Whether you witnessed or personally experienced a horrifying event, you could develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While some people might not understand how PTSD can turn a person’s life upside-down, New Jersey courts recognize that a person can seek money damages for PTSD from a car accident.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can advise you about whether you can go after compensation for PTSD in your situation.
An Overview of PTSD
The Mayo Clinic says that accidents are one of the common events that can lead to the development of PTSD. A traumatic event like a car accident, combat exposure, natural disaster, physical assault, or childhood abuse can lead to a person having PTSD.
This mental health condition does not develop in everyone who experiences a terrifying or traumatic event, but for the people who do get PTSD, the consequences can be devastating. Most people go through a rough period after a horrific injury or experience, but they eventually get better with time and self-care.
PTSD is when the symptoms get worse instead of better, continue for months or years, and interfere with your daily life.
Symptoms of PTSD
The signs of PTSD can develop rather quickly after a traumatic event or many years later. In some situations, a recent terrifying or violent event can trigger recurring memories of something that happened years before, even in childhood. Survivors of child abuse are at risk for PTSD after they go through a horrific experience later in life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD symptoms include these four categories:
- Intrusive memories
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
- Negative changes in mood and thinking
You do not have to experience symptoms from all four categories to get a diagnosis of PTSD after a car accident. Your symptoms could focus on only one or two areas or could vary over time. When a person with PTSD is under stress, their PTSD symptoms can become more intense.
For example, a combat veteran might relive military experiences when hearing fireworks. Seeing coverage of a fatal car accident on the news could trigger overwhelming terror for someone who was in a crash that took a passenger’s life.
How PTSD Compensation Works in a Personal Injury Claim
There are two primary categories of money damages in most personal injury claims like car accident cases. Economic losses can include out-of-pocket items like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages include things that do not always come with bills or receipts that make it easy to measure their value in dollars.
PTSD can include both economic and non-economic losses. You could have economic damages in the form of medical bills for treatment of PTSD and lost wages if the mental health condition affects your ability to work. Your non-economic losses can include the psychological harm and mental anguish you experience as part of the PTSD.
PTSD can destroy interpersonal relationships and lead to divorce. A person with this illness can find it difficult to stay employed. He might suffer a loss of enjoyment of life and experience isolation, anxiety, and depression.
A New Jersey personal injury attorney can talk to you about whether you can pursue compensation for PTSD following your car accident. Call our office today to schedule a consultation appointment.