Even if you weren't seriously injured in your vehicle accident, you may still be suffering from severe emotional troubles for some time afterward. You might wonder whether you deserve financial compensation for the post-traumatic stress you're experiencing. You may very well be able to collect a settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance company with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. 

Do Experts Believe Car Accidents Cause PTSD?

Yes, they do. In fact, the American Psychological Association considers motor vehicle accidents the top cause of this disorder. Authors of a book published by the association note the importance of psychological therapy for people who have been in serious crashes. 

What Are Your Symptoms?

Make a list of the symptoms you're experiencing so you can provide details to a lawyer during an initial free consultation. You might be dealing with:

  • profound flashbacks of the accident
  • panic attacks
  • feelings of hostility
  • an inability to concentrate at work or school
  • fear of driving or of being a vehicle passenger
  • urges to drink too much to relieve anxiety
  • frequent headaches, upset stomach or other physical ailments
  • insomnia

PTSD symptoms may not appear until several months after the collision.

What Does Your Lawyer Need to Begin a Lawsuit? 

Your lawyer will want evidence to show the insurance company that you experience ongoing PTSD symptoms. You'll need a definitive diagnosis from a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Your supervisor and co-workers may be able to act as witnesses to your changes in behavior and attitude ever since the accident occurred. This doesn't mean they need to provide testimony in court, because personal injury cases typically are settled outside of court. Instead, they might be interviewed by a paralegal in the law firm. 

What Does Compensation Cover?

After the insurance company agrees to a certain amount of compensation, it sends a check with a lump-sum payment that is intended to cover things your lawyer sets forth in the request for a settlement. Depending on your circumstances, those things might include:

  • psychological or psychiatric therapy
  • antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication
  • lost income from missing work
  • loss of enjoyment in daily life

Where Do You Go From Here?

Contact an injury lawyer for a free consultation. The lawyer will gather the facts of your case and discuss settlement possibilities. He or she will also talk about fees at this time; these practitioners generally accept a percentage of the settlement, so you don't have to worry about paying anything ahead of time.