Motor vehicle accidents are traumatic.
When a victim suffers serious injuries, they might become entitled to seek compensation in the form of damages.
Arizona statutes do allow victims also to receive compensation for the mental and emotional injuries they suffer, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While it is allowed, a victim only has two years to file an injury claim — including damages for PTSD — pursuant to statute ARS Section 12-542.
It is best that any accident victim suffering from PTSD speak with a Chandler personal injury lawyer right away to assess if their claim is viable.
How Common is PTSD After an Accident?
PTSD is common after an accident, especially a severe car accident.
While there are no hard, fast numbers, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that approximately 9% of motor vehicle accident survivors suffer from PTSD. Some studies show that 14% to 100% of accident survivors will seek mental health treatments for PTSD, marking an average of 60% across all studies assessed by the VA.
Unlike broken bones and lacerations, PTSD is a condition that could affect a victim for the rest of his or her life.
The Issue of Proving PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Proving injuries is easy. After all, a victim seeks medical care and has diagnostic tests that prove broken bones, internal damage, and so forth.
Also, photographs are able to document physical injuries.
However, PTSD is not as easy.
Instead, a plaintiff must prove that their diagnosis is accurate.
What is the Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD?
A Chandler personal injury lawyer will start by assessing the physician’s diagnosis to the criteria. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, PTSD occurs when:
- The patient experiences a traumatic event.
- The person persistently re-experiences the traumatic event through recollections, dreams, feelings of reoccurring events, and severe psychological distress.
- The patient persistently avoids anything associated with the traumatic event, such as refusing to ride in a vehicle.
- The person cannot sleep, has outbursts of anger, and exhibits other uncontrollable moments of increased arousal.
- These symptoms occur for more than one month and affect the patient’s social, occupational, and general ability to function.
Speak with a Chandler Personal Injury Lawyer About Post-Accident Trauma
The issue with PTSD claims is that the case is often settled six months to a year after the event. A person with PTSD would obviously suffer further symptoms, and sometimes PTSD is not diagnosed immediately.
Therefore, if you or a loved one suffers from any emotional distress following an accident, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney.
Contact a Chandler personal injury advocate from Tobler Law today at 480-898-9700 or request more information online.