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Pursuing Compensation for PTSD from an Accident

Seth Harris

Last modified on October 1, 2023

Pursuing Compensation for PTSD from an Accident

A motor vehicle accident can be a life-threatening experience. Even if you survive a crash, feelings of fear and anxiety can remain with you for a long time after. Call us to discuss seeking compensation for PTSD if those feelings of fear and anxiety are harming you.

Some anxiety after a traumatic experience is normal. However, excessive symptoms of worry or fear may be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can develop this condition after a car crash, motorcycle crash, truck collision, pedestrian accident, or similar experience.

Do you think you might have PTSD from a car accident in NYC caused by someone else? You may be eligible for compensation if so. Along with seeking compensation for physical injuries, New Yorkers often have the right to seek compensation for mental health issues.

Showing that you deserve compensation for PTSD after an NYC auto wreck is a complex process. The NYC personal injury lawyers at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb can help simplify the process by taking over your case so you don’t have to try to file a claim to pursue the compensation you need while you’re focused on healing.

What Is PTSD?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a person may experience fight-or-flight symptoms during a traumatic experience. They may continue to experience these symptoms in the immediate aftermath of such an experience. This is not only normal but arguably healthy. A person’s natural fight-or-flight response kicks in to protect them in dangerous situations.

However, the symptoms of this response may linger long after the danger is gone. Someone who’s gone through a traumatic experience may have PTSD when this occurs.

Developing PTSD after a vehicle accident isn’t uncommon. A study published in the journal Medicine found that about 22.25% of road traffic accident victims develop PTSD.

How Do You Know If You Have PTSD from Your Accident?

According to NIMH, signs and symptoms of PTSD fall into these categories:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms
  • Reactivity and arousal symptoms
  • Avoidance symptoms
  • Mood and cognition symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks of a traumatic event
  • Frequent intrusive memories and/or dreams of a traumatic event
  • Troubling thoughts in general
  • Physical symptoms of stress, such as sweating or a racing heart

Reactivity and arousal symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Being on edge or on guard
  • Being unable to fall or stay asleep
  • Being prone to outbursts or being irritable
  • Engaging in potentially dangerous behaviors
  • Having an inability to concentrate
  • Having a heightened startle response

Avoidance symptoms include:

  • Consciously trying to avoid any potential external reminders of a traumatic experience (such as the location where the crash occurred)
  • Trying to avoid feelings and thoughts about the traumatic experience
  • Limiting or refusing to drive

Mood and cognition symptoms someone might experience if they have PTSD from a car accident include:

  • Having a sense of social isolation
  • Having difficulty remembering aspects of a traumatic experience
  • Having negative thoughts about the world or themselves
  • Blaming themselves or others
  • Having negative emotions that linger for a long time
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Inability to muster positive emotions

How Do You Prove You Have PTSD After an NYC Car Crash?

A mental health professional may diagnose you with PTSD if you have:

  • At least one symptom from the re-experiencing symptoms category
  • At least two symptoms from the reactivity and arousal category
  • At least one symptom from the avoidance category
  • At least two symptoms from the mood and cognition category

Receiving an official PTSD diagnosis provides you with the evidence you may need to seek compensation accordingly.

Can You Sue for PTSD After an Accident in NYC?

Pursuing Compensation for PTSD from an AccidentNew York is a no-fault car crash state. All motorists in New York must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

PIP coverage compensates drivers for certain financial losses resulting from motor vehicle collisions, including medical treatment and lost wages up to $2,000 per month, for 80 percent of your wages.

PIP coverage ensures a person who sustains injuries in a motor vehicle wreck can receive compensation quickly. When an injured person files a claim with their insurance company, they don’t have to prove negligence. The insurance company should pay them regardless of whether someone else caused their collision.

If your treatment costs are significant, your PIP coverage might not be sufficient to fully compensate you for those losses after a motor vehicle accident. If another party caused your crash, you may have other options.

According to the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), stepping outside the no-fault system is sometimes possible. You may file a claim or lawsuit against a liable party after a car crash in New York if:

  • you sustained economic losses greater than $50,000 (the minimum amount of PIP coverage) or
  • you sustained a serious injury

Most injuries that qualify as serious in New York are physical injuries. However, an impairment may be serious if it prevents you from engaging in typical daily activities for at least 90 days. That 90-day period must fall within the 180 days immediately after your crash. You must also provide medical documentation of your impairment.

You might have grounds to file a claim against a negligent party if your PTSD meets these criteria. Speak with an NYC personal injury lawyer for more information about your options.

How Much Compensation Can I Get for PTSD Sustained in an Accident?

Many factors can influence how much compensation you may be eligible to receive after a motor vehicle crash. If you’ve developed PTSD from a car accident, the cost of treatment may be one such factor. Loss of income is another potential factor if your condition prevents you from working. You may even be eligible to receive compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering. The circumstances of your crash and the severity of your injuries and PTSD have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you’ll be entitled to.

It’s impossible to say exactly how much compensation you may receive for PTSD without knowing more about your condition. At Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb, we’ll review your car accident case details and fight for the compensation you deserve. Learn more by calling or contacting us online for a free case evaluation today.

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A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
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A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

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00:47 22 Jun 24
I contacted Burns and Harris, this company which is renamed now, about two years ago about my injury. I even had an in person meeting with Stephen LaRocca.I had to chase him for a year just to sign something, in the end I just gave up. Pretty appalling company and even worse than people have written. I can only imagine the people who haven’t taken the time to write your review. Don’t bother with them.
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My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
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Horrible people. I lost complete confidence in this firm. Attorneys dragged their feet for 4 years and my mom died before a settlement could be reached. I advised them several times that my mom was sick to put fire under their feet but the effort was to no avail.
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I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
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Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
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I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
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I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
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My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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