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PTSD Car Accident Settlement

There’s no question about it, car accidents are devastating. The aftermath is expensive and time-consuming, and physical injuries can be painful and life-altering. For some, the stress of a car accident is more than just an inconvenience — it’s an injury itself. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very real consequence of car accidents for almost a quarter of car accident survivors, and PTSD needs treatment just like any other injury.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a serious psychological consequence of traumatic events, like car accidents. Most people would acknowledge that a car accident has an expected effect on their mental state, especially in the immediate aftermath, but this goes far beyond just emotional distress. When a car accident results in fatalities, survivors often experience additional psychological impacts. 

Unfortunately, many people with PTSD from a car accident may not experience the symptoms for days, weeks, or even months after their accident. Many also may not realize that what they are experiencing is just as important as a physical injury and just as deserving of care.

PTSD after a car accident can present differently, but just some of the common symptoms include:

  • Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories of the car accident
  • Recurrent distressing dreams about the car accident
  • Recurrent flashbacks that make survivors feel like they are back at the time of the car accident
  • Intense or ongoing stress triggered by sights, sounds, smells, mentions of, or a variety of other cues that symbolize or remind of the car accident
  • Avoidance of triggers or situations that are distressing, such as avoiding an intersection, refusing to drive, or refusing to get in a car at all
  • Memory problems, feelings of guilt or shame, or feelings of detachment and disinterest
  • Irritability, aggression, or self-destructive behavior
  • Problems with concentration
  • Difficulty with falling or staying asleep or problems with getting restful sleep

While alcohol and drug use are not symptoms of PTSD itself, many people turn to substances — or other self-destructive behaviors — to cope with the psychological effects of their PTSD. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is help. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America offers a self-screening tool people can use to help them communicate their possible symptoms of PTSD with healthcare providers. Sometimes, people with PTSD experience suicidal thoughts. The free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for anyone in distress or worried about someone else. They have options for chatting online or over the phone at 1-800-273-8255.

While PTSD does not require survivors to have sustained any physical injuries to be life-altering, PTSD can stem from or be compounded by the physical injuries sustained in a car accident. Understanding the relationship between physical injuries that occurred and the anxiety those who were injured continue to experience can be complicated, but it can also play a big role in calculating fair compensation in your PTSD settlement.

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What Are the Damages in a PTSD Car Accident Settlement?

PTSD is a medical condition, and financial compensation is available for impacts, just like any other medical condition. As with any car accident claim, recovery amounts vary, but we will look at a variety of factors, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life

Some of the medical expenses associated with treatment for PTSD might include:

  • Visits to your psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professionals for diagnosis and treatment
  • Travel to and from your appointments related to your PTSD diagnosis and treatment
  • Treatment for other issues stemming from the PTSD, such as substance abuse counseling
  • Inpatient mental health treatment programs
  • Prescription medications

How these damages are calculated will depend on how your PTSD affects you and your ability to live your life. Factors considered might include:

  • The severity of your PTSD and recovery time. In order to qualify as a medical diagnosis of PTSD, you must have been experiencing symptoms for at least a month. You may have been experiencing symptoms before you even realized what was happening, which your doctor will be able to help determine, but that also means you might have experienced impacts before your diagnosis, as well. 
  • Lost income and reduced ability to work. The symptoms of PTSD often make it difficult for people to go about their lives in the ways they want to, and that includes professional obligations. Some of the first clues you may have had that you were experiencing problems may have been related to your job. Maybe you started having attendance issues, like being late or calling out. Perhaps you found it difficult to concentrate and get your work done on time, and you started to see the quality of your work slip. If these consequences lost you money, they might be compensable. The same goes for the time you need to miss for appointments or inpatient treatment.
  • Impact on quality of life. Insurance companies often try to pass off PTSD from a car accident as a minor inconvenience at best and, at worst, something you are faking. These are all part of the hostile techniques they use to devalue your claim and avoid paying you what you deserve.

Many people are embarrassed when it comes to seeking help for PTSD, and it can be even more difficult to put yourself out there for financial recovery. You might be worried about being accused of being weak or even faking your emotional distress. However, a number of researchers have actually studied whether or not PTSD seems to disappear after a successful lawsuit, and their findings support the fact that there is no widespread deceit among people who experience PTSD after a car accident.

What Factors Can Affect Your Whiplash Car Accident Settlement?

In addition to the extent of your PTSD and its impact on your life, there are other factors that contribute to the amount of your financial recovery. Every client should understand that the value of their case is maximized by how far we can push for clients to get the most compensation possible. This means factoring in:

  • Comprehensive medical documentation: Even though many people try to brush aside feelings of distress, it’s vital that you get medical treatment as soon as you notice something is not right, even if you may think you will recover on your own. Sometimes, you may not even be the one to first notice changes in your mood or behavior. People are so good at compensating for their own mental struggles that sometimes it’s other people who notice symptoms first. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals are well equipped to recognize or diagnose PTSD. It is important to advocate for yourself. If you feel your doctor is being dismissive of your symptoms, don’t give up when it comes to getting the help you need.
  • Limitations of insurance payouts: Remember, PTSD is a medical condition, and its treatment is covered by auto insurance policies. Unfortunately, the state maximum liability coverage available to you may not cover your losses. That does not mean that financial recovery is impossible, though. When losses exceed insurance company limits, there may be a way to  recover additional money from the driver’s auto insurance companies or even from other responsible parties. 

Calculating the full value of a PTSD case is complex, especially when maximizing the full value of a case means understanding what future costs may be in store. This means that these cases need to be handled by attorneys who not only will listen to your story and trust your understanding of how your car accident has impacted you but also understand how to craft a strong case.

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How Can FVF Help After a Car Accident?

FVF wants people injured in car accidents to be empowered to make their own decisions about what they need, not feel victimized or ashamed for needing help. That’s why we’ll work to help you understand your rights when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, including your own. If the insurance companies are not willing to settle fairly, we will take it to the courtroom. 

We don’t take cases if we don’t believe that we can add enough value to your recovery to cover the cost of hiring a lawyer. Even if we don’t end up representing you, we know information and education are two of the strongest tools we can help you with when it’s time to take back your life after an accident. Contact us today to get started.

Our Process and What You Can Expect

1
Call FVF

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2
Get Answers

Our lawyers will answer all your questions so you can make educated decisions.

3
Relax

Let us handle the details so you can focus on healing.

4
Get Results

We'll craft a strong case so you can get a fair recovery.

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