Every time you get into the driver’s seat, you almost flinch. You see that car that side-swiped you and sent a loved one to the hospital. You tense up every time you have to go somewhere in a car because you’re afraid it might happen again. You send your husband to get groceries or pick up the kids, just to avoid getting into a car again. If this sounds familiar, you might have PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a car accident.
Four Kinds of PTSD
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four types of PTSD:
- Intrusive memories
- Recurring, unwanted thoughts about the traumatic event, including in dreams and nightmares.
- Not wanting to talk about the event or avoiding activities or places that remind you of it.
- Negative changes in thinking or mood
- Feeling depressed or detached emotionally.
- Lacking interest in formerly favorite pastimes.
- Changes in physical or emotional reactions
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
- Unusual irritability or sudden volatile temper.
- Always being on guard or alert for danger.
While many physical injuries can heal relatively quickly, psychological trauma can sometimes take years to heal. However, it may not be recognized right away, as its symptoms usually appear around a month after the incident and persist over time. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, see a mental health professional who can diagnose it and help with treatment.
Pain & Suffering vs. Emotional Distress
In a lawsuit, there are two potential categories that a lawyer could pursue to get you compensation. Pain & Suffering refers to damages due to your mental anguish over your physical pain in a car accident. Emotional Distress is a category a little harder to prove, but encompasses PTSD. Under Emotional Distress, it must be determined whether it was intentional or unintentional that you were hurt. Generally, most courts are likely to compensate you for a physical injury, as an emotional one can be harder to prove.
While PTSD can be harder to prove in order to get financial compensation, it is still important to pursue this avenue with a skilled lawyer if you feel you truly have suffered emotionally from a car accident. You should also consult your doctor who can refer you to a skilled mental health professional. Through a lawsuit, the costs of your treatment could even be covered. Regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit, it is important to seek help.