Is PTSD compensable as part of a car accident claim?

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Claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are pretty rare in connection with a car accident, but they're not unheard of. PTSD is definitely compensable as a component of “damages” -- which determine the value of a car accident injury claim. The trick will be in getting the proper evidence to substantiate your claim.

PTSD is a psychological ailment that results from a highly stressful or fear-inducing event, and the condition is characterized by the person’s inability to properly shut down the anxieties and “fight or flight”-type responses that he or she associates with the underlying event.

A serious car accident can be enough to trigger PTSD, but there are real challenges for a claimant or plaintiff who is trying to get compensation for this kind of “injury.” That’s because PTSD manifests differently for different people, and in any case, a comprehensive examination by a mental health professional will probably be necessary, at minimum. And you may need to get one or more psychologists or other mental health practitioners to give a definitive diagnosis that you are suffering from PTSD before you can get compensation for it as part of an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit.

At the very least, you’ll need to provide some evidence that you are receiving some form of ongoing therapy as a way of treating PTSD and its symptoms. And even then, you can expect the other side to put up a fight, especially if the PTSD component is adding significantly to your demand for compensation.