Yes, you can recover damages for PTSD after an accident in Maryland. The physical, mental, and emotional trauma a person experiences after an accident can drastically alter their life. The trauma can often be felt for years, if not a lifetime. While physical injuries are often felt immediately after an accident, mental and emotional ones, such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can present themselves at a later time. Unfortunately, many insurance companies and defense attorneys will try to dismiss a victim’s claim to damages for their emotional distress.
The accomplished attorneys of Holzman & Dickriede are on your side and will help fight for the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have a successful track record of recovering damages for victims suffering from PTSD and other mental and emotional distress resulting from an accident.
Types of Emotional Distress
Generally, emotional distress claims can fall into two categories:” intentionally inflicted” and “negligently inflicted.”
To bring a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is in Maryland, one must prove that the conduct was intentional or reckless; that the conduct is extreme and outrageous; that there is a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress; and that the emotional distress is severe. This is a very high bar. In order to prevail in a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, “the plaintiff must show that she suffered a severely disabling emotional response to the defendant’s conduct and that the distress was so severe that “no reasonable man could be expected to endure it.
But what if the person who performed the wrongful conduct did not do so intentionally; but rather it was an accident? Although Maryland law does not recognize a separate tort for ‘negligent infliction of emotional distress, which is what happens when the defendant did not intend to cause emotional distress, they caused the distress through their actions by accident, claims for emotional distress are part of the underlying damages a person can claim through a claim for negligence.
What are some common symptoms of PTSD?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.”
Although physical injuries may be more immediately obvious, mental and emotional ones can linger long after physical ones have healed, leaving the victim suffering long after an accident has occurred. The symptoms of PTSD can vary greatly in severity and duration and may not even immediately be felt following an accident. Defense attorneys and insurance companies may try and use this as a way to dismiss your claims. We find that to be unacceptable.
PTSD symptoms can fall into one of the following four categories:
- Intrusion: Symptoms include flashbacks and involuntary memories of an accident that can cause the victim to reexperience the traumatic event.
- Avoidance: The victim of an accident will avoid certain places, people, activities, or objects that may trigger memories of their accident. An example of this is someone not wanting to drive or be in a car after a car accident. This can greatly impact one’s way of life and have significant repercussions.
- Changes in cognition and mood: Symptoms can range from a dramatic change in thought to distorted and excessively negative thoughts about themselves, others, or activities.
- Changes in arousal and reactivity: Symptoms may include being prone to angry outbursts, irritability, reckless or destructive behavior, irrational fear or anxiety of certain situations, and an inability to sleep.
The attorneys of Holzman & Dickriede are here to provide legal counsel during this difficult time. We have the experience needed to navigate the often-murky legal waters surrounding an accident. Our firm takes pride in protecting the victims of accidents and will work hard to develop a winning legal strategy so you and your loved ones can focus on what is most important—your health and recovery.
If you suffer from PTSD resulting from an accident, contact our office so we can sit down with you and determine how we can help you. To schedule a free consultation at our Baltimore office, call us at 410-539-4222 or contact us online. We can also meet you at your home or hospital room if you prefer.
For more than 50 years, Holzman & Dickriede has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for injury victims throughout Maryland. Ask around about us!