Can I Get Compensation for PTSD After an Accident?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make your day-to-day responsibilities feel like insurmountable challenges. The stress you deal with contending with your symptoms can be compounded when it seems like your condition is someone else’s fault.
PTSD can be considered a loss if it ties back to an event involving negligence or reckless behavior. As such, there are some circumstances in which you can pursue compensation for PTSD after an accident. You can work with an attorney to determine how best to bring PTSD losses forward.
What Are the Indicators of PTSD?
Diagnosing PTSD can be a challenge. After an accident, many people may not understand the symptoms they’re suffering from. Others may attempt to hide them out of misplaced shame.
At the end of the day, though, the National Institute of Mental Health considers post-traumatic stress disorder to be a mental health condition that requires deliberate care. The platform notes that this condition naturally develops in people who’ve undergone life-threatening events, and it deserves acknowledgment as well as treatment.
Assessing PTSD Symptoms
The way you process trauma may look different from representations you’ve seen on television. You’ll need to break down what you’re feeling, though, if you want to take effective personal and legal action. To start, consider the life events you’ve recently experienced. Have you experienced something that another person might consider emotionally wrought?
Then, take a look at your behavior over the past several months. If you’ve felt more anxious than usual or experienced less interest in your old hobbies, you may still be coping with the stress of a traumatic event. Similarly, persistent nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidant behaviors can all be indicative of PTSD.
At the end of the day, though, you cannot diagnose yourself with PTSD. Instead, you can take your concerns to an experienced therapist. Together you can come to an official diagnosis and explore your options for treatment. At the same time, you can take that diagnosis to an attorney to fight for application compensation.
Do You Need Professional Witnesses to Elaborate on PTSD Symptoms?
If you want to pursue compensation for PTSD after an accident, you need to have a medical professional submit a witness statement officially diagnosing you with this condition. This professional can put forward their professional opinion as to why you developed your condition and how PTSD symptoms have decreased your overall quality of life.
What’s more, the person who diagnoses you can later serve as a professional witness in your case. The opinions of professional witnesses receive weight in court cases because of the witness’s expertise. When you call on a professional witness during a PTSD case, you verify that your symptoms reflect a PTSD diagnosis and were caused by trauma.
How do You Determine the Monetary Value of PTSD?
Assigning financial value to a condition like PTSD takes careful consideration. You can more easily assign concrete dollar values to the incidents that result in PTSD, like car accidents or assaults.
In this sense, PTSD and its symptoms qualify as non-economic damages in today’s accident case. You’ll need to reference courtroom precedent or the opinions of a professional witness for information as to what to request from a compensation case.
That said, you can request economic compensation to make up for the cost of therapy, mobility aids, or lost wages. You can submit proof of these losses alongside evidence of a correlation between them, PTSD, and a liable party for the greatest effect.
What Is the Average PTSD Settlement?
While PTSD carries identifiable symptoms, the way you experience those symptoms will be different from how someone else does. In this same way, each PTSD case brought before a Virginia court is going to result in a different settlement. As such, it’s difficult to say what the average PTSD settlement looks like.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t come to a compensation estimate before you file your complaint. Instead, you can work with an attorney to reference previous PTSD cases issued throughout Virginia. You can then base the monetary value of your losses off of that precedent.
Cases that reference precedent can merit more positive consideration during the legal process. With that in mind, look for cases that reference PTSD as well as the circumstances that may have led to the development of your condition. An attorney can help you avoid becoming unhappy with your settlement.
Can PTSD Suits Worsen Your Symptoms?
One concern many people have when addressing PTSD in court is a resurgence of PTSD symptoms. These symptoms are stressful to contend with under the best of circumstances, but repeated exposure to triggers can cause a person to spiral.
As such, it may not always be the best idea for someone suffering from PTSD to take the stand. If you feel your condition may worsen by having to relive your experience, discuss your options with an attorney. You may be able to submit a written testimony in court cases. Alternatively, you can rely on an attorney for representation during out-of-court negotiations.
At the end of the day, it is our job to fight for your right to live a healthy life. This means taking care of your financial and mental health. Let us know what your case limitations look like, and we’ll work with you to make them manageable.
How Can You Sue for Accident-Related PTSD?
You can press a suit for PTSD the same way you would pursue a suit for a car accident or similar personal injury. To begin your suit, you need to file a complaint. Your complaint should include information regarding:
- The party you want to hold liable for your losses
- The extent of those losses
- Your losses’ translation into dollar value
- Evidence drawing a correlation between all the aforementioned parties
An attorney can help you submit your complaint to a county clerk within Virginia’s personal injury statute of limitations, outlined by Code of Virginia § 8.01-243(A). From there, you can issue a summons to the party you want to hold liable for your losses.
You can choose to pursue compensation through a trial or negotiate for the coverage you need. Either way, an attorney can represent your best interests and limit the opportunities for you to come into contact with a PTSD trigger. You have more say over your compensation in negotiations but can receive punitive damages when a judge and jury assess your case.
Discuss Your Options for PTSD Compensation With a Virginia Attorney
PTSD is a condition that deserves more public attention. Because it can result from any traumatic experience, you may not recognize your PTSD until you receive an official diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with PTSD, know that there are ways for you to take legal action in your own defense. A personal injury attorney can help you fight for financial support by pursuing copmensation for your PTSD after an accident.