Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident?
Car accidents often cause devastating bodily injuries. Broken bones and soft tissue damage can take weeks or months to heal, while some scars can last a lifetime.
Some of these scars, however, are not visible. If you have suffered severe mental or emotional trauma due to an accident, you could seek monetary compensation from the responsible driver. That does not mean obtaining compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be simple.
Unlike physical injuries, trauma can be difficult to prove. Because it is not visible to the naked eye, the at-fault motorist could make a compelling argument that your mental suffering is minimal at best.
The New York City car accident lawyers of Douglas and London might be able to assist you in demonstrating the severity of your PTSD.
When PTSD compensation might be available
PTSD is most commonly associated with combat veterans. However, given that car accidents commonly result in fatal injuries– it should come as no surprise that it can manifest after a serious crash.
Not every car accident will result in a viable claim for PTSD compensation, though. Accidents with limited injuries are unlikely to result in a claim for damages. On the other hand, collisions that lead to severe, permanent, or even fatal injuries could result in a viable claim for trauma.
The challenge of proving PTSD
Demonstrating that you have PTSD is rarely simple. While a jury can look at a photo and determine that you were cut or burned, there is no way to prove definitively that you are suffering from trauma.
However, your testimony will play an important part in establishing that you are suffering from it. For example, stating that you are suffering from common signs of PTSD could be persuasive—which can include:
- Poor sleeping habits
- Constantly reliving the accident
- Heavy sweating
- Elevated heart rate
- Heightened stress near the area of the crash
- Feeling faint
- Personality changes
- Becoming distant
- Constant worry
Further, after evaluating you, a physician could also corroborate the diagnosis.
Obtaining a medical expert to evaluate your claim can be difficult without the guidance of a skilled personal injury lawyer. At Douglas and London, we have built relationships with many medical experts and could assist in obtaining the evaluation you need.
In most cases, your expert will not go unchallenged. The defendant has the right to call their own medical experts who can give competing testimony. When that occurs, it is up to the jury to determine which expert to believe.
Settling a PTSD claim
One important thing to consider after an accident is that you will only have one opportunity to resolve a PTSD claim. Once you reach an agreement with the other side, you will never have a chance to seek compensation from them again.
This can be a problem because psychological trauma can go undetected for months. If you quickly resolve your injury claim, you will not be able to come back and seek compensation for it. It is almost impossible to return to renegotiate a settlement.
It is crucial that your legal counsel consider the potential effects of PTSD during their course of the settlement negotiations.
How an attorney could help
Dealing with PTSD is never easy. Likewise, taking on a personal injury claim that involves it is also very complex. The good news is that help is available. Not only are there medical experts who can address your trauma– there is also experienced legal counsel who can pursue fair compensation.
Contact us today
The New York City personal injury lawyers of Douglas & London have spent more than 20 years pursuing compensation for the physical, mental, and financial damages of New York residents. To learn how they could help with your PTSD claim, schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.