PTSD from car accident settlement: A legal guide

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle March 29 2024 4:19 pm

PTSD from car accident settlement: A legal guide

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle March 29 2024 4:19 pm
PTSD from car accident settlement: A legal guide

Personal injury law allows injured car accident victims to obtain compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer. Even so, you must prove the extent of your injury and demonstrate how the physical harm has impacted your life. An accident can also affect you mentally, especially if you develop PTSD. 


Here’s how you and your car accident attorney can prove PTSD from car accident settlement.

A Report from a Qualified Mental Health Provider

The most reliable way to prove physical trauma after an accident is by having a qualified doctor provide testimony of your medical condition. Usually, examination of typical physical problems includes tests such as an X-ray, a physical exam, or a blood test. 


For PTSD, a mental healthcare provider conducts an assessment of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors  after the crash. They can request you fill out a PTSD checklist, which measures how often you experience the symptoms over a particular period, e.g., a month.

Get a Police Report

A police report creates an unbiased summary of the car accident. Considering the police are not invested in who is at fault for the accident, you can rely on the report to show who was to blame for the accident whenever possible.


A police report can include the following crucial information:


  • The date of the car accident
  • Date and time of the accident
  • Damage to the vehicle and other properties
  • Injuries sustained by the passengers, drivers, and anyone else involved
  • Road and weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • Statement and identity information of the eyewitnesses

Evidence of Treatment

Mental health providers prescribe different forms of therapy and medications to manage PTSD symptoms. You can use prescriptions and medical bills to claim compensation as proof of ongoing treatment.

Proof of Financial Loss

A car accident victim is entitled to economic damages such as medical expenses to compensate for their financial loss related to the injury. Your car accident attorney can prove financial loss by presenting supporting documents like medical bills, medications, transportation costs for medical appointments, or consultation fees.


If the PTSD has caused you to miss work, you should request a letter from your employer that confirms how the condition affected your ability to earn.

Signs of PTSD After a Catastrophic Accident

Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder may appear days, weeks, or months after the crash. Post-traumatic stress has a significant impact on your work, social interactions, and relationships.


Symptoms of PTSD fall into the following four categories:


  • Avoidance: You may avoid anything that can trigger distressing memories of the traumatic events, including people, activities, objects, and situations. Affected victims also avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
  • Intrusive Memories: Victims encounter intrusive thoughts such as involuntary memories, unwanted and distressing memories, upsetting nightmares, and flashbacks of the traumatic memory. Some flashbacks are so real that injured victims feel as though they are seeing the events right before their eyes.
  • Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking: Victims encounter negative thinking patterns with symptoms such as feeling detached from family and friends, hopelessness about the future, lack of interest in pleasurable activities, and difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
  • Alterations in Reactivity and Arousal: Affected victims display symptoms such as trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, always on guard for danger, irritability, and self-destructive behavior like drinking too much or driving too fast.

What Should I Do if I Suffer PTSD After an Accident?

Seek Medical Attention

You should see a doctor if you’ve had distressing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event that are affecting your life. Getting medical attention is crucial if you’re having severe symptoms or having trouble getting your life under control.


Seeking immediate medical attention can prevent the PTSD symptoms from getting worse. If you want compensation, a mental health provider can generate an assessment report, which you can rely on to file an insurance claim.

Consult an Experienced Kansas Car Accident Attorney

If you develop PTSD months after the car accident, you may wonder if you’ll ever receive compensation. Since many insurance claims are related to physical injuries, you may need the help of an attorney to prove your injury.


An attorney can compile evidence to prove liability for the accident that triggered the post-traumatic stress syndrome. More importantly, an attorney can demonstrate how the PTSD has affected work, social interactions, or relationships and demand a fair settlement value that covers your losses.


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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.