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Psychological Injuries After Accidents

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When people discuss a car crash or other type of accident, most of the focus is on the physical injuries that the victim or victims sustained (if any). However, it is not at all uncommon for car accident victims to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) afterward, and very often, this serious condition goes almost entirely unremarked. If this has happened to you, consulting an experienced attorney may offer some suggestions on how best to move forward in seeking compensation.

PTSD Is Common

Despite it being an afterthought to many car crash victims and very often, to their insurers, PTSD is commonly seen after such episodes. Because auto accidents are so rarely anticipated, even on congested roads like one sees in many Florida cities, shock, fear, and trauma will appear in many people, even if their accident caused very little injury or damage. Car crashes tend to challenge the narrative that many people have about themselves, especially if they are younger – humans see themselves as largely immortal until something changes that view.

Statistics from the National Institute of Health indicate a bit of a gap in estimates, but even the lowest estimate for PTSD occurrences in motor vehicle accident victims is approximately 10 percent, with the highest coming in around 45 percent. Even 10 percent of accident victims having some form of PTSD would be extremely significant, however; given the number of vehicle accidents that occur in the United States annually, this translates to millions of people. And yet, very few people treated for injuries after a car crash are able to obtain mental health care for this condition.

Is It Compensable?

In the context of seeking compensation after an auto accident, the important question is whether PTSD or anxiety disorder is compensable, assuming that the negligence of another actor can be proven. Given that PTSD, anxiety disorder, and many other similar conditions are valid diagnoses, the answer is that they are generally compensable assuming that you are actually diagnosed with the condition (as opposed to merely inferring it). Diagnosis may take time, but it is generally a good idea to consult a medical provider, because without a diagnosis and possible expert testimony, compensation would be difficult to obtain.

Be advised that expert testimony is not always easy to obtain – very often, medical professionals are loath to potentially contradict another person in their field, so if you have seen multiple doctors this may be an issue. Also, PTSD is not something that can be diagnosed immediately; normally a period of observation is required, meaning that a medical professional may not feel comfortable diagnosing you within the time frame you would need for an insurance claim or lawsuit, depending on the facts. Generally, if you believe you may have PTSD or another mental health-related condition, you should consult a doctor and iron out any possible wrinkles in your case at a later date – your mental health should come first.

Seek Experienced Legal Help For Your Case

PTSD and other similar conditions are just beginning to be recognized for how serious they can be – just recently, on October 1, 2018, Florida adopted legislation which allows first responders to recover under workers’ compensation for posttraumatic stress and similar issues, characterizing it as an occupational disease. However, PTSD is not a part of the conversation for too many private citizens, when it really should be. If you need help navigating after a car accident, the Tampa personal injury lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group can sit down with you and try to help you determine how best to proceed, for the benefit of you and your family. Call us today for a free consultation.

Resources:

flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/00376

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2396820/

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