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Can you recover compensation for PTSD after a car accident in NJ?

A car accident can be an extremely traumatic event. In fact, because of the increased frequency of car accidents and the devastating injuries they can cause, car accidents are one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder. If your car accident was severe enough to trigger PTSD, you may wonder if you can recover compensation for the ways the behavioral disorder negatively impacts your life. According to FindLaw, the good news is, you can. 

When you file a personal injury claim, you may notice that damages fall into one of two categories: Special or general. Special damages refer to losses that are easy to value. Those include medical expenses, property damage and lost wages. General damages, on the other hand, are not so easy to translate into dollars. Damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish fall into this category. 

Because the effects of PTSD are difficult to value, the judge would consider the condition and the symptoms as general damages. To ensure the judge understands the full implications of the condition on your everyday life, you may need an expert to testify on your behalf. The testimony should establish the following: 

  • Whether or not you have a confirmed PTSD diagnosis 
  • Whether the condition is the result of the car accident in question, or if you lived with it prior to the incident 
  • The prognosis of the condition, such as for how long a medical expert expects it to last, and how that would translate in dollar amounts 

One factor to consider when filing a claim for damages is the time it took you to obtain a diagnosis and request treatment. Because the condition is not fully understood, victims and their families often do not notice the warning signs until the symptoms have grown increasingly worse. This results in a delay in diagnosis and treatment, both of which may negatively impact a victim’s case.