Mental issues make for much more complicated claims because they are less apparent.
Visible injuries, such as broken bones, are often easy to prove, making liability and the exact settlement amount the only matter to discuss. On the other hand, mental issues make for much more complicated claims because they are less apparent.
If you’re looking for help after you’ve been involved in a car wreck in St. Louis, you may be wondering if you can be compensated for the stress caused by your injuries and traumatic experience.
What Is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a mental health condition that’s typically caused by a person experiencing or even just observing a seriously traumatic and stressful event.
This disorder is characterized by many different symptoms, including anxiety, flashbacks to the event, nightmares and sleep terrors, and negative thinking and mood changes similar to depression. PTSD affects about 3.5% of the population at any given time, and it’s estimated that about 1 in 11 people will experience PTSD at some point in their life.
Can a Car Accident Cause PTSD?
Yes. A car accident can cause PTSD, particularly if you are seriously injured, or you witness one of your family members or close friends being injured or even killed due to a collision.
Car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD among the general population. If you or a family member has been involved in a serious accident, you should seek the help of an experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve.
Can I Get Compensation for PTSD and Mental Health Issues Caused by a Car Accident?
Yes. Typically, compensation for PTSD and other mental health issues and trauma is awarded to you as part of your “general compensation” package after a car accident.
However, it can be more difficult to prove PTSD than it is to prove a serious physical injury, such as a broken bone or whiplash. You must definitively prove your diagnosis, usually with the help of a mental health professional, and prove that the PTSD was caused directly by the car accident.
Mental and psychological damage is more difficult to prove in a court of law, so you will benefit greatly from the help of an experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Combining With a Physical Injury
PTSD often occurs in combination with a physical injury in a car accident. When this happens the personal injury process may be more straightforward and increases your chances of successfully receiving damages for PTSD. That being said, you can still pursue benefits on the grounds of PTSD alone.
Medical Bills Related to PTSD
You cannot diagnose yourself with PTSD, at least not in the eyes of the law. The first expense you will accrue from PTSD is medical bills. The reason is that you must see a mental health professional to diagnose your issue, then you will incur costs for treatment. This might mean medication and regular trips to a therapist, both of which are costly.
Lost Wages and PTSD
Your PTSD might get so severe that you cannot work. This effect is especially prevalent for people that work in the driving industry. A traumatic car accident might make you terrified of getting in a car again, decreasing your earning power. You can lose wages in other industries, too, as driving and any other activity might trigger your symptoms.
Expert Witness Testimony
A factor you should consider when choosing a doctor is whether or not they are comfortable testifying on your behalf. The reason is that you’ll need to prove your condition to the opposing party and, if required, to a judge in court. A written note might not be enough in these situations, so it is best to work with a mental health professional that will represent you in court as an expert witness.
PTSD & TBI
Car accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The symptoms of TBI include irregular breathing, dizziness, lack of coordination, poor balance, and reduced endurance. A new study has shown that some symptoms may make it difficult to give a diagnosis of TBI, especially if the person has been through a traumatic event in the recent past. The study shows that symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBI could be similar. A traumatic brain injury can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including work, school, and relationships.
Overlapping Symptoms of PTSD and TBI
PTSD and TBI both affect the brain; however, one is a result of a traumatic injury and the other is a result of a traumatic event. A recent study published in the Journal Psych Central has revealed some startling similarities between the symptoms of both PTSD and TBI. These symptoms include reckless or aggressive behavior and aggression.
The potential for confusion between the diagnoses is quite high, especially if the person has suffered both a traumatic event and a traumatic injury. In such cases, doctors may misread the signs of a traumatic brain injury. When a person reports overlapping symptoms, it can lead to a misdiagnosis and a doctor may provide the wrong type of treatment for the condition, leading to further complications.
TBI Patients at High Risk of PTSD
According to research, those who suffer from TBI are more likely to suffer from PTSD as well. TBI sufferers may not get a PTSD diagnosis when needed. This can lead to no treatment or wrong treatment.
Why You Need to Be Careful
The unfortunate truth about PTSD is that it often takes months or years to develop. Furthermore, it might present itself early, but you could discount it as regular anxiety and not realize it is a more severe condition until later. This is one of the primary dangers of PTSD because people often settle their cases before it ever starts affecting them. The best defense against this issue is watching out for signs of the disorder and taking them seriously if they are present.
Seek Legal Help from a St. Louis Accident Lawyer
Physical pain and injuries are fairly easy to recognize and accept due to a car accident. Proving mental anxiety is difficult and may require testimony from family and friends who knew the plaintiff before the event. Consult with a car accident attorney if someone you love has developed a significant change in behavior since their car accident. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be just as debilitating as a broken bone. The patient deserves to be treated for it, and the liable driver should be responsible to provide compensation for that.
There is a thin line that separates PTSD and TBI. Victims of severe car accidents can suffer both traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Getting the right diagnosis is extremely important not just to receive the correct treatment but also to make a compensation claim. Legal issues surrounding TBI and PTSD can be complex.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing significant psychological trauma after a serious car accident in St. Louis, get help from an experienced lawyer right away. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you are legally entitled to and protect you from the tactics insurance companies use to minimize your claim.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay unless we get you money!