Settlement for PTSD After a Car Accident

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle September 29 2023 6:54 pm

Settlement for PTSD After a Car Accident

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle September 29 2023 6:54 pm
Settlement for PTSD After a Car Accident

While many understand the physical impact a car accident can have on the body, many may not be aware of how a car accident can psychologically harm a victim as well. A car accident can cause victims to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the trauma and shock of the accident. For example, if you regularly have nightmarthat cause you to relive the accident in your sleep, you might be experiencing one symptom of PTSD. People who suffer from car-accident-related PTSD may also develop an irrational phobia of vehicles.

A car accident victim may be healing or healed physically, but the mental trauma still lingers. If you are the victim of a car accident and suffer from PTSD symptoms, you may be able to secure a settlement for your mental anguish.

Working with a Kansas car accident lawyer can help to mitigate some of the challenges a car accident victim can face in filing an insurance claim for PTSD. The more evidence that you have to prove, the more likely your claim will be accepted. Without the help of a lawyer, insurance companies may try to reject a PTSD claim due to the difficulty in proving the effects of a car accident on one’s mental health. 


What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

More research continues to be done about the connection between car accidents and their impact on mental health. Symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Fear of driving and vehicles in general

If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you should visit a medical doctor to begin to identify the ways in which your car accident has impacted your mental health. A therapist can also help you to regain a sense of self and work through mental trauma. A psychiatrist can also prescribe medication for PTSD symptoms such as anxiety and depression as well.


What Can You Use As Evidence To Prove a PTSD Claim?

Examples of evidence that can be used to support a PTSD claim include:

  • Proof of treatment
  • Proof of medication
  • Amount of time missed from work
  • Proof of doctor’s visits
  • Proof of impact on work performance
  • Character witnesses (friends, family, co-workers)
  • Personal statement about the impact of PTSD on your life and coping mechanisms you have developed as a result


Expert Witnesses

An expert witness can serve as an excellent piece of evidence in a PTSD insurance claim. It will provide a credible professional perspective on the impact of PTSD on a car accident victim. A well-versed expert witness can help to secure the maximum amount of a PTSD claim. Examples of expert witnesses include professors, doctors, counselors, therapists, and scientists. 

  • A doctor can provide a physical examination and a psychological evaluation to help diagnose PTSD.
  • A therapist can confirm stressors a person may have that can lead to PTSD. They can also confirm treatment a patient received or will need to have in order to treat PTSD.  
  • An economist can provide quantified data to prove the financial impact due to losses. Their calculations can help to determine the short and long-term economic impact of experiencing PTSD.
  • An actuary can identify the long-term impact on a person’s employment and benefits (e.g. retirement pension).

Professionals can serve as powerful expert witnesses because they can help explain aspects of PTSD that many people may not know. They can provide data to prove its effects on various aspects of your life, and the lives of others. They can also help to provide support for your claims so you have credible information to more likely prove your case. Overall, they can provide the information needed to show how the car accident impacted a victim enough to cause PTSD.


How Does PTSD Impact A Person’s Work Schedule?

PTSD carries serious implications in the workplace. You may not be able to work to full capacity if you experience PTSD symptoms while on the job. Your job may also be impacted by symptoms experienced away from work such as nightmares and flashbacks. Symptoms can impact how you think and feel, as well as how much sleep you are able to get. A settlement will take into consideration wages lost; job retraining; changing work date; lost earning capacity at present and in the future; job retraining.

Settlement for PTSD After a Car Accident


How Does PTSD Impact Personal Relationships?

PTSD doesn’t just change how you relate to yourself. It can change how you relate to loved ones as well. One example is when a soldier travels abroad to fight in another country. When they return to their family, they may be a different person than when they left due to the experiences they had in combat. They may have experienced trauma that changed their personality or their way of relating to loved ones. A car accident victim may exist in a state of fight or flight for a prolonged period of time due to the shock of the accident on one’s mental state and body. You may become more alert and irritable. You may also have trouble communicating with others due to an inability to access your thoughts and emotions from the high stress you feel.  


Certain Types Of Accidents Are Extremely Traumatic

Certain accidents carry a particularly high level of stress and trauma–rollovers, collisions with a pedestrian; t-bone crashes, big rig accidents; and accidents that involve fire. These specific scenarios can imprint themselves on a person’s memory. If this person associates certain stimuli with the accident, then they may be able to increase the valuation of the settlement. They may be able to ask for more compensation to cover the cost of changing their environment or moving to another location to address triggering emotionally and mentally harmful stimuli.


How Do You Know If You Suffer From PTSD?

For a diagnosis of PTSD, you must meet certain medical requirements. You must have more than a month of a recurring symptom such as flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts; an avoidance symptom (e.g. avoiding event reminders); two mood and cognition symptoms (e.g. difficulty remembering, loss of interest); and two reactivity symptoms (e.g. trouble sleeping, reckless behavior). Too many people with PTSD neither know nor recognize their symptoms. Thus, a person may not receive the treatment needed to recover fully from PTSD.

According to data from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 3.5% of adults in the United States experience PTSD each year. If you have experienced symptoms for more than one month and struggle to function daily as a result, you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, what may cause one person to develop PTSD may not be harmful to another person. In other words, no matter the severity of the accident, a person can still develop PTSD.


For a Valid Claim, You Must Prove the Defendant’s Negligence 

Once you have all of your evidence, the journey is not done yet. You must still prove that the defendant’s negligence is the cause of your PTSD. You must prove the four components of negligence to prove your case.

  1. You were owed a duty of care. A person who drives a car assumes duty of care once they get behind the wheel to drive.
  2. Reckless or careless driving led to a breach in the duty of care. 
  3. This breach led to the accident, which led to your PTSD and any other pain and suffering. That the car accident caused your PTSD must be proven. Expert witnesses and documentation can help to support this.
  4. PTSD resulted in recoverable damages such as therapy, for example.

While you cannot see the mental scars from PTSD, it can impact a person in its own way, no different than physical injury. You should never hesitate to seek the compensation you deserve for this condition. Visit our PTSD from car accident settlement: A legal guide to find out the right steps to follow if is your current case. 


PTSD Can Result in Non-Economic Damages

You may be compensated for non-economic damages in addition to economic damages like medical bills or property damage. Economic damages are generally easier to prove than non-economic damages due to the plethora of information available to support them due to their monetary value. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to prove since they can be considered more abstract.


PTSD is only one of many non-economic damages that you may be eligible to receive compensation for. In many cases, non-economic damages may be related to a person’s development of PTSD. Additional non-economic damages include:

  • Reduced quality of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Additional types of trauma

You may also recover compensation for economic damages, many of which may result from PTSD. These include:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • PTSD-related home and work accommodations 


Contact An Experienced Kansas Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have developed PTSD from an accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering. You are not alone – many people live with PTSD symptoms, no matter the severity of their accidents. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer can help you develop a credible PTSD claim and secure compensation for damages. Contact Pyle Law today to set up an appointment. 

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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.