Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be included in the damages a person seeks through a personal injury claim. So, if you’re suffering from severe anxiety after a crash, your car accident attorney should absolutely factor that into your claim.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a disorder that develops after a traumatic event. Though people often use the term in the context of soldiers or survivors of assault, it’s a condition anyone who has suffered a traumatic event can experience.
Symptoms of PTSD
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, to be diagnosed with a PTSD, someone must have experienced the following four symptoms for at least one month:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom (flashbacks, nightmares, or frightening thoughts)
- At least one avoidance symptom (avoiding thoughts, feelings, people, or places related to the event)
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (feeling edgy or tense and having difficulty sleeping or controlling your anger)
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms (difficulty remembering the traumatic event; loss of interest in enjoyable activities; feelings of guilt, shame, or self-loathing)
How Does PTSD Factor into a Claim?
PTSD is part of an injured person’s pain and suffering following a crash. Pain and suffering are considered “non-economic” damages, which means they aren’t strictly financial in nature. However, that term belies the fact that there are very real economic consequences for damages like PTSD.
The repeated stress experienced by PTSD sufferers has a dramatic impact on their physical and mental well-being. Some studies suggest a link between PTSD and:
- Vascular disease
- Coronary heart disease
All of these conditions can require extensive and ongoing medical care, and they can even impact a person’s ability to do their jobs and perform routine tasks.
Experienced personal injury attorneys know that all of these possible outcomes of PTSD should be considered when determining how much to demand in compensation.
What If No Physical Injuries Occurred?
If you’ve been injured in car accident, then your personal injury claim will include all types of suffering you’ve experience, including PTSD. However, if you didn’t suffer physical injuries alongside your PTSD, getting compensation solely for PTSD will be more challenging.
PTSD is a difficult condition to diagnose and, thus, to prove. Ideally, this disorder alone would be sufficient to warrant significant compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In practice, you’ll likely find pushback from insurance companies if you demand compensation for PTSD when you haven’t also suffered serious physical injuries.
In Massachusetts, you typically need to have suffered more than $2,000 in medical damages to have a valid pain and suffering claim. Though there are rare exceptions to this rule, know that getting compensation for PTSD without co-occurring physical injuries is extremely difficult.
When You Need Legal Representation After a Crash, We’re Here to Help
At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we represent people hurt in crashes caused by others’ negligence, even if they have no insurance. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, we’ll work closely with you to determine the extent of all your damages, including pain, suffering, and PTSD.