after the accident, and some suffer from the disorder for many years. When considering the possibility of filing a lawsuit after a car accident, most individuals consider financial compensation for their physical injuries. However, it may be possible to file a claim for PTSD following a car accident in PA.
This article focuses on the non-economic damages available to Pennsylvania residents, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of the law is to reinstate you to your position prior to your serious injury. Consult an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney, such as Brandon J. Broderick, to discuss your legal options following a car accident in Pennsylvania.
What Exactly is PTSD?
According to the American Psychological Association, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that frequently follows a traumatic event, serious injury, or (real or perceived) threat of death or significant bodily harm. PTSD is often associated with soldiers and military personnel returning from combat; however, automobile accident related PTSD has been cited as the leading cause of all those with the disorder. Therefore, you are not alone. Many people who experience the shock, fear, and other emotions associated with an accident suffer from PTSD.
Everyone experiences PTSD differently, but the following are common symptoms:
- Nightmares or recurring thoughts in which you are re-experiencing the car accident
- Avoidance of anything related to the accident, including driving or getting into a vehicle
- Sleep disturbances
- Feelings of detachment
- Emotionally numb
Some studies have found a strong correlation between PTSD and chronic pain following a car accident. Those displaying PTSD symptoms will likely be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist for an official PTSD diagnosis.
Can I Receive Compensation for PTSD Following a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, your PIP (personal injury protection) insurance will be the primary insurance company for your claim. If your losses exceed the limits of your PIP coverage, you may be entitled to file a claim against the other driver, assuming that they were at-fault.
In an injury claim, compensation for PTSD falls under non-economic damages, which refer to the victim's intangible losses. Non-economic damages are not measurable in the same way that medical expenses or lost wages are. They are a form of compensation that accounts for an accident-related victim's pain, emotional distress, suffering, and similar issues. Pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, impairment, and disfigurement are common examples of non-economic damages.
An experienced PA car accident lawyer will be able to examine your case and calculate your claim for non-economic damages for PTSD. Even if it's your own insurance company, it's crucial to have an attorney on your side to handle all of the demands and negotiations.
How Do I Prove PTSD in an PA Car Accident Claim?
To seek and obtain compensation, you and your attorney will need evidence of PTSD and the effect it has on your life. If you believe you suffered from psychological trauma, it is essential to seek medical care. Not only can medical professionals help alleviate your symptoms, but an official PTSD diagnosis can significantly increase your odds of receiving financial compensation for this condition.
In some instances, a diagnosis of PTSD or depression or the nature of your injuries alone may be sufficient to justify an award of non-economic damages. Your attorney may also recommend that you maintain a journal detailing your pain and experience while recovering from injuries.
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer at Brandon J. Broderick is Ready to Help You Today
Contact an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer, such as Brandon J. Broderick, for assistance with the claims process immediately following a traumatic car accident. Our firm can advise you on where to seek treatment for PTSD after a car accident and assist you with establishing a compelling claim for damages. Our empathetic attorneys recognize that these injuries can be as debilitating as physical ones.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to full compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental injuries. With our track record of success and dedication to client care, Brandon J. Broderick can get you the justice that you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.