PTSD and a traffic accident


Some people are still with shocks even after time passes since a traffic accident happened, and the shocks can still interfere with their social and daily life. That is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As well as physical injuries, if traffic accident victims suffer PTSD by the traffic accident, the at-fault party has to compensate for the damages. In this regard, the following matters often become issues between a victim and an at-fault party in a settlement phase.

  • Is the victim's symptom PTSD from a traffic accident?
  • Can the PTSD symptom be regarded as Residual Disability?
  • The patient's Lost Labor Capacity

In this article, let's take a closer look at these three issues.

Is the victim's symptom PTSD from a traffic accident?

American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as follows: "Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault." If PTSD occurs by a traffic accident, patients sometimes cannot go out because of the scare of cars or cannot move because of the brain freeze when seeing cars. For making insurance companies, GIROJ or court admit the symptom as PTSD coming from traffic accidents, traffic accident victims have to objectively prove the symptom itself, and the relation between the accident and symptom. About how to prove it, see Tips for auto injury treatment.

Can PTSD be regarded as a Residual Disability?

To get consolation money for PTSD, getting an acknowledgment of Residual Disability by CALI(Jibaiseki) is almost a must. If the PTSD is admitted as Residual Disability by GIROJ, the consolation money for Residual Disability newly becomes subject for compensation, in addition to consolation money for commuting hospitals.

CALI (Jibaiseki) often admits PTSD as 14th grade of Nervous symptoms in affected parts. However, 14th grade is too low, considering the obstacle the patients have in their daily life. Therefore, many of the PTSD patients decide to bring the case to the court. But it's still difficult for victims to make the court admit the wishing grade of Residual Disability because the court has not established PTSD's standard of compensation. However, it's worth noting that in one precedent, a patient with PTSD was granted with 7th grade of Residual Disability. (See the table of the grade of Residual Disability.)

Lost labor capacity

Lost labor capacity of traffic accident victims is one of the critical issues when it comes to compensation. Unlike other physical injuries, PTSD patients' lost labor capacity is difficult to calculate. The following is one precedent in which PTSD was admitted as a Residual Disability.

・After one patient's PTSD symptom was stabilized, for the first five years, lost labor capacity was admitted as 40%, which is categorized between 8th grade and 9th grade of residual disability. For the second five years, the symptom was categorized as 11th grade, and for the last five years, it was categorized as 14th grade.

As you can see from the above case, the lost labor capacity of PTSD generally recognized to gradually change according to the time. Since there hasn't been the standard for compensation of PTSD patients, the lost labor capacity depends on each patent's symptoms and the relation between PTSD and the traffic accident. 

Other than PTSD, there is another disorder, CRPS, which is "Localized pain syndromes caused by complex causes." In particular, causalgia and RSD is famous. The former one is associated with severe pain with nerve damage, and the latter one is associated with no nerve damage. Whether it's PTSD, Cowsaugee, or RSD, it's difficult to reach an agreement on compensation between victims and the at-fault party. So, many of the cases don't settle without the help of the court.