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Claiming Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident

Posted on 07/18/22

When individuals think of car accidents, they often have images of traumatic physical injuries in their minds. It is true that people can suffer from a wide range of injuries as a result of vehicle accidents, including broken or dislocated bones, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and more. However, people can also suffer from a wide range of emotional and psychological trauma as a result of a vehicle accident and the preceding injuries. This includes PTSD. Here, we want to discuss the process of recovering compensation for PTSD after a car accident.

How Common is PTSD After a Vehicle Accident?

When we examine information presented by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), we can see that approximately 39% of every person involved in a vehicle accident also incurs symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is significant because when most people think of vehicle accidents, they think of the visible traumatic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken or dislocated bones, lacerations, scarring and disfigurement, and more.

PTSD opens up an entirely different type of trauma a person experiences, and it can certainly affect the crash victim’s day-to-day life. Individuals who sustain PTSD after an accident could develop feelings of fear, stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, and more. PDSD often includes flashbacks or anxiety when a person drives past the scene of the incident. Simply hearing a sound or smelling a certain smell could trigger a PTSD response.

When an individual sustains PTSD as a result of a vehicle accident, this can significantly affect how they go about their day-to-day life. Even though physical injuries may seem healed, these unseen traumas could prevent a person from working or enjoying activities with their family.

Recovering Compensation for PTSD

When discussing vehicle accident compensation, it is crucial not only to include medical expenses related to visible traumatic injuries but also expenses related to PTSD and other types of emotional and psychological suffering. These are considered non-economic damages when it comes to compensation recovery. Even though there may not be any concrete bills or receipts that can adequately show that a person has PTSD, there are ways to calculate non-economic damages.

Often, a vehicle accident victim and their attorney will use a “multiplier method” where all other economic expenses are added up (medical bills, property damage expenses, lost wages). The total of these expenses will then be multiplied by a set number, usually a number ranging from 2 to 5. For example, suppose a spinal cord injury victim sustains $500,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages. A multiplier of “three” could be used to reach a non-economic total of $1.5 million. The compensation for PTSD would be included in this non-economic total.

All car accident victims must work with a skilled attorney who can adequately calculate their expected expenses. A West Chester car accident attorney will fully investigate the incident and work with trusted medical and economic experts throughout the entire case. It is best to ensure that you, as an accident victim, receive adequate medical care, which includes treatment for PTSD. The more documentation that you can show the insurance carriers or the court related to emotional and psychological suffering, the better.