If you’ve experienced a serious car accident that has had a lasting, traumatic negative impact on you, you might be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can be a debilitating mental illness that comes with mental, emotional, and physical consequences – along with the stresses of medical bills and treatment. However, if negligence was involved in the accident, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party for financial compensation for your damages, along with the lasting pain and suffering associated with PTSD.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
Although post-traumatic stress disorder may not require surgery or an extended hospital stay, it can arguably be more debilitating in the long-term than a serious injury. Symptoms can manifest themselves in numerous ways:
Re-living the experience: A trigger may suddenly result in nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, and intense fear and anxiety.
Avoidance: While this is typically defined as avoiding people, places, and things that may remind you of the trauma, this can also apply to emotions. Withdrawal, muted behaviors, and generally lack of emotions can be a key sign of avoidance as well.
Hyper-Arousal: Intense feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, or sudden outbursts are primary signs of hyper-arousal.
Other Behavioral Changes: PTSD can lead to intense bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts, and a general feeling of worthlessness and guilt.
Filing a PTSD Claim is Possible, But Can Be Difficult
When you are fighting a case that has complicated aspects that are not widely known – for example what post-traumatic stress disorder is in detail or how it can affect someone mentally – you must provide an expert witness to share with the judge and jury what exactly PTSD is. The reason for this is that it is difficult to prove that someone is indeed experiencing symptoms of PTSD so it’s imperative to have an expert witness to provide insight as to what PTSD entails and if you are someone who is dealing with these effects.
The expert witness is there to explain the facts about PTSD and then give the plaintiff a diagnosis of if they believe he or she is or is not suffering from PTSD. It is also recommended to have an additional person to assess your symptoms, or a fact witness. A fact witness is someone who has experienced your PTSD first hand and witnessed the symptoms that align with the PTSD diagnosis. This fact witness can be a doctor who has treated you or a therapist who has helped you. The more people you have to defend your PTSD claim, the better. It will raise your credibility and prove to the judge and jury that you should in fact receive financial compensation from the at-fault party to deal with your diagnosis.
In the end, the case might not lie solely with the verdict of the expert witness of if you are or are not suffering from PTSD. The verdict might be completely up to the jury if the plaintiff is being truthful about suffering from PTSD given all of the evidence provided.
In any traumatic event, it is normal to be scared and have apprehensions about similar situations and events. If, however, you are noticing one or more of the symptoms above and you think you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it. If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress after being in a serious car accident, contact a trusted car accident attorney to fight for your compensation.