When people think of the harm a car accident can cause, it’s easy to picture broken bones or busted cars. However, motor vehicle crashes can cause “invisible” injuries, too.
Mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder may not be as apparent as a broken bone, but they can still profoundly impact your life after a crash. Just because you can’t see an injury doesn’t mean it’s not real.
Under Ohio law, car accident victims can recover compensation for their mental anguish and other non-economic damages, including PTSD. Here’s what you need to know about PTSD, its symptoms, and how to recover damages after a car accident.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with military service, but it’s a mental health issue that can develop after any traumatic or highly stressful event.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 10% of men and 20% of women exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD. In reality, the percentages might be higher: stigma, lack of mental health resources, and other factors may prevent a trauma survivor from seeking help or even recognizing they have PTSD.
Recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder is possible, but there could be lifelong effects. If you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you deserve compensation to help you recover as smoothly as possible.
Causes of Car Accident PTSD
A variety of accidents can cause PTSD, even if they aren’t considered that extreme. Because people process trauma differently, a head-on collision could be more traumatic for one person than the next.
Some examples of PTSD-inducing accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Back-over accidents
- T-Bone accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Large commercial vehicle crashes
PTSD Symptoms after a Car Crash
PTSD symptoms can vary from case to case. Someone who has PTSD after a car accident may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Individuals with PTSD will often avoid places, scenarios, or people associated with their accidents. A car crash victim might not want to drive, or they may take longer routes to steer clear from the site of the accident.
Being on edge:
People with PTSD often have difficulty staying still. They may look for danger or have rapid mood changes. They could have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
Having negative thoughts:
Someone with PTSD may withdraw from loved ones. Their behavior may change: they could lose passion for hobbies or activities or become depressed. Sometimes, they may feel like a burden to their family and avoid talking about the accident.
Reliving or re-experiencing the event:
After a traumatic event, it’s not uncommon for someone with PTSD to experience the memory of the event again. They could have flashbacks or dream about the crash. They may feel like they’re back in the moment of the car accident. These flashbacks could be triggered, or they could happen randomly.
PTSD can also have long-term effects on people’s lives after a car crash. Their relationships could suffer; they might avoid social activities and have trust issues. Someone with PTSD might isolate themselves or decide they don’t want to use a car anymore, so their employment could suffer.
Untreated PTSD could also create more stress on top of the stress of recovering from a car accident.
Do Children Experience PTSD Differently?
Although children may have similar symptoms to adults with PTSD after a car crash, they might not process trauma in the same way. Stress from PTSD can affect developing areas of the brains in children, so diagnosing and treating it quickly is essential to healthy growth.
Some children may relive the accident through play-acting or develop an obsession with death. Proper treatment for children who have PTSD is critical for their overall health.
What Kind of Damages Are Available for PTSD?
Under Ohio personal injury law, pursuing compensation is possible. PTSD could be considered mental anguish or pain and suffering. You can file a claim against the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident that caused your PTSD symptoms.
You can file for economic and non-economic losses after a car accident. Economic losses are considered out-of-pocket expenses, things you pay for directly. That includes lost wages, medical treatments, and property damage.
Non-economic losses are theoretical and difficult to calculate. Things like mental anguish, or pain and suffering, count as non-economic losses.
You can pursue compensation for the costs to treat your PTSD and the mental anguish you’ve suffered from the car accident.
How Does a PTSD Lawsuit Work?
You have two years from the accident in Ohio to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is the statute of limitations. The rule is designed to prevent erroneous or predatory filings.
Even if you have two years to file your lawsuit, you can work on filing your claim sooner than that. You’ll need to prove the car accident caused your PTSD, and that it’s severely affected your life.
You’ll need evidence to show how the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident. That includes photographs from the scene, police reports, and witness statements.
You’ll also need to show how the accident triggered your PTSD, that you’re seeking treatment, and that the PTSD has impacted your way of life. You can use reports from your medical care provider, prescriptions, or statements from loved ones testifying to changes in your lifestyle because of the crash.
How can an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
After a car accident, you should be focused on recovering from your injuries and ailments. You can turn to an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer to help you handle the legal issues a car accident creates. Your lawyer can investigate your crash, determine fault, and gather evidence to prove the at-fault driver’s reckless behavior caused the crash, which resulted in your PTSD.
Your attorney can help you with paperwork, determine if the insurance offer covers your damages, and help you prepare for trial if that’s what’s necessary to recover compensation after your crash.
Call Us for Help with Your PTSD Claim
If you’re experiencing PTSD after a car accident, the at-fault driver should be held responsible for the damages they caused. You have the right to take legal action against them. Your car accident lawyer can carefully review your case and the circumstances to ensure everyone responsible is held accountable.
Our team can handle your case so you can work on recovering. When you contact an Ohio car accident attorney at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright, Co. LPA, you can learn more about the PTSD recovery process. We can outline what steps you should take and help you find treatment.