While vehicle safety features such as seatbelts and airbags provide physical protection from injuries after an accident, nothing can protect against the psychological effects of being involved in a collision.
Certain types of psychological trauma, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), are common after car accidents, and unlike physical trauma, this type of trauma is often overlooked. But psychological trauma can have just as negative an impact on a person’s overall well-being as physical injuries can.
While doctors can detect and diagnose a car accident victim with a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, whiplash, or internal injuries, diagnosing PTSD and other psychological trauma can be more difficult, as this kind of damage is not as tangible or immediately apparent. And in many cases, PTSD develops over time, in the weeks and months following an accident.
Suppose you have been diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident. In that case, you may be able to claim compensation to recover financial and non-financial losses related to the accident, including PTSD. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our compassionate New York-based attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is PTSD?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in individuals who have witnessed or been involved in a traumatizing event. PTSD may be caused by a traumatic event, from natural disasters to violent assaults. Still, the most common cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in post-Vietnam War America has been car accidents.
Some common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Avoidance behaviors: Victims of PTSD may practice avoidance behaviors due to trauma caused by the accident. For instance, many victims of PTSD will avoid the area near the scene of the accident, avoid passengers they were traveling with at the time of the accident, and may even avoid riding in or driving cars altogether. Many people who have PTSD will also try to avoid thinking about the accident and expend energy trying to keep out intrusive thoughts and traumatic memories.
- Disassociation: Many people who develop PTSD after a car accident may suffer from dissociative behaviors. Dissociation can be a person’s way of coping with the mental trauma and emotional anguish caused by the car accident. Disassociation can occur during a car accident, in the immediate aftermath of an accident, and for lengthy periods after the accident.
- Hypersensitivity: People with PTSD may become hypersensitive or touchy, easily quickly irritated, angry, emotional, or self-destructive. Those who have PTSD may intensely react to ordinary things or remain constantly hypervigilant and “on edge.”
- Social isolation: People who have PTSD may become emotionally detached after an accident. They may also isolate themselves from their social circles, including friends and family, and may not be emotionally present or “in the moment.” Some people living with PTSD use emotional detachment as a coping mechanism and may avoid others involved in the crash to prevent painful memories and emotions from resurfacing.
- Unwanted or intrusive thoughts: Many victims of PTSD experience unwanted or intrusive thoughts related to the accident. These may come in the form of flashbacks or nightmares and can be deeply upsetting. Sometimes, the more a person living with PTSD tries to keep out intrusive thoughts, the more they experience intrusive thoughts. This vicious cycle can be incredibly detrimental to those who have PTSD after a car accident.
PTSD may also exist alongside other conditions, such as:
- Memory issues
- Alcohol and drug abuse
Compensation For PTSD in Car Accident Cases
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD following a car accident in New York, then you may be entitled to recover compensation to help cover costs related to your PTSD and other injuries.
New York is a no-fault state, which means that you will typically turn to your own insurance policy to cover damages resulting from the accident such as:
- Medical expenses related to injuries resulting from the accident
- Lost earnings if you are unable to return to work after the accident
Unfortunately, New York’s no-fault insurance does not typically cover non-financial damages for what is known as “pain and suffering”, which can include PTSD. In order to recover damages for PTSD, you may need to step outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused the accident.
To seek compensation from the at-fault driver, you would need to be able to prove that they caused the accident, and you must meet New York’s serious injury threshold.
Contact A New York Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD or other injuries following a car accident in New York, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our dedicated New York car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. Our team has the skill and resources to conduct a thorough review of the accident and your injuries, help you gather the necessary evidence to support your case, and pursue the compensation that you need to recover and begin to rebuild your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.