A car accident can be extremely traumatic for those involved. A car crash is loud, abrupt and can cause serious injuries. Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in car accident survivors. It is a condition that can cause lasting anxiety, fear and other symptoms long after the crash. In Texas, it is possible to seek compensation for PTSD after a car accident.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that occurs in people who have lived through or witnessed a traumatic event. It is seen most often in people who have been in war or combat zones, such as soldiers. However, PTSD does not only occur in combat veterans. PTSD can affect anyone who witnesses or experiences a trauma.

Car accidents can cause PTSD in victims due to the traumatic nature of the collision. The loud screeching of twisted metal, watching a loved one get hurt or die, and suffering injuries yourself can all contribute to PTSD in the days or weeks following the crash. People who experience PTSD after car accidents may notice ongoing symptoms that persist for months or even years after the crash. For some, these symptoms can be debilitating.

Signs or Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder, meaning there may not be any outward or visible signs. It is not a physical injury that a doctor can diagnose with an x-ray, such as a broken bone. Instead, it is a mental health condition a victim may pick up on through emotional, mental and behavioral signs and symptoms. The symptoms of PTSD can vary widely from person to person.

  • Depression or sadness
  • Detachment
  • Anxiety, worry or fear
  • Feelings of anger or frustration
  • Irritability and outbursts
  • Flashbacks of the car accident
  • Nightmares
  • Fear of driving
  • Strong reactions to loud or sudden noises
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Regression (in children)

The four main categories of PTSD symptoms are intrusive thoughts, avoidance, mood and cognitive changes, and alterations in reactivity. If you notice you have become more tense, anxious, reclusive and less interested in activities you used to enjoy, you may have PTSD. Visit a doctor or psychiatrist for an official PTSD diagnosis. Then, consult with a car accident attorney in San Antonio about the possibility of claiming damages for PTSD.

Can I Claim Compensation for PTSD-Related Damages?

It is normal to experience lingering feelings of fear, sadness or anxiety after a car accident. If these feelings prevent you from enjoying normal life or last longer than a few days, however, you could have PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is more common after car accidents involving severe or catastrophic injuries and fatalities, as well as in people with a history of past trauma. If a car accident did give you PTSD, you may be eligible for compensation for your psychiatric disorder, as this is a type of general damages in Texas.

General damages are noneconomic or intangible losses suffered in a car accident, such as emotional distress and mental anguish. They fall under the broader category of pain and suffering. If you file an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit against another driver for causing your car accident, you can list your PTSD diagnosis as a compensable loss. Before you can recover compensation for PTSD, however, you will need to establish its existence and connection to the car accident.

Proving PTSD-related damages in a car accident claim often requires expert testimony. You or your car accident attorney may need to hire an expert in psychiatric disorders to testify to the fact that you have been diagnosed with PTSD, that your condition is connected to the car accident and that the PTSD is negatively affecting your life. A successful claim for PTSD could pay you for related expenses, including therapy, medications and psychiatric care. Discuss your car accident case with an attorney today for more information.