Serious car accidents can leave their victims with more than just visible scars. The invisible scars are emotional injuries, which can be just as painful as the physical ones. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of them.
PTSD can impact an individual’s personal and professional relationships and alter their quality of life. And because treatment often requires extensive and ongoing mental health therapy, PTSD can also have serious financial consequences.
If you or someone close to you is living with PTSD, contact Tomeny, Best Injury Lawyers to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Victims may be able to file a PTSD claim for compensation — money that our legal team can help you pursue.
Can You Get PTSD from an Injury?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious injury often associated with military veterans. However, research indicates that individuals who have been involved in serious motor vehicle accidents are at an increased risk for developing PTSD.
PTSD and other psychological conditions are real consequences for victims recovering from the physical and mental strain of a serious collision. In fact, one study found that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population. Another found that roughly 39 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors developed signs of PTSD.
Motor vehicle accidents are not the only ones that can result in PTSD. Any sudden, violent incident can trigger PTSD for victims. And it’s not only the people involved who can develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Bystanders and witnesses can be traumatized as well.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that many people have heard of, but few understand. Before the condition was given its current terminology, it was generally known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” Now that PTSD has been more thoroughly studied, researchers know that the condition can impact anyone, not just combat veterans. Those who have survived natural disasters, traumatic accidents, terrorist acts, physical or sexual trauma, or near-death experiences might develop PTSD as a result.
Diagnosing PTSD is not as simple as checking off a list of symptoms. Generally, a person must exhibit certain signs for at least one month following a traumatic or catastrophic event. In some cases, these symptoms develop over time and may not manifest for several months.
PTSD symptoms are grouped into four major categories:
- Intrusion — These are typically unbidden or repetitive thoughts, including involuntary memories, flashbacks to the event, and troubling dreams. These thoughts can impact a person’s daily life and may seem unavoidable.
- Alterations in thinking and mood — PTSD can also trigger an inability to recall certain aspects of the traumatic event. Individuals may begin to have negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that alter their beliefs about themselves or those around them. They may also start to feel detached and distanced from others, including family and friends. Feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness are also common. Sufferers also report feeling a sense of numbness and lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- Changes in physical or emotional reactions — Individuals with PTSD often develop uncharacteristic responses to physical and emotional stimuli. They may always feel on guard, have angry outbursts, panic attacks, be easily frightened, or struggle to sleep or concentrate. Some people are self-destructive and resort to reckless or dangerous behaviors.
- Avoidance — People with PTSD may also avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic incident. They may steer clear of people, places, or objects that remind them of the event.
These symptoms may vary in intensity. Sometimes periods of great stress can trigger a strong reaction. If you or someone you know begins to have suicidal thoughts, get professional help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is one place you can turn for support.
PTSD Accident Compensation After an Injury
Victims may be able to recover valuable compensation if they are diagnosed with PTSD from a car accident.
The amount of compensation a person can receive from a PTSD claim varies. Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state, which means people can obtain compensation after suffering injuries due to someone else’s negligence. However, the victim’s portion of compensation can be reduced by their share of responsibility for causing the accident. The pure comparative fault rules bind court decisions and strongly influence how an insurance adjuster values a claim.
Generally, a victim’s total compensation is estimated by calculating their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are a victim’s measurable losses, which may include money for therapy, other medical expenses, lost wages, and more for post-traumatic stress disorder. Non-economic damages compensate for pain and suffering and subjective quality of life changes, such as the emotional toll taken by chronic flashbacks.
In rare cases, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages in Louisiana, this type of compensation punishes the defendant for particularly egregious behavior.
The total value of an individual’s overall claim can depend on the severity of the injuries and how they impact the victim’s everyday life. To find out what your claim may be worth, talk to a personal injury attorney. An experienced PTSD lawyer can review your situation in detail and place an appropriate value on your case.
Common Accidents that Can Cause PTSD
Any type of accident could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Common examples include:
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Offshore oil rig accidents
- Airline accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Dog attacks
- Slip and falls
While these are among the most common sources of PTSD, they are far from the only ones. If you’ve been injured in an accident and now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, contact an experienced Baton Rouge attorney with Tomeny|Best Injury Lawyers today.
How Can You Prove PTSD in a Personal Injury Case?
Recovering compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder can be challenging. PTSD is known as an “invisible” injury because the condition’s impact is not immediately visible to the average observer. This often makes insurance companies hesitant to pay out a claim.
Getting help from a committed personal injury attorney is wise when seeking compensation for PTSD. A knowledgeable lawyer understands the complexities of mental health claims and can gather the medical documentation it takes to support a PTSD claim. Generally, an insurer or the courts will want to see evidence of:
- An official PTSD diagnosis from a health care provider
- PTSD treatment records, documents, and notes from therapists or a mental health professional
- Expert witnesses who can vouch for the necessity of the medical treatments, costs, and therapies
Medical documentation and expert witness testimony are powerful tools that can help you demonstrate the validity of your condition.
At Tomeny, Best Injury Lawyers, we understand that it can be difficult to accept that you need to prove the devastating impact of your PTSD diagnosis when it affects your daily life. It can feel like no one understands you or what you are going through. Let our compassionate team take the burden off your shoulders and help you meet the requirements set by Louisiana personal injury law.
Talk to Our Baton Rouge PTSD Attorneys
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD after a Baton Rouge accident, get a lawyer from Tomeny|Best Injury Lawyers on your side. Our law firm is sensitive to the difficulties you face and always puts your health and well-being first. We’re ready to listen to your concerns, craft a strategy with those needs in mind, and handle every detail of your PTSD claim from beginning to end.
Don’t wait to get the legal advice you need. Call or contact a Baton Rouge PTSD lawyer today for a free case evaluation. You don’t have to suffer in silence. The consultation is confidential, and there is no obligation, so you have nothing to lose.