What Compensation Is There for PTSD After A Car Accident?
After becoming involved in a car accident, you may develop PTSD, a medical condition resulting in mental and emotional anguish. Should you choose to sue the driver or other individual whose negligence or wrongdoing caused the accident, you may be able to recover compensation sufficient to cover both your economic and noneconomic costs associated with treating this often debilitating condition. Before taking a deep dive into such compensation, however, it is important to understand what PTSD is and the symptoms you may experience when suffering from it.
The letters PTSD stand for post-traumatic stress disorder, a serious mental health condition brought about after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. While it is normal to feel frightened, anxious, or even angry after a car accident, such feelings usually go away within a few days or weeks without treatment. If your symptoms last for longer than a month or get worse to the point where they negatively impact one or more aspects of your life, however, you likely have PTSD. If so, your best interests dictate that you do two things: seek treatment from a licensed mental health care provider and contact a local personal injury attorney experienced in handling car accident cases.
Although specific PTSD symptoms vary from person to person, the medical community groups them into the following four categories:
- Intrusive memories
- Negative thinking and mood changes
- Physical and emotional reaction changes
Perhaps the most common symptom in this category is obsessive thoughts about the events surrounding your accident. It is as though the entire experience is on automatic rewind that plays again and again in your mind. These memories may also invade your sleep, causing you to have extremely vivid nightmares about the accident.
During your waking hours, you may experience flashbacks, that is, reliving the accident as though it were happening right now, usually triggered by an unexpected loud noise or other unsettling occurrence
Negative Thinking and Mood Changes
The list of common symptoms in this category is quite extensive, and includes such things as the following:
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Feeling isolated or detached from your friends and family members
- Finding it difficult to maintain and nurture your close relationships
- Losing interest in activities you enjoyed prior to your accident
- Finding it difficult to maintain concentration at work
As its name implies, symptoms in this category include such things as the following:
- Refusing to talk about the accident
- Becoming irritated or defensive when others try to get you to “open up” about it
- Trying desperately to stop thinking about it
- Refusing to go to or near places where it occurred
Physical and emotional reaction changes
Finally, you may notice changes in your behavior, including one or more of the following:
- Severe physical or emotional reactions, such as profuse sweating, uncontrollable crying, “zoning out.” or other distressing occurrences when an unrelated event reminds you of the accident
- Increased irritability, unusually aggressive behavior, or angry outbursts
- Increased use of alcohol or other self-destructive behavior
- Constant feelings of anxiety and fear
- Jumping or startling at sudden noises
In extreme cases of PTSD, you may even have suicidal thoughts. If such thoughts occur, you need immediate help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers such help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that is easy to obtain. All you need do is call or text 988 from your cell phone. A trained crisis management consultant will answer your call and talk with you. Consultations are free and completely confidential.
Unfortunately, PTSD can last for years without the proper treatment. Your first step in obtaining treatment consists of making an appointment with a qualified mental health care provider who will assess your situation and, if appropriate, will diagnose you with PTSD.
Once diagnosed, a variety of treatments exist, including the following:
- Prescription medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, nightmare suppression drugs, etc.
- Cognitive therapy that provides you with the tools you need to recognize PTSD’s negative patterns
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing that teaches you guided eye movements to change your reactions to your accident
- Exposure therapy that provides you with the necessary tools to safely face your traumatic memories
As stated, should you choose to sue the person at fault for your car accident, you may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic damages for your resulting PTSD.
Your economic damages represent the current and future monetary costs associated with your PTSD, including the following:
- Doctor appointments
- Treatment and therapy
- Lost wages
Your noneconomic damages represent your more subjective, but nevertheless very real, PTSD costs, including such things as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish and distress
- Inability to conduct your life as you did prior to your accident
- Loss of your overall enjoyment of life
In order to receive compensation for your PTSD, you will need to prove the following:
- That someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing caused your car accident
- That you developed PTSD subsequent to the accident and as a direct result of it
- That your PTSD has negatively impacted your life and continues to do so
PTSD Compensation Limitations
Michigan law sets no limit on the amount of damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. As a practical matter, however, the amount you can recover likely will depend on the at-fault person’s insurance policy limits.
Also be aware that Michigan’s Statute of Limitations requires you to file your lawsuit within three years from the date of your accident.
Obtaining Legal Help
As you might expect, mounting a successful car accident claim can be complicated and time-consuming. That is where the Mike Morse Law Firm comes in. As one of Michigan’s premier personal injury law firms, our team of deeply experienced and highly motivated and dedicated attorneys have helped numerous car accident victims get the compensation they deserve. To date, we have obtained over $1 billion for our injured clients, and we stand ready, willing and able to help you, too.
We realize, however, that you’re looking for not only compensation for your post-accident PTSD, but also for an attorney with whom you feel confident and comfortable. You will find just that at the Mike Morse Law Firm. You will work directly with one or more of our attorneys who take your accident as seriously as you do. We will listen to your story, answer your questions, advise you of your options going forward, and treat you with the dignity, respect and empathy you deserve.
Once you hire us, we will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and will always keep you updated on the progress and status of your case. We know how to deal with insurance companies, and are always prepared to aggressively represent you in court if and when it becomes necessary to take your case to trial.
So contact us today. The sooner you allow us to put our experience and dedication to work for you, the sooner you will be on your way to receiving just PTSD compensation. Your case assessment and initial consultation are free, and you pay nothing unless and until we satisfactorily conclude your case.