Car accidents can happen so unexpectedly and violently, it is not uncommon for survivors to experience extreme psychological distress immediately after the wreck. A person is diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if this emotional distress continues for over a month with other psychological symptoms. PTSD can impair a person’s ability to function in social relationships, at school, and at work. This can lead to lost wages, in addition to medical expenses for PTSD treatment and physical injuries. However, you may be able to obtain compensation by consulting with a Tennessee car accident lawyer.
Impairments of PTSD
PTSD is considered a psychological disorder by the American Psychological Association (APA) that involves intrusive thoughts, avoidance, negative thoughts or mood, and reactive symptoms. Intrusive thoughts force the person to relive the traumatic car accident repeatedly. Reliving these memories may continue at night in the form of nightmares. This can greatly disturb proper sleep, which is essential for daily functioning.
Avoidance describes the person’s tendency to avoid anything associated with the wreck, like people, locations, and objects. Negative thoughts build up cognitive distortions, which are similar to delusional beliefs. This inevitably leads to feelings of guilt and fear, which greatly impair the person’s ability to relate to others or go on with daily activities like work.
Reactive symptoms cause irritability and angry outbursts in response to triggers related to the accident. Concentration and sleep are easily disrupted by this involuntary behavior. People struggling with this may find themselves out of a job and disconnected from others.
Compensation for General Damages
Negligence is the key to understanding why you have the right to compensation after a car accident. If another driver was responsible for the wreck, then that person is also responsible for the monetary costs of that wreck. Financial reimbursement does not just cover physical damages, but also psychological damages. Psychological damages can be covered under general damages, which are subjective dollar amounts.
Some people within the courts and insurance companies may be skeptical of any psychological damages you claim to have endured. This is because there are people out there who abuse the system and feign psychological illness to obtain money or avoid punishment. Skepticism is a defense mechanism against being cheated or lied to.
To prove that you have PTSD, you will need an official diagnosis and possibly a doctor’s note or copies of your medical records. You will also need a lawyer to help prove how the other driver was negligent and why they were at fault. A lawyer will also know how to persuade others about the seriousness of your pain and suffering.