April 13, 2023

Can Car Accidents Cause PTSD?

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Go to the main Auto Accidents page

Although car accidents are common across New York state, the consequences of a collision can go far beyond damage to your vehicle. If you are experiencing severe psychological trauma after your accident, you may be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Identifying the symptoms of PTSD can go a long way in helping you get the treatment you need. You can get help covering the costs of your treatment and recovery by pursuing legal action against the person or party responsible for causing your collision.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a common type of emotional injury you may experience after being involved in a traumatic event. The impact PTSD can have on victims’ lives is undeniable. You may find it difficult to maintain relationships with your family and friends, go to work or school every day, and complete other daily living tasks.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD can impact victims’ lives in many different ways. However, there are some symptoms seen more often in victims experiencing PTSD than others. These symptoms often include:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Feelings of guilt or helplessness
  • Extreme anger when triggered
  • Flashbacks of the car accident
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Social isolation
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Becoming startled more easily
  • Avoiding things that remind you of your car accident
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Hypervigilance
  • Suicidal thoughts

These are not the only types of symptoms that you might experience if you are dealing with PTSD. 

Why Would a Car Crash Cause PTSD?

The extreme fear you experienced in your car accident may have caused your PTSD to develop. If another party is responsible for causing your car accident, you may be able to hold them accountable for their recklessness and recover the compensation you need to get treatment for your PTSD and move forward with your life.

What Kind of Treatment Options are There for PTSD?

If after conducting a thorough medical evaluation your healthcare provider determines that your emotional trauma amounts to PTSD, they may recommend a variety of treatment options, such as:

  • Prolonged exposure therapy: this practice can help reduce your emotional response to triggering stimuli over time
  • Cognitive processing therapy: this method works to reframe negative thoughts caused by post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Use of a service animal: a service animal can reduce the intensity of flashbacks and help you if you find yourself struggling to cope emotionally
  • Prescription medications: these could help you reduce the impact of anxiety, manage your sleep, and handle triggers that may otherwise be debilitating

Your healthcare provider will thoroughly review your medical history to ensure you are being treated correctly for your PTSD symptoms. With help from an attorney, you may be able to pursue legal action against those responsible for causing your car accident and recover the compensation you are entitled to.

Can You Sue for PTSD after a Car Accident?

If you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, you have the right to be compensated for every way your life has been affected. Not only should you be compensated for your economic damages associated with PTSD and the car accident, but your non-economic damages as well.

PTSD can make it difficult for you to enjoy your life, maintain relationships with family and friends, earn a living, participate in activities you once found joy in, and otherwise live your life as normally.

However, when you are getting treatment for your PTSD, the medical expenses you will incurred will only continue to rise. These costs, and the emotional trauma of the experience you went through, should all be taken into consideration as your attorney calculate the value of your claim.

Other types of losses you could recover as part of your PTSD car accident lawsuit include:

  • Loss of income
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological distress
  • Shame and humiliation
  • Fear and indignity
  • Reputational damages
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Medical expenses

Are there Challenges to Winning a PTSD Claim?

There are many challenges that may arise as you attempt to recover conversation through a PTSD lawsuit. Proving non-economic damages can be more challenging as non-economic damages do not have a fixed monetary value.

Proving to the insurance company, the judge, or the jury that your PTSD has had a substantial impact on your life will be critical. We may be able to introduce compelling evidence to prove your need and right to compensation for your PTSD following a car accident.

Some types of evidence we could use to support your case include:

  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Video of the accident
  • your medical records
  • Expert testimony
  • Statements from witnesses of the accident
  • Journal entries
  • Reports from accident reconstructionists

Turn to an Experienced New York Car Accident Lawyer

After developing PTSD following a car accident in New York, you may need the legal guidance and support of a compassionate New York car accident lawyer.

Call our dedicated attorneys at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. for a no-cost, risk-free consultation today. You can get started by filling out our convenient contact form or calling our office at (212) 490-5700.