On top of potentially resulting in serious injuries, car accidents are scary and traumatic experiences. On top of serious physical injuries that may require long-term care, victims of car accidents may experience things like persistent fear associated with the incident, changes in mood, or hyper-alertness long after they have recovered from their injuries. These feelings and more are associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you are experiencing PTSD-like symptoms after a car accident, you can file a lawsuit against those responsible, even if you do not have physical injuries. The law allows people to recover damages for mental trauma or distress so long as it can be proven in court.
If you would like to talk about your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland car accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that afflicts individuals after they witness or are involved in a traumatic event. Although commonly associated with veterans dealing with the horrors of war, PTSD is common among survivors of all sorts of traumatic events.
Car accidents are absolutely capable of causing post-traumatic stress disorder. Car accidents can result in serious injuries, near-death experiences, and exposure to all sorts of destruction and trauma. These events can linger with plaintiffs long after the accident is over and they have recovered from their injuries.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
There are some common symptoms among those who suffer from PTSD. However, it should be noted that post-traumatic stress disorder can be different for each individual, so your symptoms may not be the same as someone else who also has PTSD.
However, these symptoms can come from something that is not PTSD. You need to be diagnosed with PTSD by a medical professional. That being said, you should not be discouraged from speaking to our Baltimore car accident lawyers about a lawsuit if you are not diagnosed with PTSD. You can still recover damages if you are experiencing PTSD-like symptoms, even if you are not diagnosed.
One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is intrusive thoughts about the root incident. Often, these thoughts are vivid flashbacks where the individual feels as if they are reliving the traumatic event in the present moment. These intrusive thoughts can also take the form of intense nightmares or shorter, less intense, but more frequent instances of the incident popping up in the affected person’s mind.
Avoiding the Incident
Another symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder is an effort by the affected person to avoid things that are associated with the incident altogether. For example, if someone has PTSD from a car accident, they may avoid sitting in the same seat they were in when the accident happened, or they may avoid riding in motor vehicles altogether. If the affected person is a pedestrian, they may be stricken with intense fear as they are about to cross the street.
Sometimes, PTSD can lead the victim to try and block out any memory of the incident. This can result in details being hazy or hard to remember for the affected individual. In many cases, this memory fog can spill over into other areas, and the affected person may have difficulty remembering things unrelated to the accident.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can also cause individuals to have changes in their mood or demeanor. They could start to feel moody or “down in the dumps,” and they may blame themselves for injuries caused by someone else. They may think that they could have done something differently or that it was their fault they got injured.
Hyper-alertness refers to constant vigilance for perceived threats when there are, in fact, no threats present. This is a common symptom of PTSD in combat veterans, but it is also very prevalent among survivors of car accidents or other serious near-death experiences. A person who was in a car accident may be hyper-alert whenever they are near a roadway, parking lot, or crosswalk.
Damages for PTSD in Maryland Car Accident Lawsuits
You can ask for damages due to post-traumatic stress disorder or similar symptoms in a car accident lawsuit. In lawsuits, you can ask for economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. Economic damages are for things like medical bills, while punitive damages are for punishing defendants. Damages for symptoms related to PTSD would fall under the umbrella of non-economic damage. Non-economic damages are for things that are abstract and do not have an associated bill or receipt.
Lost Enjoyment of Life
Lost enjoyment of life is one of the things you can request non-economic damages for that is related to post-traumatic stress disorder. In some instances, this refers to the inability to do certain tasks because of physical injuries. For example, you can allege lost enjoyment of life if you need a live-in aid because of your injuries.
You can also allege lost enjoyment of life because of post-traumatic stress disorder or because you are experiencing symptoms similar to PTSD. In many cases, flashbacks and re-living trauma for people with PTSD can make it difficult for them to do certain tasks or get anything that day. You can argue that this qualifies as lost enjoyment of life.
Emotional distress is a specific thing that you allege in a car accident lawsuit. In law, infliction of emotional distress refers to the plaintiff undergoing emotional distress because of the defendant’s outrageous conduct. In a car accident lawsuit, the driver of the car that hit you can be accused of inflicting emotional distress if you can provide evidence that you experienced mental distress after the accident.
Speak to Our Maryland Car Accident Lawyers
Our Kent County car accident lawyers are ready to give free case analyses when you call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.