Can a Motorcycle Accident Cause PTSD?
Motorcycle accidents happen in a fraction of a second—and may result in serious injuries. In addition to physical injuries sustained in the accident, motorcycle accident victims may also suffer from mental anguish or emotional distress, often in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder—or PTSD.
However, in many cases, insurance companies will try to downplay—or even deny—the existence of PTSD and other non-physical injuries. Instead, the insurance company will claim that the injured accident victim had preexisting mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. In general, insurance companies will try to pin some, or all, of the blame on the motorcycle accident victim.
But the experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group are ready and willing to take on the insurance company and fight for your right to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. Our knowledgeable team of attorneys can investigate your motorcycle accident and mental health treatment, evaluate your personal injury claim, and help maximize the value of your personal injury case.
The Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Thanks to busy Florida roadways and aggressive driving, motorcycle accidents are unfortunately all too common. When motor vehicle drivers engage in aggressive, reckless, or careless driving, they pose serious risks to the motorcycle operators and passengers with whom they share the road. Under Florida law, innocent motorcycle accident victims may hold these reckless and careless drivers liable.
Because motorcycle accidents often occur suddenly and without warning, they can cause serious physical, mental, and emotional injuries. One such mental injury is PTSD. PTSD symptoms that can occur after a motorcycle accident include:
- Recurring nightmares about the motorcycle accident
- Recurring flashbacks about the accident—especially while on the road
- Obsessing about the motorcycle accident
- Severe bouts of anxiety or stress
- Loss of interest in motorcycles or motorcycling
- Avoiding the location where the motorcycle accident occurred
- Inability to remember the accident
- Losing interest in once-favorite activities
- Appearing withdrawn or detached from friends and family
- Sleeplessness and insomnia
- Emotional or violent outbursts
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating on specific tasks
- Feelings of impending doom or gloom
All motor vehicle drivers in Florida owe an affirmative duty to other drivers to operate their vehicles in reasonable, safe, and prudent manners under the circumstances. This duty requires that drivers operate their vehicles carefully, that they drive in accordance with the current weather and traffic conditions, and that they obey all Florida traffic laws and rules of the road while operating their vehicles.
To prove liability for a motorcycle accident, an injured motorcyclist must show that the at-fault driver operated a vehicle in a reckless, careless, or negligent manner—or otherwise breached the applicable standard of care. The injured motorcycle accident victim—and any medical experts—must also demonstrate that the at-fault driver’s breach of the standard of care caused certain injuries and damages.
Proving Mental Injuries and Damages
The presence of mental injuries and damages, including the existence and extent of PTSD, can be difficult to prove, let alone connect to a motorcycle accident. In most Florida motorcycle accident cases, insurance companies and their adjusters will do everything in their powers to limit injured accident victims’ rights to monetary compensation.
In the case of PTSD, an insurance company will usually allege that the accident victim suffered from mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, before the motorcycle accident. The insurance company may also point to previous psychological or psychiatric treatments or mental health counseling to allege that the plaintiff’s PTSD was caused by something other than the motorcycle accident.
Secondly, the injured accident victim will likely need to introduce the expert testimony of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider who can testify about the injured plaintiff’s treatment and the cost thereof. A mental health professional may examine the facts and circumstance surrounding the motorcycle accident and connect the plaintiff’s PTSD symptoms to the accident.
Moreover, if the injured plaintiff suffered from depression, anxiety, or other conditions before the motorcycle accident, an expert mental health provider may allege that the motorcycle accident caused the present onset of PTSD symptoms—or that the motorcycle accident worsened preexisting conditions.
Keep in mind that whenever an injured plaintiff alleges that a motorcycle accident caused PTSD, emotional distress, anxiety, or other mental health condition, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can then explore other potential causes of the plaintiff’s condition—including prior losses of loved ones or drug and alcohol use.
If the injured motorcycle accident victim can connect the PTSD symptoms to the motorcycle accident, however, he may recover monetary compensation in the form of non-economic damages, as well as compensation for future suffering or mental health treatment.
Contact a St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
Physical and mental injuries sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence in a motorcycle accident can be very serious and can potentially last a lifetime.
The knowledgeable and compassionate St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group can review the facts and circumstances of your individual case and can retain the necessary experts to help maximize the monetary damages to which you are entitled. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyer, please call us at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online today
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765