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Proving PTSD After an Illinois Car Crash

Wed 17 May, 2023 / by / Car Accidents

There are about 300,000 car crashes in Illinois every year. While not all of them are serious, some require medical attention. Generally, when we think of injuries after a car accident, we think about physical injuries. However, mental injuries in car crashes are incredibly common. The National Institute of Mental Health has estimated that nearly forty percent of survivors of car accidents suffer from PTSD subsequently. 

Just like you can get damages for your physical injuries–like a broken arm–you may be able to recover damages for mental injuries such as PTSD. Read on to learn what PTSD is and how to get compensated following an Illinois car crash.

What is PTSD? 

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. Once thought to only apply to soldiers returning home from war, it is commonly accepted that civilians also experience it. It is a disorder that happens when a person struggles to recover after experiencing a shocking event. 

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • The ability to work is disrupted
  • Insomnia
  • Flashbacks about the accident 
  • Weight loss/unable to eat
  • Being socially withdrawn 

While many people experience shock after a car crash, PTSD is distinct because it can last for months or even years. Certain things will trigger a person to have memories of the traumatic event. As a result, the person will have emotional or physical reactions, nightmares, anxiety, or depression. They may also avoid situations (like being in a car) that will trigger those responses.

How Do You Stop Having PTSD?

Fortunately, there is treatment for PTSD. It does not need to last forever. One method of treatment is psychotherapy with a therapist who specializes in trauma. Another method is the use of medications.

Why Do Car Accident Survivors Suffer from PTSD Sometimes? 

Car accidents can be terrifying. A lot of times, they are not anticipated. This is especially the case if you are hit by another driver. It can be shocking. In more serious accidents, you or your passengers can suffer from painful or dangerous injuries. This can all contribute to a diagnosis of PTSD.

Can You Get Damages for PTSD Following a Car Crash in Illinois?

Yes, it is possible to receive damages for PTSD resulting from a car crash in Illinois. Under Illinois law, you are able to recover for emotional damages. Emotional damages are mental repercussions such as pain, trauma, or other emotional distress. 

First, you will need to show that the car accident was the fault of the other driver. Next, you have to show that the car accident caused the PTSD. You will not be able to recover if there was another cause for your PTSD. Finally, you have to show that the PTSD is interfering with your enjoyment of life in such a way that you should be compensated.

Proving PTSD After a Car Crash Can Be Challenging 

While many people suffer from PTSD following a car crash, it is not so simple to prove that you have PTSD in court. Insurance companies and the other driver’s attorneys will try to show that you do not suffer from it to prevent you from recovering damages for it. 

Here are some things that you can do to support your case.

Things to Support Showing That You Have Suffered PTSD After an Illinois Car Crash 

  • Get an immediate evaluation from a medical professional. 

In any car crash, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. This will help identify any injuries you might have overlooked due to the shock of the accident. Not only will the doctor’s report provide information about your physical health, but it may also generally speak to your mental state. 

  • Keep a journal or diary detailing how you are feeling emotionally after the car crash. 

It is very common for people to block out the specific details of traumatic events. It is the way that the human mind copes. While this is ultimately a good thing, it can be bad if you need proof of how you felt directly after an event. Keep track of the facts after an accident. Journaling can help you document your feelings as well as give you an opportunity to process your trauma.

  • Ask your family or friends to provide testimony about your mental state following the crash. 

Your friends and family may be able to speak to how you were before the crash and after the crash if you were usually adventurous and bubbly and now have become reclusive, that speaks to the impact of the PTSD. They may also be able to provide testimony about how your PTSD has affected your relationships with them.

  • Get mental health support from a psychologist or a psychologist. 

Showing that you are seeking mental health services will provide further credence to the fact that you are suffering mentally. The therapist might also be able to provide testimony about your condition, including providing the court with the diagnosis. 

What Sort of Compensation Can I Expect?

Every car crash is unique. Still, if you are in a car accident, you can expect to recover your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress damages. If you suffer from PTSD following the crash, you should get paid for therapy, meds, or other treatment needed to help with your PTSD. Additionally, you should be compensated for having to deal with the pain of this disorder.

Many things will impact your particular recovery:

  1. Will you recover quickly from PTSD or will it impact you for a while?
  2. How severe were the events that led to the PTSD?
  3. What sort of impact is PTSD having on your personal life and employment?
  4. How is PTSD impacting you financially?

If you have been in a car accident and believe you may have PTSD, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.