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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Personal Injury Claims

June 02, 2011

When a person is exposed to an overwhelmingly tragic event or experiences a terrible accident, they can develop what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometimes a person is involved in a bad auto accident or has witnessed something gruesome like the death or severe injury of a friend or loved one.

There are a lot of emotions that the person experiences, including fear, horror, anger, guilt, and helplessness. These emotions can stay with the person for an indefinite amount of time.

There is no test that can determine whether a person has PTSD; it is more a matter of assessing the psychological signs that develop in a person as well as the behavior that results. Some people that suffer from PTSD will end up taking antidepressant medications and seeing a psychiatrist for psychotherapy. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may offer some help but normally are not going to completely relieve the symptoms. Time is the injured person's best friend as far as healing from PTSD.

What is PTSD?

PTSD affects nearly 8 million American adults. It can happen to anyone at any age. Some examples of people that are affected with PTSD include:

  • Survivors of rapes, physical attacks, domestic abuse
  • Those involved in severe motor vehicle accidents
  • Survivors of car crashes, natural disasters, or terrorist attacks
  • War combat veterans or civilians involved in war
  • Abused, neglected children
  • People who are told about the death of a loved one
  • EMT workers who are exposed to traumatic events

Auto Accidents and PTSD

A person who has been injured in an auto accident can manifest PTSD and that person can show many different types of symptoms. The person may have nightmares or flashbacks about the car accident. They may not want to talk about the accident or may become emotionally detached from those close to them.

Other symptoms of PTSD are:

  • Chronic pain in different body parts including headaches
  • Feeling insecure about the world, like it is a dangerous place
  • Using drugs or alcohol to try and cope
  • Anxiety attacks / Panic attacks
  • Detachment from family and friends
  • Depression
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Suicidal thoughts

Proving PTSD

When a person has experienced PTSD as a result of a traumatic car accident, they should speak with an attorney about seeking compensation for their injuries. A good attorney can meet with you and assist you in seeing if a solid case can be built in which to hold the other party or parties liable. In the event that the case goes to court, a psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist may provide diagnostic proof of this condition after repeated examinations of a person.

PTSD is the only mental illness that, in order to be diagnosed, needs a specific event to trigger it. This relationship between cause and effect actually provides a more clear causal relationship for the courts. This can sometimes work in a plaintiff's favor.

A good attorney will also understand that it is important to educate the jury about the condition. The characteristic symptoms should be explained to jurors so they can better understand that this is a type of psychological injury, which is harder to see than a physical injury. A personal injury attorney may be able to establish that your PTSD condition is credible through treating physicians and other evidence. This can be bolstered by testimony from friends, family and co-workers. These people can testify as to how the illness affects a person's life on a day-to-day basis.

If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD or a post traumatic stress disorder mental injury as a result of an auto accident, it may be helpful to discuss the auto accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney in Georgia can determine if you have a cause of action against the driver of the motor vehicle that may have resulted in a life altering medical impairment.

For over 39 years, the Georgia auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been helping people just like you in Atlanta and throughout all of Georgia deal with the heart-wrenching challenges resulting from traumatic injuries. We understand the potential legal and factual obstacles to proving your right to legal compensation and will help you through the process and fight for your rights. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident or other accident causing serious injuries, do not hesitate to call us.

Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.