Car accident victims can suffer a wide variety of injuries in a crash. Physical injuries may be fairly easy to diagnose; however, for victims and their families, there may be emotional consequences that can be more difficult to identify. While not as tangible as a physical injury, the stress, worry, and depression that victims face are just as real. Emotional trauma can have a significant impact on daily life, and victims deserve care and compensation for these injuries just as they would any medical condition. It’s not uncommon for an accident victim to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can be experienced by a person who has witnessed or been involved in a traumatic event, including a serious car accident. Symptoms of PTSD can begin soon after the triggering event or may not appear for years. Commonly, these symptoms include:
- Intrusive memories. These memories can occur as upsetting nightmares or simply unwanted, pervasive thoughts related to the accident.
- Avoidance. Accident victims may try to avoid people or places that remind them of the accident. Others may try not to feel anything at all—a behavior referred to as emotional numbing.
- Negative thoughts. These negative changes can manifest as hopelessness, lack of interest in typical activities, feelings of detachment, memory changes, and negative thoughts about oneself or others.
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions. People suffering from PTSD often have trouble controlling their reactions to different situations. This can mean being easily startled or frightened, feeling constant fear, being irritable, having angry outbursts, engaging in dangerous behaviors, and having difficulty concentrating.
Obtaining Compensation When You Suffer From PTSD
Suffering from PTSD can make life extremely difficult. Accident victims who experience PTSD may have trouble maintaining their jobs, and they can require a significant amount of care from a medical professional. This disorder can manifest itself in different ways for different people, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and find the best treatment options for your unique situation.
After a crash, it is possible to obtain compensation for PTSD through a personal injury claim, but victims should know that proving claims of PTSD can be challenging. Victims must show that they truly suffer from this disorder and demonstrate its impact on their lives. Testimony and the opinions of experts in the field would likely be necessary to:
- Prove that the victim does suffer from PTSD specifically
- Prove that the PTSD is, in fact, related directly to the car accident in question
- Explain the prognosis and consequences of the PTSD on the victim’s life both now and likely in the future.
The American Psychological Association names car accidents as one of the leading causes of PTSD in the U.S. Given the extremely personal nature of the disorder, however, it can be difficult to determine how much compensation should be awarded. An experienced attorney can help accident victims and their families understand their rights, as well as prepare a comprehensive claim with ample, effective evidence. Our Fairfax lawyers understand how difficult life can be following a car accident, and we have helped many victims obtain the compensation they need to recover as fully as possible. Call our office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about how we may be able to help.