People involved in car accidents often suffer mental trauma as well as physical injuries. They are not always sure if they can sue for PTSD following a car accident in Maryland. It is possible to include PTSD in a car accident injury claim for damages. People who suffer injuries in car accidents can claim for economic losses, and pain and suffering.
Our Baltimore car accident attorneys have helped many PTSD suffers to make a successful recovery. We can talk to you about what you are going through and advise you of your chances of recovering money for the condition. Baltimore car accident attorney Randolph Rice is here to explain the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and post-accident anxiety and who you can sue for emotional damage after an accident in Maryland.
Factors Affecting Pain and Suffering Compensation After a Car Accident
Economic losses are things like future and past medical expenses and lost wages. The amount of money awarded for pain and suffering includes elements like:
- The nature and extent of your injuries;
- The duration of the pain and suffering;
- How permanent your injury is likely to be;
- How the accident affected your quality of life.
- How much emotional pain and suffering the accident caused.
PTSD factors into emotional pain and suffering. Before a claim for PTSD following a car accident in Maryland can be made, you should be familiar with this condition and its symptoms. PTSD affects about 8 million adults in the United States. Women are at a greater risk than men, according to Psychology Today.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder. We often hear about this condition as it relates to veterans who come home from war zones. During the 1960s and 1970s, large numbers of Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD when they returned from the conflict. It often had a severe impact on their emotional wellbeing and family life. Less support was available to veterans than today. The condition is also called ‘shell shock.’
Car accident victims can also suffer from PTSD as can people who suffered injuries in slips and falls and industrial accidents. PTSD in the victims of automobile accidents as well as truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents is likely underestimated. Dozens of studies suggest PTSD often sets in at least a month after a car accident in up to a third of motorists involved. Many sufferers are going undiagnosed in Maryland and elsewhere.
PTSD can be difficult to diagnose. Many people suffer a range of emotions after a car wreck. It’s natural to feel down, particularly if you suffered serious injuries and your car was smashed up. However, the following symptoms point to possible post-traumatic stress disorder.
Flashbacks and Reliving the Accident
People who suffer PTSD may experience nightmares and both visual and auditory memories of the accident. These flashbacks often occur without warning. You may feel you are back at the wreck scene complete with screaming brakes and glass shattering. Troops who return from war zones often dream they are under fire again.
Depression and Mood Swings
Extreme depression and mood swings post-accident can point to PTSD. Sometimes sufferers become wary about the world around them. They don’t want to get behind the wheel of a car again.
Some people become extremely depressed after a traumatic event like a car accident. They become paranoid about driving and don’t want to get back behind the wheel again. PTSD may change the way they see the world around them.
Avoidance is an unwillingness to confront or come to terms with trauma. Often PTSD victims shy away from talking about the wreck and they don’t even want to think about it. They may even avoid talking about places associated with the wreck scene.
Rapid Heartbeat and Hyper-Arousal
Hyper-arousal is a nervous response to certain triggers, often related to the accident. It may entail rapid heartbeats, butterflies in the stomach or profuse sweating.
Guilt and Feeling Responsible
Guilt is a common emotion in PTSD sufferers. They may feel they were responsible for the auto accident even if another driver caused it.
Car Accident PTSD Statistics in Maryland
The number of people who develop PTSD after a car accident in Maryland is significant. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says 9 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD at some point. Other studies suggest this is an underestimate.
Rates are significantly higher in samples of motor vehicle accident survivors who receive treatment for mental health issues. Studies show that an average of 60 percent of people who seek help suffer PTSD.
Up to 53 percent of car collision survivors who seek treatment and have PTSD are also diagnosed with another mood disorder like significant depression or anxiety. This can make PTSD a challenging diagnosis.
When Do PTSD Symptoms Appear After an Accident?
According to the Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms usually start within a month of a traumatic event but may not appear for over a year. Delayed symptoms can be problematic for a personal injury claim.
Filing a Claim for PTSD Following a Car Accident in Maryland
PTSD can be claimed as pain and suffering. The condition may merit time off work and incur the costs of appointments with medical professionals like therapists or counselors. It may take weeks or even months for the PTSD linked to a car crash to subside.
Often the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident will dispute claims you suffered from PTSD due to the actions of its driver. The insurer might argue you exaggerated your symptoms and it’s natural to be anxious or depressed after a car wreck with injuries. The insurance company will attempt to blur the line between ‘normal response’ to a crash and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you suffered PTSD, your Maryland personal injury lawyer will build up a case that your symptoms went above and beyond the normal reaction to a crash. PTSD is not limited to those hurt in the wreck. Family members, first responders, and witnesses may be affected. PTSD often harms your home life.
Contact a Maryland Injury Lawyer After PTSD Following a Car Accident
If you suffer the symptoms of PTSD, don’t suffer alone. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we are familiar with this condition. We help car accident victims who suffer a wide range of physical and emotional injuries. We will make a full evaluation and fight for your right to compensation. Please contact our Baltimore personal injury lawyer today at (410) 694-7291.