Can I Get Compensated for PTSD After a Car Accident in Texas?
If you have been in a car accident, with the help of an auto crash lawyer, it is common to receive compensation for damages to your vehicle and medical costs due to the accident for yourself. A severe car accident can have life-changing effects, however. These injuries to your body, and mind, can take months, years, or even the rest of your life to overcome.
The apparent damage to your vehicle and injuries to yourself (and your family) are easily recognized, but damage to your mental state is more hidden and harder to detect. PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) is more common after accidents than you might believe and can affect your life in various negative ways.
PTSD is essentially defined as an overwhelming fear and hopelessness caused by a traumatic event. This is a simplistic definition, but is best exemplified the following symptoms:
Flashbacks to the accident or shortly after that
Odd and uncalled for mood swings
Inability to focus, or do some of the things you used to
Increased overall anxiety
Any of these symptoms, or a mix of these symptoms (and others), could make it impossible for you to return to work or even live your life as you once did. PTSD also requires a psychological diagnosis and may take time to appear and fully interrupt your life. PTSD requires its own specific regimen of treatment and almost always specialized counseling and therapy.
The good news though, is that PTSD, after a car accident in Texas, can be compensated for and when correctly diagnosed, definitely should be.
The emotional and life-changing effects of PTSD can be harmful enough, but there also can be a significant financial cost. You may not be able to return to work, not only for a physical reason but due to the effects of PTSD. It may be impossible to keep the job you had, hold a job, or effectively look for a new one. There will be a cost to treat your PTSD as well. There will be counseling costs. Your health team may prescribe antidepressants or antipsychotics that may have to be monitored.
All in all, the financial burden can mount, and having a discussion with a car accident attorney is vital. The insurance company of the driver who caused you harm should pay for the dire and complex treatment and costs of PTSD.
How Can I Tell if I Have PTSD After My Car Accident?
According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, individuals who experience a severe motor vehicle accident are at increased risk for psychological problems, particularly Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For many individuals, the symptoms of PTSD following a serious motor vehicle accident may include psychologically re-experiencing the trauma (intrusive thoughts about the accident, distressing dreams about the accident), persistent avoidance of thoughts or situations associated with the accident. An ongoing reluctance or refusal to drive, numbing of emotional responsiveness (significantly reduced or absence of emotions, feeling detached from others), and increased physical arousal (exaggerated startle response, irritability, disturbed sleep). All or some of these symptoms (and there can be others) can interfere significantly with your future work, relationships with your friends and family, and general overall quality of life.
In addition to PTSD, several other psychological problems often are present after an automobile accident. Mood disturbances are incredibly common, with one report indicating that 53% of patients with PTSD have concurrent mood disorders. A large percentage of victims of an accident reported symptoms consistent with a major depressive episode. Chronic substance abuse disorder may also be higher in incidence among PTSD patients than in the overall population.
Among the serious issues that are associated with accident-related PTSD, the presence of chronic pain may be the single most defining characteristic. In a psychometric study assessing PTSD in 229 motor vehicle accident survivors, it was found that 69% of the sample reported chronic pain that could be attributed to their accident. If the cause of chronic pain can be proven to stem from your accident, then your personal injury lawyer has grounds to file for the compensation needed to get you adequate, ongoing treatment.
In a sample of litigating accident victims and survivors with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress symptoms, it was found that high post-traumatic stress symptoms were related to physical impairment, psychological distress, and maladaptive pain coping strategies.
What Should I Do if I Feel I have PTSD due to a Car Accident in Texas?
Personal injury lawyers know that recovering from PTSD due to a car accident requires getting the right professional mental health diagnosis and treatment. You should also get this treatment as soon as possible so that the long term effects of PTSD may be mitigated. If someone else’s negligence caused your PTSD, your personal injury lawyer can be invaluable in helping you make the right accident claims, and helpful in seeking compensation for treatment and other losses encountered due to your PTSD.
Your personal injury attorney can help you have these symptoms diagnosed, treated with care and efficacy, and get the funds to do so. PTSD is now seen as a very serious disorder, so get the help you need and seek legal advice as soon as possible. You and your family’s future will depend on it.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.