PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder typically occurs when a person experiences an incredibly stressful, violent, traumatic, or dangerous situation. One common situation that unfortunately leads to PTSD is a severe car crash.
Given the trauma associated with car accidents, many accident victims experience emotional distress, disorientation, physical symptoms, flashbacks, nervousness, and confusion, for months and even years after their accident. Moreover, PTSD sufferers might be afraid to operate or ride in a motor vehicle, or they may avoid specific locations, roadways, or intersections especially where the car accident happened.
Generally speaking, the more serious the accident and the more forceful a collision, the more likely it is that an accident victim will experience symptoms of PTSD. Fortunately, accident victims who suffer PTSD symptoms may be eligible to recover various monetary damages, including compensation for their emotional distress and mental anguish.
If you or someone you care about suffered PTSD from a recent car crash, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your mental distress.
An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can help you take the necessary legal actions to recover the monetary damages you deserve for your emotional anguish and related losses. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you for these damages, your lawyer can also file a lawsuit, litigate your case in the court system, and pursue the best possible result for you.
Car Crashes That Cause Severe Physical and Mental Trauma
Several types of car crashes can result in severe physical and emotional trauma. In most situations, these forceful accidents happen because other people drive in a reckless or negligent manner.
Some of the most common car accidents that result from driver negligence and error include:
- Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles hit one another while travelling in the same direction on a multi-lane roadway
- Rear-end accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another car.
- Head-on collisions where the fronts of two vehicles hit one another while travelling in opposite directions
- T-bone accidents and broadside collisions, where one vehicle hits the side of another car with a significant amount of force
- Car overturn accidents, where a speeding vehicle overturns in the roadway, often bringing about collisions with other cars and resulting in multi-vehicle pile-ups.
In many situations, these car accidents cause intense emotional trauma due to both the accident circumstances and their resulting injuries. In those circumstances, the accident victim may be eligible to bring an emotional distress claim such as for PTSD.
A skilled car crash lawyer in your area can determine your claim-filing eligibility, file the appropriate claim on your behalf, and pursue the maximum amount of monetary compensation you deserve to recover.
Why do Car Crashes Happen in the First Place?
Forceful car collisions that cause mental anguish and emotional trauma usually happen because of another driver’s negligence. Every accident scenario is different, and driver negligence may take several various forms. In general, vehicle drivers are negligent when they fail to perform some duty that a hypothetical reasonable driver should have performed under the same circumstances. Alternatively, they might take some action that a reasonable driver should not have taken in the same scenario.
One common way that drivers act unreasonably is by violating various traffic laws and regulations. When drivers do not yield the right-of-way to other drivers at the appropriate times (such as at busy intersections with traffic control devices), or when they speed, fail to use their turn signals, or exhibit aggressive driving maneuvers through road rage, they significantly increase their chances of causing a traumatic and dangerous accident.
At other times, car crashes happen when individuals drink and drive. When a driver gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink or while under the influence of various prescription or non-prescription drugs, they may experience multiple physical symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision.
All of these physical symptoms may prevent a driver from operating their vehicle safely and carefully. In addition, an intoxicated driver might experience impaired reflexes and delayed reaction time. As a result, they may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a forceful crash.
Most drivers are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. However, tractor-trailer drivers and other commercial drivers, along with minors who are under 21 years old, are legally intoxicated if breathalyzer evidence detects any amount of alcohol in their system.
After causing a traffic accident due to drunk or drugged driving, an offending driver may be subject to criminal penalties not to mention civil damages through their motor vehicle insurance company.
Also, some traumatic car accidents happen when drivers become distracted at the wheel. For example, an inattentive driver might be roughhousing with vehicle passengers, listening to loud music, programming a GPS navigation system, or texting on a cellular device, instead of watching the road attentively. When a driver fails to pay attention, they may not see a vehicle in another travel lane and may consequently bring about a serious accident.
Finally, some dangerous car crashes happen when drivers fail to use their rearview and side view mirrors. These devices are especially useful to drivers when they attempt to switch travel lanes on a busy highway or back out of a parking space in a parking lot or parking garage. When drivers fail to use their mirrors at the proper times, they might fail to see another vehicle or pedestrian behind them, bringing about a severe collision.
If you suffered physical injuries and/or emotional trauma as a result of another driver’s negligence, a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can go through all of your legal options with you, help you file a claim, and pursue negotiations with the responsible driver’s insurance company. If litigation becomes a necessary step to take in your case, your lawyer can assist you with each part of the process and work to maximize your litigation result.
