Very few people will argue that being involved in a vehicle collision is stressful. A car accident is a frightening experience and many people experience anxiety and other emotions in its aftermath. When an accident victim experiences emotional distress or mental anguish after the incident, they may be entitled to recover damages.
Post traumatic stress disorder is something that most people associate with combat. In truth, PTSD can be experienced after any traumatic event. That said, it can be difficult to prove because it is invisible. Unlike the broken bones, contusions and other physical injuries sustained in a vehicle collision, PTSD is unseen. Recovering damages for PTSD is typically more complicated than recovering damages for physical injuries.
In order to obtain damages for PTSD following a car crash, the victim must be able to show that a qualified doctor accurately diagnosed the condition. The victim must also prove that the diagnosis is directly related to the incident. For this to happen, an experienced expert witness may be called to testify.
Even when PTSD is attributed to the incident, a prior trauma may be brought up by the insurance company or their lawyers. The defense will likely argue that the PTSD arose from another trauma and not the accident. Even in situations where an accident exacerbated your pre-existing PTSD, you may be entitled to some compensation if you can prove your injuries.
Timing is Everything
One of the issues that arise from a PTSD claim is the timing of the diagnosis. Many accident victims settle their cases fairly quickly. It is not unusual for a car accident claim to be settled within six months. It can take several months for PTSD to be diagnosed, especially if the victim does not realize that this may be what they are suffering from and, therefore, does not seek an immediate diagnosis.
Once a victim settles their case, they cannot reopen it unless there are extraordinary circumstances. This means that if a case is settled prior to the diagnosis of PTSD, the victim may not be able to recover damages for the mental condition. This is why it is so important to seek medical care in an appropriate time frame.
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD such as flashbacks, depression, persistent anxiety or changes in regular sleep patterns, seek the assistance of a qualified medical professional. If you settle your case before you seek a diagnosis for the emotional turmoil you are experiencing, you likely will not be able to seek compensation for your distress, even if you are diagnosed with PTSD.
North Carolina car accident victims have rights. You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to seek recovery of monies paid out for medical bills, lost wages and more. Whether you are suffering with physical injuries, emotional injuries or both, we may be able to help you. Contact our team of accident attorneys to learn more about your legal rights. Call our office today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.