Can You Sue for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Serious car crashes cause property damage and inflict physical and mental injuries on car accident victims. These accident victims may suffer emotional distress stemming from the trauma they experienced.

A woman who has PTSD after a car accident sits on her bedroom floor with her head in her hands.

Like many others, you may find yourself experiencing psychological issues after your accident, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may also wonder if you can sue for PTSD after a car accident. Hiring a reputable car accident lawyer is the most effective way to confirm your rights and options after a car crash and get the legal help you need to recover damages.

PTSD Is a Form of Emotional Distress 

People develop post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing trauma. Although PTSD is commonly associated with military members after deployment, most people who develop PTSD in the U.S. do so because of a car accident. Over 39% of those who survive a car crash develop this psychiatric disorder, which can impact every part of a person, including their physical and mental health. 

Car crash victims can sue for PTSD in some situations. You must demonstrate that the at-fault party was more than 50% responsible for the accident. You must establish that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your accident. Demonstrating your PTSD and other injuries stem from the accident and proving how these injuries caused harm must be established to file a lawsuit.

Since Florida is a no-fault state, car accident lawsuits are limited to cases where the victim suffers serious injuries that qualify for a claim per the state’s guidelines. In addition to suffering PTSD, you must suffer one of the following physical injuries:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Permanent impairment of a bodily function

Florida allows victims who have PTSD to claim compensation through non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are compensation for emotional and physical pain and suffering the accident caused.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

People with PTSD may suffer multiple symptoms, including the following:

  • Anxiety: You may be nervous and worry continuously or frequently, even when you aren’t in situations likely to cause harm
  • Apathy: You may be emotionally numb and lack interest in current events
  • Avoidance: You may take steps to avoid situations similar to the ones that caused your PTSD. Suppose you developed PTSD after you were injured in a bus accident. You may go out of your way to avoid taking the bus.
  • Cognitive challenges: You may find it difficult to remember things after your accident or struggle to concentrate
  • Flashbacks: You may find yourself reliving the accident
  • Hypervigilance: You may never feel safe enough to relax and find yourself continually watching for safety threats
  • Irritability and mood swings: People with PTSD can get angry quickly or struggle with mood swings
  • Sleep issues: You may have insomnia or find it challenging to stay asleep after going to bed. You may also have recurring nightmares about the accident.
  • Survivor’s guilt: You may feel guilt if you survived, but another person died in the accident

People living with PTSD experience may also encounter the following common physical symptoms of PTSD:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches 
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling 

Proving PTSD After a Car Accident

Psychologists and psychiatrists meet the required qualifications to assess individuals and diagnose PTSD.

The mental health professional you see will use established criteria to verify you have PTSD symptoms and that your symptoms occur with enough frequency to support a PTSD diagnosis. Your mental health professional may also identify other mental health issues, such as phobias and depression. 

Licensed mental health professionals have the qualifications needed to develop appropriate treatment plans. Documentation verifying your diagnosis and treatment plan is an essential part of any lawsuit involving a PTSD claim.

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident, Let the Experts and Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Fight for You 

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we ensure you can afford a car accident attorney by offering free consultations and contingency fees. Car accident victims do not need to pay fees to hire us to handle their claims.

A car accident attorney works on paperwork at his desk. Next to him is the scales of justice, a gavel, and a stack of books.

We will investigate your Tampa-area accident. Our team will collect and review evidence to ensure we can establish that your claim meets Florida’s requirements. We will prepare a demand letter and handle negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reach a settlement. We will update you as your case progresses and answer your questions, ensuring you feel confident about your legal claim while focusing on your recovery.

We will help you calculate the economic, non-economic, and punitive damages you can seek after your car accident. We’re here to help you get the justice you deserve after a traumatic car accident. 

Were you injured in a car accident? Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys now.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (2023). 

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C) 627.737. (2023). 

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C) 768.81. (2023). 

Tull, M. (2019). The Risk of PTSD After a Car AccidentWhat is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? (2022).