Can you be compensated for PTSD after a Car Accident in Alberta?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) is a stark reality for many individuals, impacting their daily lives. In Canada, 5% of the population has received an official PTSD diagnosis. Another 8% exhibited recent symptoms that showed they were also likely affected by PTSD but simply hadn’t received an official medical diagnosis. 

Car accidents can also be a root cause of PTSD. The trauma experienced in a car accident can change someone’s life forever, and the psychological stress can be hard to process. Understanding PTSD and what such a diagnosis can mean for you as a driver is the first step to figuring out what to do next. 


What It Is

PTSD is a disorder, usually resulting from a frightening or dangerous event or something that gave the individual a severe shock. The disorder most commonly emerges within the first three months after the event but can also take longer than that to develop. 

One of the differences between the type of fear we all experience, and the fear that can lead to PTSD, is time. Usually, fear is a feeling that passes after a relatively short period of time. If fear sticks around longer and is associated with more extreme, lasting symptoms, a PTSD diagnosis is possible. 

PTSD affects everyone differently. When it comes to driving, some may still be able to drive with PTSD but avoid the area of the crash. Others cannot drive a vehicle themselves anymore, some can’t be in a vehicle at all, and others struggle even to approach a vehicle without their PTSD being triggered. 

Avoidance behaviours are generally the next step, which means that the individual will avoid the event that triggers them (for example, walking toward a car) to the extreme. This often leads to individuals withdrawing and living isolated lives, causing additional psychological issues.



Can someone who has suffered a car accident resulting in PTSD be compensated for their trauma? Yes. While each case is unique, there likely are damages for which you can file a personal injury claim. 

Because your quality of life is likely impacted, your ability to work and earn a living could be affected, and costs specific to the traumatic event could come up (such as therapy), there are economic damages you could pursue. 

Other damages that could also be pursued are from symptoms such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, anxiety, and other emotional distress. To receive compensation, the driver must prove that the accident happened due to the other driver’s negligence. A medical professional must also confirm that they believe the PTSD was caused by the car accident. 

Even if the PTSD was not caused directly by the car accident, you can still file a claim. Such an example can be found in the story of a refugee whose PTSD was caused by the war in his home country and became active again after a car accident. 



If you’ve been in a car accident, it is important that you see the appropriate medical specialists. First and foremost, this is for your well-being and receiving the necessary treatment. But additionally, this step is important to have the needed proof later on when you file your claim. 

When you file your claim, your lawyer will contact your insurance company first. Documents that will be sent to your insurance include your victim impact statement, medical and other treatment documents that are tied to the car accident that caused or “revived” your PTSD, statements by any eyewitnesses, as well as police reports. These documents, as well as the letter sent by the lawyer, are called a demand package. 


Knowing exactly what next best steps to take and what to send (and where to send it, by what deadline, etc.) can be unclear, especially when you’re already dealing with the aftermath of an accident. Knowing how to deal with the insurance company and other involved parties can also be intimidating and confusing.

That’s where our team comes in! At McGuiness Law, we offer free, no-obligation consultations to guide you in the right direction. We know how to deal with insurance companies, are well aware of the tricks and loopholes they like to use, and are passionate about ensuring that our clients receive what they are owed. 

If you would like to connect with us, you can use our online contact form or use our toll-free phone number: 1-833-585-4145.