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Can You Claim Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on April 16, 2021

If a driver was careless or reckless and this caused your car accident in San Antonio, Texas, you can file a claim against the driver for financial compensation for your injuries and related expenses, such as medical bills. You may also be able to obtain a monetary recovery for physical pain and emotional suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Is PTSD? What Are the Symptoms?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder associated with surviving or witnessing a traumatic event. While many people associate PTSD with soldiers in combat zones, it can affect anyone who has lived through a traumatic event. This includes survivors of motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms commonly associated with PTSD include:
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety associated with the activity
  • Phobias or avoidance
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or behavioral changes
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
PTSD related to a car accident could come from the trauma of the crash itself, serious injuries suffered in the car accident or watching a loved one die in an auto accident. Diagnosing PTSD often requires seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist and discussing the symptoms being experienced. PTSD treatments may include therapy, medication or a combination of both.

Claiming Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident

Damages is the legal term for both the losses suffered by a car accident victim as well as the financial compensation available for his or her losses. Claiming damages after a car accident in Texas takes filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver or party. If an insurance claim does not result in adequate compensation, the case may go to trial. However, most car accident claims in Texas are resolved with settlements. Although it is possible to claim damages for PTSD after a car accident, insurance companies make it notoriously difficult to recover compensation for this type of intangible or noneconomic loss. PTSD – along with damages such as physical pain, emotional suffering and mental anguish – are more difficult to value compared to losses that are easily documented, such as medical bills and lost wages. Proving PTSD during an insurance claim or lawsuit often takes evidence such as medical records from a psychiatrist and expert testimony to speak on behalf of what the victim is feeling and experiencing. This is why it is important for a car accident victim to see a mental health professional as soon as possible upon recognizing the signs of PTSD. An official diagnosis of this mental health condition is often necessary before an insurance company or jury will award financial damages for this type of loss. A victim can also improve the odds of obtaining compensation for PTSD by keeping an injury journal to document his or her thoughts, emotions and moods in the days and weeks following a traumatic car accident.

How Are PTSD Damages Calculated?

Another challenge when bringing a claim for PTSD after a car accident is obtaining a fair amount of financial compensation for this type of loss. Insurance companies are notorious for devaluing clients’ claims to save themselves and their investors money. During an insurance claim, a car insurance company may offer less than a victim deserves for emotional suffering and post-traumatic stress disorder without help from an attorney. If the insurance company does not offer an adequate amount, the case may have to go to trial. Before a jury will award pain and suffering damages during a car accident lawsuit, however, the victim must prove that he or she has this condition and that it has negatively impacted his or her life. If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, a car accident attorney in San Antonio can help you increase the odds of a successful damage claim. An attorney can gather evidence to prove your PTSD and the effect it has had on your life. A lawyer can also help you negotiate for maximum financial compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages. Discuss your case with a car accident attorney at the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today for more information.