Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition brought about by a significantly troubling or violent event and that flares up as psychotic episodes when the sufferer encounters a certain trigger. Most people associate PTSD with soldiers who return home from the war front and are subsequently traumatized by the sound of firecrackers, engine backfiring, and other noises similar to gunfire. Some individuals develop PTSD well into adulthood as a result of childhood abuse or neglect. Researchers are now looking into how PTSD may manifest due to one of life’s most common violent events: car accidents.
Symptoms Associated with PTSD
Some of the basic symptoms of PTSD are persistent feelings of:
- Fear or terror
- Anger and depression
- Stress or anxiousness
Following a jarring car accident that leads to serious injuries, it is not uncommon for people to report feeling all of the aforementioned emotions. But those emotions alone are not generally considered to be indicative of PTSD. The persistency of the negative feelings must be so great that it interferes with the individual’s day-to-day life or causes them to experience triggers that render them temporarily crippled. For example, a person who was struck by a red Ford SUV may become overwhelmed with fear whenever they see any red SUV driving near them.
Consistent behaviors that can interfere with daily life include:
- Finding ways to avoid riding in or driving a car
- Declining necessary medical tests after an accident
- Insomnia and general restlessness
- Sweating or increased heart rate when driving or riding in a car
- Disassociation from friends and family
All of these issues can come to be prevalent or overbearing following a car accident. The problems may be extremely likely to manifest into PTSD if another passenger within the vehicle died due to the accident, especially if liability was partially placed on the person suffering PTSD.
When creating any sort of car accident claim, it is crucial to consider the damage caused by PTSD symptoms. Psychological treatment may be necessary for years, if not for the rest of the person’s life, creating a stack of medical bills. The standard of happiness and living they experience may have dropped considerably due to the stress, which could translate into nominal damages.
Can I Recover Damages for PTSD?
After establishing liability, victims may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages in a personal injury claim after a car accident. While economic damages refer to calculable costs like medical bills and lost income, non-economic damages involve things like emotional distress and pain and suffering.
If you can prove that the at-fault driver caused or contributed to your PTSD or emotional distress, or that their actions led to your injuries, which then resulted in your PTSD, you may be able to collect compensation. In Colorado, emotional distress is considered non-economic damage, though compensation is capped at $468,010. If you sought professional help for your PTSD, you may be able to use your therapy bills and medical records as evidence in your claim.
Call Us to Collect
According to recent NHTSA data, there were 2.74 million roadway injuries in the United States in 2019 alone—however, the frequency of car crashes in our country doesn’t mean you deserve to suffer. If you want to make a personal injury claim after being in a car accident in Colorado, Clawson & Clawson, LLP is here to help. Our firm’s Colorado Springs car accident lawyers can bring more than 120 years of total legal experience to your case, giving you the insight and knowledge you need to create a solid argument. Contact us online to request a free case evaluation, and be sure to ask about our “no win, no fee” contingency fee agreements.
Contact our team online or call (719) 602-5888 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with our award-winning car accident attorneys.