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Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Anyone who has ever been in an accident knows that there are many ways that a car crash can change your life. Even minor fender benders can ruin your day by making you late or having to find a reliable mechanic. However, for people who are in serious accidents, injuries can impact their health in many ways. Mental injuries, like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), can significantly change someone’s life when a car crash occurs.

Can you sue for PTSD after a car accident? Our Miami car accident attorneys explain:

Suing for PTSD as a Car Accident Victim

Yes, you can sue for PTSD after a car accident. As long as you have some physical injuries and meet the threshold to bring a third-party claim in your state, you can include PTSD as part of the claim. Each state has its own laws for when a victim may sue the responsible driver for a car accident. If you qualify to claim compensation from the driver based on state laws, you can sue for PTSD and other non-economic damages after a car accident.

Can a Car Accident Cause PTSD?

There is always a risk of PTSD after a car accident. A car accident is a traumatic event that can result in a mental health condition like PTSD. When a car accident occurs, it is a sudden, unexpected event that can change the victims’ lives instantly. PTSD and other mental health afflictions are commonly caused by car accidents. The responsible party should be held accountable for all your injuries, including mental and emotional suffering.

Suing for PTSD After a Florida Car Accident

Of course, when state laws are what govern who can sue for PTSD after a car accident, it’s essential to know what Florida law has to say. Florida law requires a victim to have a significant, permanent injury or death in order to qualify for PTSD damages. When the victim meets the threshold of severity for physical injuries, then they can also include mental injuries in the case. To learn more or to see how this could apply to your situation, contact our Miami personal injury attorneys.

Florida Law for Suing for PTSD After a Car Accident

Florida law 627.737 is the law that describes when a person can sue for PTSD after a car accident. It says that victims may recover payment for suffering and mental anguish if they meet the physical injury threshold. The threshold is suffering a serious, permanent injury, disfigurement or death. As part of winning a PTSD car accident lawsuit, you need to prove that you meet the injury severity requirement and establish the severity of the PTSD.

How Much Compensation Can You Get for PTSD?

The compensation that you can get for PTSD after a car accident in Florida depends on your injuries. The severity of your injuries determines how much compensation you should recover for PTSD. Both your physical injuries and your mental injuries are relevant. Most juries assume that mental injuries become more serious when your physical injuries are more severe. However, the full extent and severity of the PTSD itself is the primary determining factor in how much compensation you can get for PTSD.

In some cases, PTSD and all mental health damages are only a small amount of the claim. In other circumstances, mental health damages equal or even exceed the cost of medical bills for physical injuries. Determining what compensation you get for PTSD requires looking specifically at all of the losses in your case. 

Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

Here are some of the symptoms of PTSD that a victim may experience after a car accident:

  • Reliving the inexperience mentally
  • Avoiding circumstances and experiences
  • Difficulty working
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Guilt
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Sudden or uncharacteristic anger
  • Trouble holding down a job

Like physical injuries, mental suffering after a car accident requires treatment. Fortunately, mental health injuries may qualify for compensation as part of a car accident claim. An experienced Miami car accident lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible to include mental injuries in your case. 

Challenges in Winning Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident

When you believe it’s appropriate to claim PTSD damages after a car accident, there are some special considerations. PTSD is a mental injury. You can’t see it. In fact, a person who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder may appear normal. Conveying to the jury the nature and extent of the PTSD is a challenge for any car accident victim.

Fortunately, there are several ways for a victim to accomplish their objective. First, it’s critical to have a professional diagnosis. It’s not enough for the victim or their family to testify about their personal experiences. While that may be appropriate as part of the presentation of the case, it’s probably not enough by itself to convince a jury or the other party during settlement negotiations. 

Having an expert witness that can speak to the severity of the injuries is crucial. There are court rules for how to qualify an expert witness to testify to medical information. It’s vital to ensure that the witness can qualify as an expert. Once you’ve identified the expert witness, the next step is to ensure that their testimony is thorough and complete. Testifying about the victim’s current and future PTSD injuries is critical to helping the victim receive fair compensation.

What to Do to Win PTSD Compensation for a Car Crash

To win PTSD compensation for a car crash, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Medical professionals need to evaluate both physical and mental injuries. When finding the right professional, consider their qualifications and training, specifically in identifying and treating mental health issues.

An experienced car accident attorney can help you find the right mental health expert for your case. Of course, timing is critical. The sooner you begin working on the case, the easier it is to prove your claim for PTSD and other mental health damages. Our Miami attorneys can help you understand whether you qualify for this type of compensation and what your claim might be worth. Then, we can take the steps on your behalf to ensure that you recover everything that you deserve.

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.