Each year in the U.S., an estimated 6 million auto accidents occur on our roadways, and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 6% – 25% of children and adolescents and 39.2% of adult survivors of those collisions go on to develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Because PTSD is not considered a visible injury, Indiana accident victims may sometimes wonder whether or not they can be compensated for their experience, and, if so, how much should they ask for?
Being compensated for PTSD can be a challenging task if you are unfamiliar with Indiana’s personal injury claims process. Fortunately, an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney may be able to better help you determine what this portion of your claim is worth.
How Much Is Car Accident PTSD Worth?
Before determining what PTSD may be worth, it is important to know where it factors in to your overall claim. Generally speaking, Indiana accident victims have the right to seek compensation for the following:
- Medical bills related to the car accident, including future care and/or therapy.
- Lost wages.
- Pain and suffering.
Of the three, PTSD belongs in the category of “pain and suffering.”
It is often easier to assign value to medical bills and lost wages, as they consist of objective figures, however, pain and suffering can be less clear, as this portion of your claim is entirely unique to your experience, including whether or not you sustained psychological affects such as PTSD.
Because PTSD can present in varying degrees, there is no clear-cut formula for determining the actual amount of pain and suffering you have experienced, and, as you can imagine, the insurance company of the at-fault driver may attempt to minimize this part of your claim.
For example, the insurance company may suggest your PTSD symptoms are simply a normal part of being in an accident.
Whether or not PTSD is a common effect of car accidents is beside the point. It does not change the fact that you should be appropriately compensated for your experience, and Boulton Law Group will work to build a case to help prove the legitimacy of PTSD as part of your pain and suffering.
With this in mind, there are steps attorney Matt Boulton encourages his clients to take to help ensure they receive maximum compensation for the PTSD portion of their personal injury claim:
- Keeping documentation that proves any time off work for appointments related to doctor’s visits for PTSD therapy.
- Keeping a journal that documents your PTSD experience.
- Keeping receipts for any related PTSD treatment.
- Keeping track of dates for counselor or mental health professional visits.
There may be additional documentation that attorney Boulton will request on his clients’ behalf, however, this is determined on a case by case basis.
Car Accident PTSD Symptoms
In addition to PTSD’s effects on car accident victims, witnesses can also experience symptoms, including flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety, among others.
The symptoms of PTSD do not always immediately reveal themselves following a car accident. It is possible that symptoms may not reveal themselves until at least a month after a collision, and sometimes not until years after the event.
Additionally, PTSD symptoms are not exactly the same for each person affected, but they are generally grouped into four categories:
1. Intrusive memories
- Recurrent memories of the accident.
- Reliving the accident (flashbacks).
- Dreams and nightmares about the accident.
- Emotional distress or physical reactions when something (a trigger) reminds you of the accident.
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the accident.
- Avoiding or being afraid to drive, e.g., vehophobia.
- Avoiding people or places that remind you of the accident.
3. Negative changes in mood or thinking
- Mood swings.
- Numbness or apathy.
- Memory problems.
- Difficulty with relationships.
4. Changes in physical or emotional reactions
- Easily startled.
- A feeling of always being “braced” or on guard.
- Irrational, angry outbursts.
- Behavior not normally associated with the person.
Again, it is important to understand that PTSD will affect each person to varying degrees. And if you are experiencing any symptoms of PTSD, you may benefit from the following:
- Talk to friends, relatives, or a counselor.
- Stay active. Exercise often.
- Safely follow up with your family doctor.
- Try to get back to daily activities and routines.
For legal questions related to PTSD, an experienced personal injury attorney can help to explain your legal rights.
Questions About Car Accident PTSD?
If you were involved in a car accident and are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attorney Matt Boulton can help answer your questions about its relevance to your personal injury claim, as well as its potential value.
Matt has more than 20 years’ experience helping injured Hoosiers seek obtain compensation for their injuries, including PTSD, and there is no cost for the firm’s legal services unless your case is won.
To speak with Matt, you can reach him at 317-350-2680, or you can write to us with your story by using them firm’s confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews all website contacts received at the firm.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.