If you have been involved in a car accident in Maryland and been left with PTSD as a result, you are allowed to sue for damages.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, an aptly named mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, such as a car accident. Its symptoms often don’t manifest themselvesright away, but can show up at any time without warning..
Soldiers who are involved in combat or who witness atrocities often suffer from PTSD, either at the time or later on in their lives, although the term itself wasn’t coined until 1980. Whether it was called soldier’s heart, combat fatigue, shell shock, war neurosis, combat stress reaction, or PTSD, the disorder was serious — and often debilitating.
PSTD and Car Accidents
You may not have been fighting in the trenches, but a car accident can also be a life-changing experience. You may have been physically injured, witnessed the injuries of others, or even witnessed a death. This kind of trauma has consequences.
There are an estimated 6 million vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), 6% – 25% of children and adolescents and 39.2% of adult survivors of those accidents go on to develop PTSD.
The symptoms are not exactly the same for each person affected, but they are generally grouped into four categories:
- Recurrent memories of the accident
- Reliving the accident (flashbacks)
- Dreams and nightmares about the accident
- Emotional distress or physical reactions when something (a trigger) reminds you of the accident
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the accident
- Avoiding or being afraid to drive (sometimes referred to as vehophobia)
- Avoiding people or places that remind you of the accident
Negative changes in mood or thinking
- Extreme depression
- Mood swings
- Numbness or apathy
- Memory problems
- Difficulty with relationships
Changes in physical or emotional reactions
- Easily startled
- A feeling of always being “braced” or on guard
- Irrational, angry outbursts
- Self-destructive behavior (like substance abuse)
PSTD and Accident Lawsuits
As you can see by this list of possible symptoms, PTSD belongs in the category of pain and suffering and thus is something you can claim in your accident lawsuit. Not only do you have to deal with the anguish of the condition itself, but you may also have missed income because of depression, time off for doctor appointments, and therapy appointments.
There is no clear-cut formula for determining the actual amount of pain and suffering you have experienced (the current cap for pain and suffering damages in Maryland is $860,000 and that goes up each year), but the experienced attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. We understand the trauma that you have been through and also take future suffering into account as we represent you.
As you can imagine, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will want to minimize your distress. They may say that your symptoms are just normal temporary depression after being in an accident. We will build a case to prove the severity of your pain and suffering.
Some Items That May Be Helpful to Gather:
- Proof of lost wages due to appointments, anxiety, or depression
- A journal documenting emotional outbursts, panic attacks, or any other emotional suffering
- Medical records
- Receipts for relevant prescriptions or over the counter medications
- Counselor or mental health professional records
Maryland Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind the fact that the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-101 says that a civil lawsuit for personal injury “shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues.”
We’re here to help you understand your rights and regain peace of mind. Whether you’re suffering from physical pain, lasting psychological damage, or even a fear of driving, the car accident attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law are here to represent you.