Can I Get a PTSD Payout After a Car Accident?

Most people already know that an insurance company will reimburse you for a physical injury after a motor vehicle accident. But you might not be aware that the law does allow for compensation for mental or psychological injuries. You are entitled to money damages for psychological injuries such as PTSD caused by the car crash. 

The issue is documentation.  An insurance company, or a jury, is not going to pay you any money for PTSD if we can’t back it up with documentation from a doctor, psychologist, or licensed therapist.  They are not going to just take your word for it.  We have to prove it with documentation.

As personal injury lawyers, we have devoted years to understanding the intricacies of car accident cases. Relying on our substantial experience, we’ve compiled some useful information on PTSD payouts that can help you understand your rights.

What is PTSD?

PTSD (short for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) is a psychiatric disorder that affects people who have experienced, witnessed, or been exposed to an upsetting or traumatic event. Some common examples of traumatic incidents that trigger PTSD include:

  • Being involved in a bad accident
  • Suffering severe injuries in an accident
  • Long-term physical pain and suffering
  • Or even witnessing a bad accident, witnessing serious injury, or witnessing a death.

People who suffer from PTSD experience intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings about their traumatic experience long after it is over. These feelings often cause the victim to relive the event in dreams or flashbacks. They may also feel persistent fear, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, and disconnection or detachment from their friends and family. 

Most people who experience trauma will notice some of these symptoms for several weeks, months, or even years after the traumatizing event. 

PTSD may not show up immediately.  For some people it may take a while for the signs of PTSD to present themselves.  It is important to tell your doctor as soon as possible if you start feeling any of the symptoms of PTSD.  People who experience these symptoms should seek immediate help from a mental healthcare practitioner.  And immediate help from a legal emergency lawyer with experience fighting for the rights of injured victims.

Can a car accident cause PTSD?

Many accident victims do not realize that even relatively small accidents can cause PTSD.  Some people become anxious about driving, cannot sleep, become depressed because they are injured and are missing work.  While most stories we hear about PTSD involve members of the military returning from active duty, personal injury traumas such as a car accident can also cause PTSD. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population. If you or someone you love has recently been in a car crash, you should keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of PTSD.  Again, it is very important to seek treatment immediately and seek help from a legal emergency lawyer with experience fighting for the rights of injured victims.

What are signs of PTSD after a car accident?

While the type and severity of PTSD symptoms vary from person to person, they generally fall into the following categories:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lethargy
  • Avoidance 
  • Distancing from friends and family
  • Changes in mood, thinking, and memory
  • Changes in arousal and reactivity 

Let me explain the specific signs and symptoms of PTSD. These are signs of PTSD that we at Attorney911 Legal Emergency Lawyers have gotten our clients compensated for:

Intrusion is:

  • Repetitive and intrusive thoughts such as involuntary memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic experience
  • Vivid flashbacks that make you feel like you are actually reliving the traumatic incident

Avoidance is:

  • Avoiding people, places, activities, objects, and situations that are similar to or remind you of the traumatic event
  • Avoiding remembering or thinking about the traumatic occurrence 
  • Resisting talking about the trauma or the associated feelings

Changes in Mood, Thinking, and Memory is:

  • Inability to recall important details of the traumatic experience
  • Negative thoughts and feelings that create distorted beliefs
  • Distorted ideas about the incident that lead to self-blame or blaming someone else
  • Consistent feelings of fear, anxiety, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Significantly diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Feeling disconnected and detached from other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions 

Changes in Arousal and Reactivity is:

  • Becoming easily irritable and prone to angry outbursts
  • Engaging in reckless and self-destructive behaviors.
  • Becoming overly watchful and suspicious
  • Becoming jumpy or startling easily
  • Difficulties with concentration or sleep

Signs of PTSD in Children and Teens

While children and teenagers can also suffer from PTSD, their symptoms may differ from signs of PTSD in adults. 

For children under age 6, symptoms can include:

  • Wetting the bed despite previously being toilet trained
  • Forgetting how to speak 
  • Inability to converse or form words
  • Acting out the traumatic event through play
  • Being abnormally clingy or dependent on a parent or other adult

Older children and teenagers are likely to display signs of PTSD that are similar to symptoms seen in adults. However, teens and older children may also experience the following:

  • Developing disruptive, disrespectful, and destructive behaviors
  • Feeling guilty for not stopping other people from being injured or killed during the traumatic experience 
  • Engaging in revenge fantasies involving payback for the traumatic incident

Can I get a PTSD settlement or payout settlement from a car accident?

On top of reimbursement for your medical bills, motor vehicle accident victims can obtain compensation for past, present, and future physical and mental anguish caused by the crash. The money you receive to pay for physical pain is called “pain and suffering,” and payouts for mental, emotional, and psychological harm is referred to as “mental anguish.” 

If you have been diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident, you can be reimbursed for any medical expenses incurred from therapy or other forms of mental health treatment. You can also receive mental anguish damages for the mental and emotional distress.  You are actually entitled to claim past, present, AND future mental anguish.

An experienced legal emergency personal injury lawyer can review the impact that PTSD has had on your life and quickly identify the types of damages you may be entitled to receive.

How much is an average PTSD payout after a car accident?

Unfortunately, there is no golden rule for calculating an average car accident PTSD payout. With psychological injuries such as PTSD, you can receive reimbursement for your treatment (such as medical bills for therapy) and compensation for the mental anguish caused by the disorder (such as decreased quality of life). 

For this reason, PTSD settlements vary considerably depending on the impact the symptoms have on the victim’s life and the amount of treatment they undergo. If there is documented evidence that PTSD significantly disrupted your daily life or caused intense emotional suffering, you are generally entitled to receive more money for your mental anguish damages.

When should I contact a car accident attorney near me?

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a legal emergency car accident lawyer immediately. 

If you have been diagnosed with PTSD after a crash, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you identify your damages. People who are represented by lawyers after a serious car crash usually receive higher settlements. If you are experiencing PTSD after a car accident, schedule a consultation with an experienced legal emergency lawyer. 

Have questions? We protect victims like you every day.

Call 888-ATTY-911


Read More

The Victim’s Guide to Car Crash Compensation
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Can an Insurance Company Refuse to Pay a Claim?

About Attorney911 
Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services

Attorney911 Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services is a Texas-based personal injury and criminal defense law firm with offices in Houston and Austin, though we are proud to serve Texans from all over the state and represent clients in federal court. We handle a wide variety of legal issues — from car accidents to worker’s compensation to DUI/DWI offenses. Our staff is bilingual, friendly, and genuinely passionate about helping our clients, whether it’s a million-dollar case or a thousand-dollar case. We also understand that cost can be a prohibitive factor in hiring a lawyer, and are willing to work with you on structuring payment in a way that is fair and feasible. We do accept credit cards for our hourly fees, and take some cases on contingency, which means you don’t pay us unless and until you get paid yourself. We know that you have a choice in your legal representation, and we believe that what makes us stand out from the competition is our real emotional investment in our clients. We see you as a person — not a paycheck. And we will fight hard for you, because we truly care.