Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Lawsuit Threshold
I have a client that was driving her taxi when another car, traveling in the opposite direction, crossed over the center line and hit my client’s car head-on. The passenger in the other car, the elderly wife of the driver, died as a result of the accident. My client was left with physical injuries that have healed but psychologically devastating injuries that continue to debilitate her.
Sometimes, the worst injuries are the ones that are not visible. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) results from a psychologically devastating event that continues to affect the person long after the precipitating event is over. Soldiers in battle are often left with PTSD. In New Jersey, the Lawsuit Threshold prevents financial recovery for a person unless it can be demonstrated that a permanent injury, documented by objective medical testing, can be shown. PTSD is not a physical injury so it is not evident with objective medical testing like an MRI or xray. Yet PTSD, if left untreated without therapy or medication, can be just as physically devastating, or more so, than a herniated disc or torn shoulder requiring surgery.
If you’ve been involved in an event that has left you with psychological injuries, do not hesitate to get the help you need from a qualified mental health professional. While my client could not recover money from the other driver’s insurance company for the PTSD that resulted from the crash, she did treat with a mental health professional and is slowly on the road to recovery.