Big rigs, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semis, and other large commercial trucks are a common sight on the nation's roads—and, sadly, so too are collisions between these massive trucks and smaller passenger vehicles. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a government agency that regulates the interstate trucking industry, large trucks and buses are involved in approximately 4,400 fatal crashes—and more than 119,000 injury accidents—each year.
While truck crashes are well known for their propensity for causing serious physical injuries—such as debilitating or disabling head, brain, or spinal cord damage—they can also leave victims with significant psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A PTSD diagnosis can dramatically alter the quality of a person's life. However, if the PTSD was the result of a truck accident caused by a truck driver, trucking company, or other party's negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation.
Were you diagnosed with PTSD following a devastating Delaware truck accident? Here's what you should know before taking legal action.
Truck Accidents Can Be Particularly Traumatic
Any serious motor vehicle accident can leave victims shaken and confused. However, truck crashes can be especially traumatic. For example, due to the disparity between the size and weight of commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, the property damage and—more importantly, the physical injuries sustained in a truck accident can be absolutely catastrophic. Additionally, fatalities are not uncommon. Victims fortunate enough to have survived a horrific truck crash may have lost friends or loved ones in the accident. The lingering physical and emotional effects of such an accident can last a lifetime.
Living With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Truck Crash
Though most commonly associated with combat war veterans, PTSD is a mental health disorder triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Truck crashes and other motor vehicle accidents are actually a leading cause of PTSD, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
PTSD symptoms can appear days, weeks, months, or even years after the traumatic event in question. The most common symptoms of PTSD fall into one of the following four categories: intrusive memories, avoidance of thoughts or places associated with the trauma, negative changes in thinking and mood, and altered physical and emotional reactions. The intensity of these symptoms can vary dramatically over time. Victims should seek help when PTSD symptoms cause problems in their relationships, work or social situations, or if they make it difficult to care for themselves or complete daily tasks.
Fortunately for PTSD sufferers, there are a variety of treatment methods available, including medication, and cognitive or behavioral therapies.
Potential Damages for Delaware Truck Accident Victims Suffering From PTSD
Victims can pursue a financial recovery for economic and non-economic losses sustained in a truck accident that wasn't their fault. People who were diagnosed with PTSD associated with a prior truck crash can seek compensation for a wide range of damages, including:
- Accident-related medical expenses (doctors visits, hospitalizations, surgical procedures, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, related medical travel, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Personal injury attorneys with experience handling truck accident cases can help victims compile the evidence needed to build a strong case.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney About Your Truck Crash Case
Proving an “invisible” truck accident injury like PTSD requires extensive evidence and intimate knowledge of Delaware's personal injury laws. With so much at stake, victims just can't afford to go it alone. The Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand your legal rights and options after a serious truck accident, and fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial case consultation.