Visitor Question

Compensation for having to see a therapist for possible PTSD?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Los Banos, California)

I was in a car accident that involved road rage with other vehicles on the road. I was an innocent bystander when my car was struck. It was totaled and I missed a weeks worth of work. I was told injuries were abdominal bruising and muscle sprains through my back and my right arm. In addition to that my right knee has bone bruising.

Those were the physical injuries. Due to the accident and being out of work for a week I was really stressed and snapped at my family a lot causing my wife and I to argue quite a bit. I’ve also had problems with cars merging too close to me as it makes me feel like they are going to crash into me (like what happened in the accident). I have spoken with my doctor about this and he is referring me to a therapist I can talk to. He said he thinks it might be minor PTSD.

Through all this the insurance has offered to pay my medical bills, time missed from work, and offered me $2200 in damages. I have never had to go through something like this so I don’t know if this is extremely low or extremely generous.

Note: all this was caught on my dash cam.

What are your thoughts? Thank you for any perspective you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”

And research from the National Center for PTSD has shown: “…approximately 9% of Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) survivors develop PTSD. Rates are significantly higher in samples of MVA survivors who seek mental-health treatment. Studies show that between 14% and 100% of MVA survivors who seek mental-health treatment have PTSD, with an average of 60% across studies.”

It would be premature for your to settle your injury claim until such time as you seek treatment from a mental health professional who can determine if your injuries in fact rose to the level of PTSD. It’s unwise to settle a claim before concluding treatment. As much as possible, you want to know the full extent of your injuries (mental and physical) before settling your claim.

There is no rush to settle. The Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims in California (Section 335.1) is two (2) years from the date of injury. This means you have two years from the date of the accident to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit.

Learn more here: Compensation for Emotional Distress

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim,

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