Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
Car accidents can be traumatizing events that may linger with a victim for a long period of time. In some cases, victims of serious car accidents may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the crash. While it may be difficult to prove a case of PTSD after a car accident, that does not mean that the injury is not compensable. If you or a family member developed PTSD after a car accident, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer today. At The Reiff Law Firm, our injury lawyers will work tirelessly to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Our car accident attorneys explain whether you can sue for PTSD after a car accident in Pennsylvania.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that occurs after a person is involved in a dangerous or shocking experience. For example, a person that is in a truck accident that claims the life of their spouse may experience symptoms of PTSD. You should also be aware of other scenarios that may cause a person to experience severe trauma, like observing a loved one suffer a motorcycle accident.
Every year about 3 million people are involved in car accidents in the United States. Approximately 9% of those 3 million people develop PTSD after a serious car accident.
There are various signs and symptoms of PTSD that can help you determine whether you or a loved one is suffering from the disorder:
- An increased heart rate and severe anxiety when hearing noises that may remind you of a car accident, like a car horn
- Being easily startled while driving
- Constantly searching for threats that are not there
- Avoiding driving on certain roads or not driving at all
There are other symptoms of PTSD that are not listed above. For example, the loss of enjoyment in your favorite activities and constant feelings of guilt.
While anyone could develop PTSD, certain risk factors could increase the likelihood of suffering from PTSD after a car accident. One risk factor for developing PTSD is surviving a previous traumatic experience. If a person was involved in more than one life-changing event and they feel they did not receive adequate social support after the event, they are more likely to suffer from PTSD after a subsequent traumatic experience. Other risk factors for PTSD include:
- Traumatic childhood experiences
- Substance abuse or suffering from a mental illness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Being seriously injured
If you feel that you or a loved one has PTSD, it is important to seek medical attention. It may also help to reach out to close friends and family or consider joining a support group.
To learn more about the causes and symptoms of PTSD, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
When to Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an injury that you could sue for after a car accident. However, it can be more difficult to prevail in a case based around a psychological or mental illness. This is why it is important to document how the disorder affected your life if you want to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are suffering from PTSD, you should keep evidence that explains when you were diagnosed with the disorder and how long you have experienced symptoms. For example, if you experience guilt and anxiety every time the car accident is brought up, this is an important detail to document. Experiencing symptoms of PTSD months or over a year after a car accident may make it easier to win a claim for injuries.
Additionally, if your PTSD developed after a car accident where you were seriously injured, this can also aid your case. As mentioned, suffering a serious injury in a car accident can increase the likelihood of developing PTSD. You should also be able to bring a claim for the injury, whether it was a spinal injury or a brain injury.
You should not feel discouraged from pursuing a claim because you believe your injury is more psychological than physical. Receiving compensation for a personal injury lawsuit can help you seek and fund the professional help you may need to deal with your PTSD.
Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim for PTSD
If you or a family is suffering from PTSD after a serious car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney today. The dedicated legal team at The Reiff Law Firm possess over 40 years of combined legal experience that will be used to aggressively represent you. Our firm has handled a variety of cases dealing with PTSD and depression, and we are here to stand with you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential claim, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000, or contact us online.