Claiming Damages for PTSD After a Riverside Car Accident

June 2, 2021 Posted In Car Accidents

Victims involved in serious car accidents commonly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) long after the crash. Even though it isn’t a physical injury, if a collision has caused or triggered your PTSD, you may have a legal claim for damages. 

Filing a PTSD Claim in Riverside

To file a successful claim for PTSD after a car accident, you must prove that you suffer from the psychological condition and that another party caused it. That proof typically means a diagnosis from a qualified mental health expert or at least corroborating testimony. Their testimony must establish that you: 

  • Have been appropriately diagnosed with PTSD;
  • That your condition is linked to the car accident; and, 
  • Your prognosis or how long your PTSD is expected to persist. 

Placing a dollar value on your suffering and the impact PTSD has had on your life may not be easy. Medical records of treatment you have received will be vital in proving your PTSD and the amount of compensation you deserve, including: 

  • Records from visits to a physician or mental health professional.
  • Insurance claims or receipts of payments made for visits to a physician or mental health professional. 
  • Notes from the attending physician or mental health professional. 
  • List or receipts of prescribed medications.
  • Journal of your day-to-day emotional and physical symptoms and experiences. 
  • Testimony from family members and friends, confirming your mental state and the impact PTSD has had on your life.

An attorney can help you gather this evidence, as well as come up with an estimate of your claim’s value and the amount of compensation you deserve. 

Symptoms of PTSD

The expert witness for your case will typically testify that an initial stressful event occurred, as well as to the nature, signs, and symptoms of your PTSD, that may include: 

  • Flashbacks and recurring intrusive thoughts or dreams about the car accident. 
  • Avoiding places, people, or things that might trigger flashbacks. 
  • Symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, or hyperactivity. 
  • Disruption in important areas of your life, such as work, school, or relationships. 

The effects of PTSD may be included as part of your claim for “pain and suffering” following a car accident, or they may be pursued as a separate category of damages. 

Signs That a Car Accident May Trigger PTSD

Car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD because of the rate at which collisions occur and the risk of harm. Even if the individuals involved suffer relatively minor injuries, there is still potential for someone to suffer from PTSD. However, there are signs that a car accident is more likely to cause a victim to develop PTSD, such as:

  • Others involved in the accident were seriously injured. 
  • There were fatalities. 
  • Recovery from an injury is going to be lengthy. 
  • The victim has a history of traumatic experiences.

Symptoms may not manifest immediately after the accident and can gradually worsen over time. It is best to schedule an evaluation with a mental health professional as soon as you notice any changes in your behaviors or thoughts. Early intervention will ensure you receive the proper treatment and will provide the documentation you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.

If you believe you have a claim for PTSD related to a car accident, contact Hanson & Mouri. Our Riverside Car Accident Attorneys can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options in a free consultation; call (951) 688-0006 today.

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