Accident Victims Can Recover Damages for PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is widely recognized as affecting veterans of war, and first-responders responding to extremely traumatic calls. However, PTSD is not limited to veterans and first-responders. The stress from an accident can often be enough to trigger PTSD, and symptoms from the disorder can be compensable in a personal injury case.
Symptoms of PTSD
A medical professional, typically a psychiatrist, is qualified to diagnose PTSD. PTSD often does not immediately manifest itself. Here are some of the symptoms that common among those suffering PTSD:
- Flashbacks, nightmares, or replaying the traumatic event in the victim’s head.
- Avoidance of the situation that the victim was in when the accident happened. For example, someone in a car accident may avoid driving, or avoid driving to the same location where the accident happened
- Irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating and overall “jumpiness”
- Adverse physical reactions in response to reminders of the event
Of course, many victims may experience these symptoms without being diagnosed with PTSD. For example, the victim of a fall may suffer anxiety, fear, or anger. However, it is only after all of these symptoms are present for a period of several weeks and continuing that the victim is likely to be diagnosed with PTSD.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD may result from exposure to a single extremely traumatic event, or a series of traumatic events. In most cases, one may suffer from PTSD if one’s life is threatened, sustains serious injury, sexual abuse, or witnesses any of these happen to someone else. Sometimes, repeatedly being exposed to distressing events can bring on PTSD, such as with first-responders who are routinely present at accident or crime scenes.
In some cases, a victim who does not witness an event that happens to someone else, but learns of it after the fact, may sustain PTSD (for example, a parent who does not witness his or her child being hit by a car may still have PTSD).
Recovering for PTSD
The law provides monetary damages for PTSD victims. We often think of these kinds of damages as “non-economic” damages, because they have no price tag or dollar figure the way that a medical bill or a day of lost wages has. However, a jury is allowed to consider emotional distress, which includes PTSD. This includes recovery for the loss of the quality of, or enjoyment of one’s life, because symptoms associated with PTSD.
If you were involved in an accident, make sure that you make a claim for the damages that you are entitled to. Contact our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at the Celeste Law Firm today for help if you have been injured in any kind of accident.