Proving the existence of mental trauma – including PTSD – following a car crash can sometimes be difficult. This is especially true in the case of young children who may have difficulty verbalizing their feelings and emotions anyway. Moreover, when it comes to mental illness and trauma, insurance company adjusters tend to become skeptical. They will often attempt to reduce or eliminate the compensation awarded for this type of illness or treatment. Remember, it is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company as much money as possible and to pay out as little money as possible in satisfaction of a personal injury claim.
In some cases, the insurance company may even point to other potential causes for the accident victim’s PTSD, including prior psychological treatment or counseling and prior traumatic experiences. These prior experiences could include the death of a parent, sibling, or other loved one – and even prior vehicular or other types of accidents.
In order to recover monetary compensation for PTSD, including emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering damages, the accident victim will need to relate the PTSD to the subject motor vehicle accident. This can sometimes be accomplished by introducing the expert medical testimony of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider. A mental health provider may be able to attest to the child accident victim’s current and future treatment, as well as the cost of that treatment. A qualified mental health professional may also be able to examine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash and tie the PTSD to the accident.
If the child suffered from a prior mental health condition before the car accident, such as depression or anxiety, the mental health provider might be able to testify that the current accident exacerbated these preexisting conditions and made them worse.