Thankfully, most car accidents result in relatively minor injuries or only property damage. However, that is not always the case. Some accidents are so severe that they lead to significant injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for victims. Here, our Chicago car accident lawyers want to discuss whether or not a car accident injury victim is able to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party if they are diagnosed with PTSD after the incident.
Types of damages available in a car accident case
Most people are aware there are various types of economic and non-economic damages available in the aftermath of a car accident case. This can include the following:
- Coverage of all accident-related medical bills
- Lost income if a victim is unable to work
- General household out-of-pocket expenses caused by the crash
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
- Pain and suffering damages
Is post-traumatic stress disorder considered a “damage?”
Recent studies have found that as many as one out of every five car accident victims suffers from PTSD following the incident. This is an astounding statistic.
Those who have been in a fairly severe car accident will often feel anxious the next time they drive, and they may even have nightmares about the incident. However, sometimes, the aftermath of a crash can lead to more severe emotional trauma, including the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Recurring flashbacks of the incident
- Eating disorders
- Disruption of your ability to work
- Estrangement from others
Aside from these emotional and psychological symptoms, victims of PTSD can also suffer from physical problems such as fatigue, body aches, high blood pressure, and more. Victims of PTSD sustained in a car accident often require extensive counseling and psychological therapy in order to make a recovery and resume normal activities.
Can you sue for PTSD after a crash in Chicago?
It is possible for a person who develops PTSD following a car accident to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party for these damages. However, it will be necessary to prove that the PTSD was caused by the car accident.
In order to prove PTSD, a victim will need to provide expert testimony from a qualified physician that specializes in psychological disorders. To successfully recover compensation, PTSD needs to be diagnosed.
How do I prove negligence in these cases?
Aside from having a diagnosis of PTSD, the victims in these cases will need to prove the negligence of the other party in order to recover compensation. This is true in order to recover any compensation in the aftermath of a car accident.
In order to prove fault in these cases, a car accident victim should work with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney who can conduct a complete investigation into the incident. In general, the goal is to show that the alleged negligent party was 50% or more at fault for the car accident. Under Illinois comparative negligence laws, even a person who is partly to blame for their crash can recover compensation, so long as they are not more than 50% responsible for the incident. However, the total amount of compensation awarded to a victim will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.