Car accidents that result from the negligence of others can lead to severe physical injuries. However, some accident victims may also suffer mental distress, emotional anguish, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
When a driver or passenger experiences PTSD after an accident, they may become afraid to operate a motor vehicle or to drive in the area where their accident happened. They may also avoid certain roads near the accident scene to prevent reliving the trauma they experienced.
An individual who suffers from PTSD may have to seek ongoing medical treatment after their accident, including treatment from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor, at considerable expense. They may also experience ongoing mental suffering, sometimes for the rest of their life.
If you or a person you love suffered physical or mental injuries following a severe car accident, you need to consult an experienced attorney in your area as soon as possible.
An experienced Murrells Inlet car accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident, explore your legal rights, and pursue the monetary compensation you need and deserve.
Specifically, your lawyer can gather medical records, mental health records, treatment bills, and other documentation to support your claim, negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf, and take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
Your attorney will aggressively fight for your legal rights and interests, including during settlement negotiations, and will work hard to maximize the monetary compensation you receive for your physical injuries and emotional anguish following a car crash.
Types of Car Accidents That May Lead to PTSD
Serious car accidents, especially those that occur at high rates of speed, can lead to severe physical injuries and mental trauma for drivers and passengers alike.
Some of the most common types of car accidents that may lead to a PTSD claim include:
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of one vehicle forcefully strikes the side of another vehicle, often pushing the second vehicle out of its travel lane and into another lane (or entirely off the road)
- Rear-end or tailgate accidents, where a vehicle that follows too closely negligently hits the back of another car, often resulting in whiplash injuries
- Head-on accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to merge into an opposing travel lane, typically resulting in permanent physical/mental injuries and sometimes fatalities
- Broadside or T-bone accidents, where a driver negligently fails to yield the right-of-way to intersecting traffic, causing the front of their vehicle to hit the side of an intersecting vehicle.
If you suffered physical or mental injuries in one of these accident types, consult a personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as possible. Your attorney can explore the various legal options available to you and gather the documents necessary to file a successful personal injury claim on your behalf.
Negligent Acts That Cause Car Accidents
When people drive carelessly or irresponsibly under the circumstances, they may bring about an accident, which causes severe physical and mental trauma.
One of the most common types of driver negligence that may lead to a traffic accident is a driver's failure to obey all traffic laws and regulations. When drivers disobey traffic laws, they may inadvertently cause their vehicle to strike another vehicle, leading to severe damages.
Some of the most common road-rule violations that can lead to violent traffic collisions include failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles when it is appropriate to do so, excessive speeding, tailgating other vehicles, operating vehicles recklessly or carelessly, failing to use turn signals, and failing to use mirrors, especially when backing up a car.
In addition to violating traffic laws, serious car accidents may happen when other drivers become distracted and fail to pay attention to the road. Instead of watching the road, a driver might look at their cellular phone or tablet, make a phone call, comb their hair, apply makeup, eat, drink, program a GPS navigation device, or discipline young children in the vehicle.
When a driver turns their head away from the road, even for a concise amount of time, they may not see an approaching pedestrian or vehicle, bringing about a crash that causes both physical and mental injuries.
Another common cause of violent car accidents is road rage or reckless driving. When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly or recklessly, they cannot see another vehicle in time to avoid an accident.
Common reckless driving maneuvers that lead to violent car accidents include aggressively tailgating other vehicles, attempting to pass other vehicles at inappropriate times, weaving around slower-moving traffic, or taking other aggressive measures to try to move ahead of traffic.
Finally, some violent car accidents are a direct result of drunk driving. The standard for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, depending upon the type of driver.
However, in virtually all jurisdictions, a passenger vehicle operator who is twenty-one years of age or older is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 percent.
If a police officer arrests an intoxicated driver, and the driver ultimately incurs a DUI conviction, they will likely have to pay criminal fines or even serve jail time. Additionally, if they cause an accident that brings about physical or mental injuries, their insurance company may have to compensate the accident victim.
State laws throughout the country treat DUI offenses very harshly simply because alcohol and drug intoxication can bring about severe accidents.
