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Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Can I Sue for PTSD After a Car or Truck Accident?

The short answer is yes, under certain conditions.

So, you were in a severe traffic accident some time ago and still don’t feel right. The trauma has remained with you. You sometimes relive the accident, and you avoid the location where the accident took place because it was so upsetting. You might be irritable, have trouble concentrating, or have trouble sleeping. Perhaps you even feel depressed.

What you are experiencing might be post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD. First identified as “shell shock” in veterans returning from World War I, PTSD is recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). According to the APA, auto accidents are the most common cause of PTSD in the civilian population. If you find yourself needing a personal injury lawyer in Bucks County or in surrounding Pennsylvania areas, HGSK lawyers can help at (267) 350-6600.

You May Be Able to Sue After a Car or Truck Accident

PTSD affects people emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, and is a debilitating condition that must be recognized and treated. It is common for people in severe car or truck accidents to suffer from PTSD, especially when the accident resulted in serious physical injuries or death.

If the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, you may be able to file a claim against that driver for financial compensation for the pain and suffering caused by PTSD.

Call HGSK for a consultation at 267-361-0569 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can be debilitating, especially if left untreated. While there may be no outward signs of trauma, the stress and suffering of those with PTSD is very real and in some ways more damaging and harder to treat than a physical injury.

Those with PTSD may experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares/loss of sleep
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feeling numb
  • Flashbacks to the accident

Treatment of PTSD is as varied as the symptoms of the people who suffer from it. Those with PTSD may undergo psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, take medication, or both.

PTSD Claims are Difficult to Prove

There are several reasons it is difficult to prevail in a PTSD auto accident lawsuit.

First, compare PTSD with a comparably-severe physical injury. There will be visible signs of that injury as well as the attendant medical expenses in treating it. PTSD is not visible, and a person living with PTSD may not seek the help of a mental health professional right away, thinking that they should be able to shake it off or that the emotional shock will subside given time.

For this reason, the first thing that must happen is that you visit a mental health professional and be officially diagnosed with PTSD.

The second consideration is whether you can show that the PTSD was a direct result of the car accident. How did you feel before the accident? Can others attest to a change in your behavior? Likely there is a big difference in your life before the accident and your life after the accident. Those differences are the things that are compensable.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You

Even if our attorneys can prove that you have PTSD and that the car accident caused it, it’s tricky to determine what measure of damages you are entitled to. This is because there are likely no hospital or other medical bills, and therefore no quantifiable expenses to rely on. In this case, it helps your claim if the other driver was “grossly negligent” because then you can be awarded damages as a punitive measure against him or her.

This all means that a PTSD claim, with nothing more, takes more work than a lawsuit based on physical injury. This is why you want an experienced team of Pennsylvania personal injury and car accident attorneys working for you.

Recently we recovered $1,000,000.00 in Monroe County, PA, for a client who developed PTSD after a trucking accident. While we can’t guarantee this or a similar result in your case or any other case, we can say we have successfully litigated PTSD claims from car accidents and that we can help you with your case.

What Do I Need to Do to Recover Damages for a PTSD Claim from a Car Accident?

If you suffered or are currently suffering from PTSD as the result of a car accident, you and your attorney will need to gather evidence. This evidence may include documentation of medical professionals, witness testimony, including an expert psychiatrist witness, and you will likely have to testify as well to describe your experience. Other witnesses might include other professionals who have first-hand knowledge and/or have worked with PTSD. These may be university professors, authors of applicable treatises, licensed therapists, and the like.

There are also expert witnesses who have experience calculating the measure of monetary damages that are appropriate when suffering from mental disorders. Your attorney will be able to hire one for you.

There can be no doubt that auto accidents are traumatic for all involved. If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD due to a car or truck accident, call HGSK Lawyers at 267-361-0569 to schedule your free consultation. We have the experience to litigate your case to the fullest and get you the monetary damages you deserve.