Obtaining Prompt Treatment for Car-accident-related Trauma
It is vital to not only receive prompt medical treatment for your physical injuries after a car accident but also to seek the medical treatment you need for emotional distress and mental trauma. When accident victims experience symptoms of PTSD, it is important that they seek treatment from a qualified counsellor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health provider.
Before consulting with one of these specialists, you should visit your primary care physician (PCP) if you have one. Your PCP can then make the necessary referrals for you.
If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, you should seek intervention as early on in the process as possible. Failing to seek prompt treatment for your symptoms might make insurance companies and their adjusters skeptical. It may also tempt adjusters to pry into other areas of your life, such as prior mental health issues, divorces, family deaths, and other traumatic experiences, to explain away your current symptoms.
While you concentrate on getting the treatment you need for your physical and mental injuries following a car crash, a car accident lawyer in your area can begin gathering the necessary documents to support each element of your personal injury claim. Those documents may include your medical treatment or mental health records, lost income documentation, property damage photographs, police reports, and witness statements. Once your treatment is complete, your lawyer can begin negotiating a favourable settlement with the insurance company on your behalf.
Recovering the Financial Damages You Need in Your Car Accident Case
Car crashes may result in both serious physical injuries as well as debilitating mental health issues. Those mental health issues can affect every area of your life, including your relationships with others, your ability to work, and your ability to operate or ride in a motor vehicle.
As part of a car crash claim or a lawsuit, you may be eligible to recover monetary damages for:
- Past emotional distress for the mental anguish you’ve experienced to date since the car accident
- Future emotional distress if a mental health provider has diagnosed you with a permanent mental impairment stemming from your car crash
- Loss of life enjoyment when your mental health severely limits your quality of life, ability to go places and spend time with family members and friends
- Mental trauma associated with certain car-accident injuries, including permanent disfigurement injuries
- Shame or humiliation associated with disfiguring injuries, especially those that cause observable scars on parts of your body
Based on the severity of your emotional distress and mental anguish, a car crash lawyer in your area can help you determine which of these damages you may be eligible to recover in your claim or lawsuit. Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to take your mental health issues seriously, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case for efficient resolution.
In addition to potential monetary damages related to PTSD and other types of mental distress following a car crash, accident victims might also be eligible to recover compensation for their accident-related physical injuries.
Potential monetary damages include compensation for:
- Lost income when an accident victim cannot return to work for a period of time due to their physical pain, inability to perform required job duties, or conflicting medical and physical therapy appointments following their accident
- Loss of earning capacity when an accident victim’s physical injuries prevent them from returning to their pre-accident occupation, and they have to switch jobs and take a pay cut
- Past pain and suffering when an accident victim’s physical injuries cause them to experience symptoms between their accident date and the present time
- Future pain and suffering when an accident victim suffers a permanent injury (such as full or partial paralysis) in their accident, and a medical provider determines that they will likely experience significant pain, suffering, and inconvenience well into the future
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, such as when a permanent impairment prevents an accident victim from using their hands, feet, arms, legs, or other body parts
- Loss of life enjoyment when an accident victim’s injuries cause a significant decline in their overall quality of life, preventing them from spending time with family members and friends or partaking in the social and recreational activities they once enjoyed
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium, where an accident victim’s physical injuries prevent or limit their ability to be sexually intimate with a spouse following their accident
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Near You Today
When car accident victims suffer mental health trauma, including PTSD and related symptoms, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help. In addition to seeking the prompt treatment you need for your mental health issues, you should take immediate legal action as quickly as possible after your crash.
Accident victims only have two years to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, including one that seeks monetary compensation for PTSD and related symptoms. Accident victims who fail to file a timely lawsuit within that two-year timeframe waive their right to recover monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, you should act quickly after suffering physical and mental injuries in your car crash.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area understands the physical and mental pain that often accompanies severe car accidents. Your lawyer can help you file a claim seeking monetary damages and aggressively negotiate a fair settlement offer from the insurance company.
Your lawyer can do this for you while you focus on the essential thing, seeking treatment. If the insurance company does not take your physical or mental issues seriously, your lawyer can litigate your case through the court system, represent you in all legal proceedings, and introduce evidence during your jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. Finally, your personal injury lawyer in Edmonton can pursue alternative dispute resolution options, like mediation or binding arbitration, if they think it will obtain a fair monetary result for you.