Am I Eligible for Compensation If I Experience PTSD After a Car Accident?

By Greg Kohn

Post-traumatic stress is a psychological disorder affecting many Americans who have witnessed or suffered horrific life events. While most associate PTSD with military combat, the condition can affect anyone surviving a tragedy. In fact, car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD across the nation. 

PTSD following a car crash can result in financial and relational losses to those afflicted. Fortunately, in New Jersey, car accident injury victims are eligible to seek compensation for related post-traumatic stress disorder. 

However, PTSD vehicle injury accident claims are complex, and the help of an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney is essential when preparing a claim for damages. 

How Do I Know If I Have PTSD From My Car Accident?

People who develop PTSD after a car crash often dismiss early symptoms of the disorder. Yet, a recent study found that 22% of all people involved in road traffic accidents ultimately suffer some form of PTSD. 

PTSD manifests in many ways, negatively influencing one’s health, relationships, and financial well-being. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Negative moods
  • Alterations in cognition
  • Chronic and increasing anxiety
  • Avoidance
  • Hyper-arousal
  • Intrusion

If you experience any of these effects after a car accident, seek medical advice right away.  Relaying these symptoms and the extent to which they are impacting you is essential to effective treatment. 

Additionally, well-documented medical records will support your claim for PTSD injury compensation. 

I Don’t Have PTSD Symptoms Now. Will I Get PTSD Later?

It’s not uncommon for car accident victims to experience a delayed onset of PTSD. Because PTSD is a psychological response to a traumatic event, susceptibility to PTSD  will vary based on the incident and a person’s psychology. 

Indicators that car accident victims might develop future PTSD:

  • Seriousness of the auto-accident, i.e., multi-vehicle, big-rig vs. car, overturned vehicles, explosions 
  • Severity of the injuries sustained by the victim, i.e., broken bones, TBI, spinal injury, burns, paralysis 
  • Gravity of the injuries sustained by others and witnessed by the victim, i.e., severed limbs, decapitations, burned victims
  • Fatalities involved
  • Past traumatic experiences of the victim

Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers understand that PTSD is often an undiagnosed or delayed condition affecting car accident victims. When reviewing your claim for damages, your lawyer will advise you about PTSD and the benefit of a thorough medical evaluation following your auto accident.  

What Kind of PTSD Car Accident Compensation Can I Get?

Injury accident compensation is generally awarded as either economic or non-economic damages.  

Economic losses compensate victims for direct financial loss such as medical expenses and lost wages. Losses that are more difficult to value, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality living, are regarded as non-economic losses. 

PTSD falls under non-economic losses and determining a dollar value for PTSD is both difficult and subjective. Case evidence supporting your PTSD claim should include:

  • Medical records reflecting a PTSD diagnosis
  • A documented cause of the PTSD
  • PTSD symptoms 
  • How PTSD is affecting the quality of life
  • PTSD treatment plan and benchmarks reached
  • A prognosis of the PTSD condition

Thorough medical records combined with testimony from doctors, employers, family, and associates about how PTSD has affected your life will make it easier to assign a dollar amount to your PTSD award.

Hiring a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney to Represent My PTSD Car Accident Claim

If you or someone you love is suffering PTSD from a car accident in New Jersey, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about whether you have a viable PTSD car accident injury claim it’s essential you seek a professional case review.  

We can represent you. You will be connected with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney uniquely qualified to prepare and navigate a PTSD car accident injury claim on your behalf.  Contact our office today.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.