How You May Be Able to Recover Compensation for PTSD After an Accident

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on January 12, 2022  in Car Accident News. Updated on July 3, 2023

If you were involved in a serious accident, there is a chance that you may have suffered more than just physical injuries. In fact, experts at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) say that more than 39 percent of car accident survivors develop some type of mental trauma. Some may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Just like your physical injuries, PTSD and other emotional injuries may be compensated if they were caused by someone else’s negligent actions. However, it may be more difficult to establish these types of injuries and the law may limit your ability to recover this type of non-economic compensation. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to speak to our licensed New Jersey auto accident lawyers to learn more about your legal options.


PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a traumatic event or serious injury, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). While every person may experience PTSD differently, some of the most common symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Re-living the trauma
  • Feelings of detachment

Some injury victims who suffer from PTSD may struggle to talk about the incident. They may also avoid places and circumstances that remind them of the accident. This includes avoiding or being anxious about driving or getting into a car.


Under New Jersey’s no-fault insurance laws, recovering compensation for non-economic damages, like PTSD, may be more difficult depending on the type of insurance you and the liable party have.

First, it is important to understand that accident victims who suffer an injury must first file a claim through their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover the costs of things like medical bills and lost wages. PIP only covers your economic damages. Therefore, you would not be able to recover compensation for your PTSD under your own insurance.

The only way to file a claim for non-economic damages like PTSD would be to file a third-party claim with the liability insurance of the at-fault driver. If the other driver does not have bodily injury liability insurance or if there is a policy but the insurer is refusing to pay, you may need to take legal action by filing a lawsuit. However, you may be limited in your right to sue if you have a basic insurance policy or a standard insurance policy with a limited right to sue.


Standard insurance policyholders with the unlimited right to sue option may file a lawsuit in pursuit of compensation for non-economic damages like PTSD.

However, basic insurance policyholders or those who have a standard policy with a limited right to sue option may also be able to file a lawsuit for non-economic damages under certain circumstances, such as if you suffered one of the following:

  • Permanent injury
  • Loss of limb
  • Displaced fracture
  • Loss of fetus
  • Death

It is important to note that most injury victims who suffer from PTSD also suffered serious trauma, such as the loss of a loved one or a serious injury. Therefore, if you have a basic or a limited right to sue policy but are suffering from PTSD there is a chance you likely experienced one of the injuries listed above.

It would be in your best interest to discuss your claim with one of our experienced attorneys who may be able to determine what your legal options may be.


To recover compensation for any injury after an accident, you must show proof you suffered that injury and that it was a direct result of the accident. This includes emotional injuries like PTSD. One of the most common ways to prove you suffered PTSD after a crash is to get an official diagnosis from a counselor or psychologist.

Additionally, keeping a journal about your injuries, both mental and physical, may help track what you are going through.


If you are suffering from PTSD and other physical injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to discuss your claim during a free consultation to see what legal options may be available to you.

Call (800) 518-0508 to learn more.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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