When people get hurt because of someone else’s negligence, it may be necessary to file a third-party claim. This legal process enables the injured to seek compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages. However, some victims may also develop pain and suffering damages, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Is it possible to recover compensation for both your economic damages and pain and suffering during a personal injury claim? If you are suffering from PTSD, how do you prove it is related to the at-fault party and the accident they caused?
At Bernstein & Poisson, we understand the many challenges victims deal with after being injured in a traumatic event. If you are dealing with PTSD in addition to your economic damages, learn whether you may have legal options for recovering compensation from the at-fault party. Contact our trusted law firm today for a completely free case review.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD is a disorder many people experience after being involved in a traumatic incident. This type of psychological condition can be short-lived, or it could last for months, years, or longer.
What makes PTSD so challenging to treat is that, initially, the victim may not realize anything is wrong. Sometimes, the onset of PTSD is immediate. In other cases, the symptoms could be delayed for months or longer after the triggering incident occurred.
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What Are Some of the Symptoms of PTSD?
Victims suffering from PTSD often have flashbacks about their accident. Even when they are not facing any danger, they may be constantly reliving the traumatic event, resulting in overwhelming feelings of fear.
PTSD symptoms are recurring and may include flashbacks, nightmares, unexplained angry outbursts or frequent irritability. Victims may also suffer memory loss about the accident, have problems sleeping or lose interest in favorite activities. There are many more symptoms that could indicate PTSD. Left untreated, this disorder can become a chronic, lifelong condition.
Are There Risk Factors for Developing PTSD After an Accident?
People react differently after a traumatic event, so it is not always possible to know who may later suffer from PTSD. That said, there are certain circumstances that may increase the likelihood of an accident victim developing PTSD, such as:
- Previous history of mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression
- Prior experiences of trauma or stress
- Suffering severe, life-altering injuries in the incident
- The victim feared for his or her life during the accident
Accident victims who develop PTSD, depression, anxiety or other mental disorders may require various medical treatments, including focused therapy. When victims do not get the help they need, their symptoms may become much worse. Victims may even become suicidal or turn to drugs, alcohol and other substances to help them cope.
How Do You Prove PTSD in an Injury Claim?
It is difficult for victims to try to prove PTSD was caused by an accident on their own. Having a qualified and knowledgeable attorney handle your case is often your best chance for recovering maximum compensation for these and other damages.
Physical evidence, such as medical bills, helps to prove an injured victim’s economic damages. However, it is considerably harder to prove non-economic damages, such as PTSD. Having a doctor’s diagnosis of PTSD in your medical records can help to link these damages to your accident. However, you will need additional evidence. An attorney knows what evidence is needed to help prove this part of an injury claim.
Documenting Your Injuries and PTSD Symptoms
For instance, your attorney may guide you on how to create a written record of the accident. This documentation should include details about your PTSD, along with other injuries.
For instance, you should state when flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms started occurring. Entries in the journal should also be added regularly and include the date and time. When writing an entry, it is important to be clear, concise and accurate.
Here are some of the details you should include about PTSD and how it is affecting you:
- Details of the symptoms you are suffering
- How PTSD affects your life every day
- Whether PTSD is impacting your ability to work
- The effect of PTSD on your relationships
- What types of therapy you have tried and how these treatments have helped
- Invoices for counseling or other types of therapy
- And more
Be careful not to ramble on in your entries. The purpose of this journal is to help show how PTSD and other injuries caused by the accident are impacting your daily life. Therefore, it is important to always keep in mind that it will be submitted as evidence and read by others, including the at-fault party’s attorney.
Consulting With an Expert Witness
Your attorney may determine it is necessary to consult with an expert witness. For instance, if you suffer from PTSD after an accident, a medical professional with specific knowledge and training on mental disorders may benefit your claim. This expert witness can help to strengthen your claim by explaining more about what PTSD is and how it presents in a victim.
Aggressively Seeking Compensation
A qualified attorney can also help an accident victim suffering from PTSD by aggressively seeking compensation for all their personal injury damages, including:
- Medical costs, such as doctor appointments, surgery and physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
- Lost wages
- Property damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of companionship
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If someone else’s negligence caused you harm, you may be eligible to seek significant compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and even PTSD. There is no reason for you to suffer in silence, hoping your symptoms will go away on their own.
At Bernstein & Poisson, our attorneys are dedicated to helping the injured and have a history of proven results. Our North Las Vegas personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to listen to your concerns, discuss your situation and answer your legal questions.