If you have post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, you may be able to make a claim and recover money to pay for your treatment and other costs. However, you must have been physically injured in addition to suffering mental trauma.
PTSD is often associated with combat veterans, but it is also a common car accident injury, especially after a serious accident. It can interfere with your sleep, your job, and even your daily functioning. An injury claim can pay for ongoing mental health treatment that is critical to overcoming the effects of PTSD.
What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?
Car accidents are traumatic for everyone involved, but most people get over the effects within a few weeks. If you are still feeling traumatized three months after the accident, or if your symptoms are affecting your ability to work and lead your normal life, you may need treatment for PTSD. PTSD has four major symptoms:
- Re-living the accident. Memories of the collision may come flooding back, causing you the same distress you felt when the accident happened. You may have nightmares or feel like you are re-experiencing the accident. These memories may happen out of the blue, or they may be triggered by certain sights, sounds or smells.
- Avoidance. You may find yourself avoiding anything that reminds you of the accident. You may not want to drive, or you may avoid the part of town where the accident happened. You may stay away from people connected with the accident, or you may keep yourself unusually busy to avoid thinking about what happened.
- Negative feelings. Trauma can change the way you view yourself and other people. You may avoid relationships, you may be unable to remember or talk about the accident, or you may feel a general sense that the world is a dangerous and scary place.
- Hyperarousal. You may also feel jittery and on-edge, or unusually angry and irritable. Hyperarousal can make it hard to sleep or concentrate, and it can make you jumpy and always on the lookout for danger.
For most people, PTSD symptoms start to appear soon after the accident. But some don’t notice problems until weeks or months later. If you think you might have PTSD, you need to go to a doctor or mental health professional right away.
Can I recover money for my PTSD?
The general rule in Georgia is that you can recover the full cost of your physical injuries from whoever is at fault in your accident. This includes your doctor bills, prescriptions, physical therapy, and the time you missed from work. It also includes mental health treatment for conditions that you developed because of the accident. If you were injured in an accident and also have PTSD, your mental health treatment should be covered by your insurance claim.
However, Georgia law does not allow accident victims to recover for emotional injuries by themselves. For example, if you were a passenger who “walked away without a scratch” but can’t get over the trauma of seeing your friend injured, you cannot recover money for your psychological injuries. It doesn’t mean they aren’t real, but this is where the legal system draws the line.
This rule is one reason it is important to schedule an appointment with a doctor right away after any accident. A doctor can examine you for physical injuries and get you started on treatment. And if you later develop emotional issues, your mental health treatment will usually be covered. If you have injuries but decide to stick it out at home, the insurance company will probably say you weren’t hurt and deny your mental health claim.
Can a lawyer help me?
Car accident law firms around Atlanta Georgia are experienced in making claims for PTSD and other emotional issues caused by car accidents. A lawyer can help you get better doctors, a proper diagnosis, and the best possible treatment for your injuries. And a lawyer knows how to get the insurer to pay the full value of your claim. With a lawyer on your side, you give yourself the best possible chance of getting money for your physical injuries AND your emotional trauma.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
PTSD can make your life miserable, but our lawyers know how to help. We have decades of experience, and we don’t charge you unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.