Yes, a motorcycle accident can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying or horrific event. The motorcyclist can have a severe emotional response following an accident. PTSD is more than normal feelings of guilt or anger. It is an emotional response that affects the daily life of the motorcyclist.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After an Accident
Symptoms of PTSD may occur within a month of the motorcycle accident, or they may not appear until years after the crash. A person with PTSD may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Ongoing general anxiety or anxiety triggered by seeing or getting onto a motorcycle
- Refusal of medical tests or procedures
- Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
- Excessive worry or unreasonable anger
- Inability to connect with people
- Suicidal thoughts
The critical distinction between PTSD and normal reactions following a motorcycle wreck is the impact of PTSD on the motorcyclist's day-to-day activities. The motorcyclist re-enacts the crash in his or her mind, becomes easily stressed, and avoids situations that trigger memories of the collision.
Recovering Compensation for PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident
In some circumstances, you may be eligible to file a claim to recover compensation for a mental injury, such as PTSD. However, there are several things our injury firm must do:
Provide Proof to Recover Compensation for PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident
We must prove that a doctor diagnosed your PTSD. We must also show the relationship between the PTSD and the accident. Even if the PTSD diagnosis preceded the accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation if the accident made the PTSD worse.
Proving the Other Party Caused or Contributed to the Motorcycle Accident
We must prove that the negligence or reckless conduct of the other driver caused the accident. This might include behavior such as distracted driving, driving over the speed limit, or disobeying a red light.
Reduction or Bar to Recovery If Your Conduct Caused the Accident
Georgia’s comparative fault law can reduce your potential recovery or bar you from obtaining compensation entirely. For example, say an investigation found the other driver to be 80 percent at fault and you to be 20 percent at fault. You would be entitled to 80 percent of your demand. If you demanded $20,000, you would be able to recover $16,000.
The comparative negligence law can also bar you from recovering compensation. Georgia follows a 50 percent bar rule which means the state will bar you from recovering compensation if you contributed 50 percent or more to the cause of the accident.
When to File a Claim to Recover Compensation for PTSD
We must file a lawsuit for physical injuries arising out of the accident within a certain time of the accident. The time varies from state to state. Georgia imposes a two-year time limit. If you fail to file suit within those two years, Georgia will throw out your lawsuit.
Proving That the Motorcyclist Suffers PTSD from the Accident
To prove you have PTSD caused by the accident, a doctor must give an opinion that the accident caused the PTSD. An expert witness can explain in an affidavit, a deposition, or in court the causal connection between the accident and the PTSD.
Other witnesses will also be valuable in proving your PTSD. These witnesses may be a spouse, a friend, or a co-worker who has daily interaction with you. They can support your case in several ways:
- Relate how your conduct changed after the accident.
- Give examples of episodes they observed.
- Explain the impact of PTSD on your daily activities.
We will determine what witnesses might be helpful in your case.
Receiving Compensation for PTSD
The compensation for PTSD might include the following:
- Medical expenses from psychologists and psychiatrists
- Costs of prescriptions
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for mental anguish
You can take action that will help us when negotiating a settlement or trying your case in court:
- Keep records of your prescriptions and any medical bills you receive
- Keep track of missed days of work
- Jot down notes of nightmares, bouts with depression, and feelings of anxiety
How S. Burke Law Can Help
The S. Burke Law motorcycle accident team will negotiate with the insurance company to get you a settlement for your PTSD. If negotiations do not yield a reasonable settlement, we can gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, and present your case in court.If you have questions, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.