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Can I Recover for PTSD Damages in a Car Accident Personal Injury Case?

The most obvious result of a car accident may be a physical injury, but many motor vehicle accident victims also go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety disorder can wreak havoc on the life of someone who was involved in or witnessed a traumatic event.

Southern California car accident lawyer Sean Salamati understands that PTSD resulting from motor vehicle accidents is an especially pressing issue in Los Angeles, which leads the state in traffic injuries and fatalities. California recognizes the right of personal injury victims to receive compensation for injuries and physical losses caused by someone else’s carelessness; damages related to PTSD may also be recovered.

What is needed to recover compensation for PTSD?

To prove any sort of personal injury claim in a car accident case, a plaintiff needs to be able to establish that the defendant was careless or breached a duty to do or not do something. In car accidents, this often means establishing that the defendant violated a traffic law or drove carelessly. Next, it must be demonstrated that the defendant’s action directly caused the accident, and then that the injury was directly and logically related to the accident.

To meet this burden when the injury includes PTSD, expert testimony is required. A plaintiff needs to be prepared to offer the testimony of a doctor who can explain to a jury what PTSD is, what symptoms look like, and how it is diagnosed.

The signs and symptoms of PTSD can vary dramatically but in general, they include:

  • Intrusive memories that can include recurring and distressing thoughts, nightmares, or extreme emotional reactions to things that conjure up memories of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of thoughts, discussions, places, or activities that trigger memories of the event
  • Negative patterns of thought and mood that can include hopelessness, detachedness, lack of interest in hobbies, and memory problems
  • Altered reactions, such as being easily frightened or experiencing overwhelming guilt
  • Intensification of symptoms when stressed

What is a PTSD claim worth?

Calculating potential PTSD car accident compensation depends on a number of variables including:

  • The course and expense of PTSD treatment already received
  • The prognosis and anticipated future treatment
  • The severity of the accident and/or the physical injuries suffered
  • The extent to which PTSD has interfered with the plaintiff’s quality of life
  • Lost wages and future inability to work
  • The availability of insurance assets

An experienced personal injury lawyer is in the best position to help determine how the specific facts in a case may affect its outcome.

PTSD car accident settlement

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of PTSD but insurance adjusters and jurors often overlook this debilitating condition because it does not leave physical scars. Our team at the Salamati Law Firm has established a track record of putting forth winning cases for personal injury victims and can help you make your PTSD case. We work with industry-leading experts and a top-notch staff to help you reach a fair PTSD car accident settlement. Call a Los Angeles car accident attorney from the Salamati Law Firm today for a free case analysis.

 Additional “PTSD car accident compensation” resources:

  1. NCBI, Assessment and treatment of PTSD after a motor vehicle collision: Empirical findings and clinical observations,
  2. Mayo Clinic, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Symptoms and causes,
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