Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident in North Carolina?
Motor vehicle accidents can cause much more than physical pain and injury. These nerve-wracking and often terrifying events may leave lasting emotional scars that manifest as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a mental condition that can be triggered after exposure to a traumatic event. In most cases that we have handled involving PTSD, our clients suffer physical injuries as well.
While shock, fear, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness are common in the immediate days following a car accident, they usually dissipate. In people with PTSD, however, these physiological reactions continue and even worsen in severity, which can undermine the victim’s quality of life.
Having represented car accident victims in North Carolina for more than three decades, our attorneys are often asked, “Can I sue for PTSD after a car accident?”
Suing for PTSD After a Car Accident
If you have developed PTSD after a car accident in North Carolina, you may be eligible to seek damages from the at-fault driver. Recovering fair compensation for car crash-induced PTSD is feasible but much more complicated than a regular injury claim, requiring the skill of an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer at Riddle & Brantley. We provide sound guidance and compassionate support to auto accident victims who are struggling to navigate the legal process.
Depression, panic attacks, chronic anxiety, and recurring flashbacks of the traumatic ordeal are hallmark signs of PTSD. But in order to sue for damages, we must be able to prove that the car accident was, in fact, responsible for this mental condition, which means medical documentation is crucial.
The symptoms of PTSD may be subtle or non-existent for weeks after the accident. In fact, many people do not develop PTSD for several months after being involved in or witnessing a traumatic event.
For these reasons, it’s essential to seek a medical evaluation at the slightest hint of PTSD. In order to have a medical diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, victims must experience symptoms for one month or longer following the accident.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD vary dramatically from person to person, but are typically categorized into one of four groups:
- Negative changes in thinking and cognition
- Intrusive memories
- Changes in emotional or physical reactions
Statistics show that women are more likely to develop this potentially debilitating condition than are men, and more than 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from PTSD.
Consider seeking medical attention if you are having disturbing thoughts about the car accident, or have experienced any of the following symptoms:
- Nightmares and flashbacks about the accident
- Physiological reactions to any reminders of the incident
- An exaggerated startle response
- Persistent feelings of horror, anger, shame, or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of detachment/isolating behavior
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Feelings of hopelessness about the future
- Severe depression
- Inability to feel positive emotions
- Outbursts of anger
- Emotional numbness
- Purposeful avoidance of places, people, or other reminders of the trauma
Getting a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help prevent PTSD symptoms from worsening with time.
Why You Need a Strong Legal Advocate on Your Side to Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident
Dealing with insurance companies that want to pay out the bare minimum is another challenge in and of itself. Claims adjusters may try to deny or minimize your claim for PTSD, especially if the onset of symptoms was delayed by several months.
Hiring a North Carolina personal injury lawyer with a strong track record of success winning car accident claims is a step in the right direction. When you partner with Riddle & Brantley, you can count on powerful advocacy and an empathetic team of litigators who will ensure your voice is heard.
A successful injury claim can recoup damages to pay for medication, psychotherapy, counseling, and other PTSD treatments. Plaintiffs can also recover compensation for any income that was lost because of their inability to work, as well as damages for emotional anguish and suffering.
North Carolina adheres to rules of contributory negligence, which bar a plaintiff from securing damages if they are even 1 percent to blame for the accident. Because of this caveat, it is essential to retain expert legal counsel before making a statement to the insurance company.
To be clear, do NOT give a recorded statement to an insurance company before first speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Riddle & Brantley: Protecting Your Legal Rights
If you are experiencing signs of PTSD after an auto accident, call 1-800-525-7111 today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney at Riddle & Brantley.
Our lawyers handle claims on a contingency-fee basis throughout North Carolina, including:
We also serve clients throughout the greater Charlotte area as well as other cities across North Carolina.
Our injury attorneys leverage a combined 200 years of legal expertise, and some of our attorneys are members of the esteemed Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The National Association of Distinguished Counsel (see disclaimer below).
For a FREE, no-obligation consultation concerning a potential PTSD claim resulting from a car accident, call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the fast and easy form below.
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