Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with experiencing the horrors of war, but can also be caused by other traumatic events someone may experience, such as a terrifying car accident. It's a psychological condition that can significantly limit a person’s ability to work, interact with family members and friends, and perform basic day-to-day tasks that we take for granted.
If you suffer with PTSD caused by an auto wreck, you may be entitled to compensation for these injuries. However, proving you have this mental health condition may be more challenging than suffering obvious physical injuries.
PTSD is a psychological condition that can cause a person to have debilitating nightmares or traumatic memories, which can sometimes trigger severe anxiety or panic attacks. After a car accident, a person suffering with this condition may also be fearful of driving, riding in a vehicle, or traveling near the crash scene.
Other ways PTSD affect a person’s psychological health include:
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Physical reactions to memories of the crash, such as increased heart rate, nausea, and sweating
- Mood swings and anger
- A heightened alert for danger
- Withdrawal from activities, family, and friends
- Alcohol or drug addiction to cope with PTSD symptoms
How to Prove You're Suffering PTSD
Because PTSD is such a complicated psychological condition, you will most likely need a qualified medical expert to prove you have this disorder. If you're receiving treatment from a psychologist or another mental health professional, you may use this person as your expert witness. However, your attorney may decide to retain a neutral expert who specializes in PTSD as well.
A medical professional must have extensive qualifications regarding his or her knowledge of symptoms of and treatments for PTSD—ideally, someone who frequently helps people who suffer from the disorder. He or she should also be able to explain this condition in a way that you and the jurors understand, which isn't always the case with expert witnesses.
Your expert needs to be able to discuss the following:
- How an initial traumatic event—such as a motor vehicle accident—may result in PTSD
- How PTSD causes an accident victim to relive the event through flashbacks
- Symptoms of PTSD, such as insomnia, angry outbursts, depression, anxiety, and avoidance behaviors
- How PTSD can disrupt a person’s ability to function at work, maintain his or her relationships, and perform everyday tasks
- What symptoms of PTSD you exhibit, how this psychological condition negatively affects your life, and your prognosis
Role of Other Witnesses in Proving Your PTSD
While an expert witness is essential in proving your PTSD, your testimony and that of family, friends, and co-workers will be important, too. These witnesses can confirm your symptoms of PTSD and what they notice. They'll also be able to share first-hand knowledge of how this disorder has affected your ability to work, to perform household chores, and to enjoy other activities and relationships important to you.
Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys have qualified experts we can turn to for assistance in your case. We'll also work with you to obtain the other witnesses and evidence you need to convince the insurance company or jury of your injuries. To learn about your legal options and our expertise in handling accidents causing PTSD, contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 and schedule your free consultation.