Specifically, drunk drivers are unlikely to maintain control of their vehicle due to various physical and mental symptoms that they may experience, including dizziness, confusion, poor muscular coordination, impaired judgment, inability to judge distances, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time.
Because of these deficiencies, an intoxicated driver can quickly bring about an accident when they are unable to stop their vehicle in time.
If you suffered PTSD or other medical complications because of another driver's negligent or reckless behavior, you are not alone. A skilled personal injury attorney can handle the legal steps of your case while you attend ongoing medical appointments, counseling sessions, and other treatments.
Your attorney will do everything they can to maximize your total settlement compensation by aggressively advocating for you during settlement negotiations or pursuing litigation in court on your behalf.
Proving Liability and Damages in Your Car Accident Case
To recover monetary compensation for your physical injuries and mental suffering after a car accident, you will need to satisfy your legal burden of proof.
In any personal injury case, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof, meaning that they must satisfy all the necessary elements.
On the other hand, the at-fault driver who caused your car accident does not need to satisfy any of these elements.
First, you must demonstrate that the driver who caused your accident owed you a legal duty of care. This element is very easy to establish since all drivers have a duty to drive carefully and follow all prevailing traffic laws and regulations.
Next, you must show that the other driver breached their duty of care by acting unreasonably. For example, that driver may have violated one or more traffic laws or otherwise operated their vehicle unreasonably or inappropriately.
In addition, you must show that your accident occurred as a direct result of the other driver's negligent act. Finally, you will need to show that your mental health complications, such as PTSD, were a direct result of your car accident.
When it comes to proving the causal connection between PTSD and your accident, your attorney can retain a medical expert or mental health professional who may draft a report or testify in your case.
Specifically, your medical provider can testify at a discovery deposition or a civil jury trial that your motor vehicle accident caused your PTSD and other complications. They can also establish that you are likely to experience trauma going forward.
Recovering the Damages You Need for PTSD
Victims of car accidents may suffer debilitating physical injuries and mental symptoms. Whenever a car accident victim can prove the legal elements of their claim, they may recover various types of monetary compensation through settlement or litigation.
First, injured accident victims may receive monetary compensation for both physical injuries and mental health problems related to their accident.
For example, if an accident victim had to seek treatment from a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, their expenses may be recoverable as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Additionally, if an accident victim had to miss time from work in the days and weeks following their accident, they can bring a successful lost-wage claim.
In addition to receiving monetary compensation for their out-of-pocket losses, a car crash victim can pursue compensation for their intangible losses, including their mental distress, trauma, inconvenience, physical and mental pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.
When it comes to mental health complications, insurance companies will often try to undervalue the accident victim's claim. For example, the insurance company adjuster handling the case may look for reasons other than the car accident to explain away the accident victim's mental suffering and symptoms.
For instance, the insurance company might look to pre-existing trauma, such as the loss of a loved one, as a means for explaining away an accident victim's mental suffering. Additionally, an insurance company adjuster may argue that an accident victim is exaggerating the scope of their symptoms.
In that situation, your attorney can point to mental health and counseling records or, if necessary, pursue litigation in the court system.
Your attorney can weigh the pros and cons of various legal options so that you have all the information necessary to make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case.
Consult a Knowledgeable Car Crash Attorney in Your Area Today
If you sustained mental and physical injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident that someone else caused, you need to consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.
Your attorney can take prompt action on your behalf by investigating your accident circumstances, gathering the necessary documentation, and filing a claim with the appropriate insurance company for monetary compensation.
Car accident victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of their car accident date. If they miss this deadline, then according to the state statute of limitations, they can no longer receive monetary compensation and damages for their physical injuries and mental health complications.
Therefore, you need to involve a skilled Murrells Inlet personal injury attorney in your case as soon as possible. Your attorney can handle every aspect of your legal matter and work to secure the fair monetary damages you need and deserve.
Also, your lawyer can address all your legal concerns, keep you updated on your legal matter, and work to maximize your overall monetary settlement or litigation result.