What Injury Victims Need to Know About Including PTSD in a Claim for Compensation
Personal injury crashes can be scary experiences that leave victims emotionally scarred. In some cases, victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which can seriously interfere with their life.
Some people who suffer from PTSD have flashbacks in which they relive the crash. Others suffer from nightmares or mood swings. Certain things they hear or see can trigger a flood of emotions. For example, car crash victims who see the same type of car that crashed into theirs may have panic attacks. They may avoid the stretch of road where their crash happened.
If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD after an accident caused by another’s negligence, give TSR Injury Law a call to discuss possible legal options. Our experienced Bloomington personal injury attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for the cost of counseling and other medical interventions.
An initial consultation to discuss legal options is free and comes with no obligation to hire our services.
How is PTSD Diagnosed?
People may develop symptoms of PTSD after an event that involves an actual or possible threat of death, serious injury or violence. While many people with PTSD directly experienced the event, people who witnessed an event happening to others may also develop PTSD.
First responders may develop PTSD because they are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events. You could even develop PTSD from learning someone close to you was involved in a traumatic event.
The first thing doctors will do if you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD is perform a physical exam. It is possible there is an underlying medical problem causing PTSD symptoms. If there is no underlying physical cause, doctors may recommend a psychological evaluation, in which you discuss your symptoms and the traumatic event they may be related to.
Doctors use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to determine if someone is suffering from PTSD.
Without a diagnosis from a licensed medical professional, there is basically no chance of recovering compensation for it. Even if doctors diagnose you and say your symptoms are related to the accident, the insurance company may try to claim otherwise. PTSD cannot be seen like a broken bone. Proving it is harder than a normal injury. It is even more difficult if there is a significant gap in time between the crash and when you sought treatment or were diagnosed.
Make sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible and inform your doctor if you begin experiencing PTSD symptoms. You want to take practical steps of healing and at the same time creating a strong link between the crash and your psychological issues.
You should discuss things with a licensed attorney, as he or she should be able to advise you on how to document your symptoms and how they affect you every day. This can be an essential part of building a strong case for the full value of your damages.
For example, your attorney may recommend keeping a daily or weekly journal documenting how PTSD symptoms are affecting your life. He or she can explain how to make sure these notes are protected by attorney-client privilege.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
There are various symptoms that may indicate PTSD caused by an injury accident. One of the symptoms people often think of is flashbacks. A flashback occurs when the victim relives the traumatic event in his or her mind or through nightmares.
Flashbacks could be triggered by things that remind the victim of the accident, such as similar situations, visual or auditory cues, or hearing someone else describe a situation like theirs. When a flashback is happening, the victim may feel like the trauma is happening all over again.
Other symptoms of PTSD may include:
Trouble Controlling Emotions
Victims may go into a panic when they are reminded of the trauma. They may be increasingly irritable or aggressive. They get upset easily or are easily startled. This emotional instability may lead to victims being extremely alert or hypervigilant for things that might trigger their anxiety.
Victims may feel the best way to avoid emotional pain, flashbacks or other symptoms is to simply stay away from other people and isolate themselves. While this may seem extreme, it may seem acceptable to those with PTSD because it is so difficult to deal with PTSD symptoms. Staying away from other people may offer them some amount of peace.
Antisocial behavior could be categorized under avoidance. This refers to avoiding emotions because they are too painful. For example, victims may begin feeling emotionally or physically numb. Victims may feel like they are unable to express affection. They may self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs.
Victims often feel like they must stay busy to avoid the possibility of triggering their PTSD. They may even be self-destructive or reckless to avoid their PTSD.
Make sure to inform your doctors about the symptoms you are experiencing so they can properly treat you and also document them. This can go a long way toward healing your mind, validating your claim and clarifying the value of your damages.
Treatment for PTSD
PTSD is primarily treated through psychotherapy, with the goal of teaching victims healthy ways to manage symptoms and changing their perceptions of themselves and their world. Your doctor may also seek to treat problems associated with your PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, or alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes doctors may want to use medication to treat these things, in addition to counseling sessions with a licensed therapist.
There are different types of psychotherapy, including cognitive therapy and exposure therapy. The purpose of cognitive therapy is to help you recognize negative thoughts or patterns of thinking that make PTSD worse.
Exposure therapy involves victims facing situations and memories that scare them. The goal is to help victims learn to cope with these things. Exposure therapy is often used on victims who are dealing with flashbacks and nightmares.
Treatment may last months or longer, which means it can be quite expensive. However, you may be able to claim copays, medication and other treatment costs in your bodily injury claim. It is important to carefully document all the expenses related to your treatment so you can claim them.
The experienced attorneys at TSR Injury Law have helped many victims calculate the cost of ongoing treatment and other ongoing expenses. We are prepared to consult medical experts to evaluate your situation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with TSR Injury Law Today
Our firm is here to answer your legal questions and guide you through the legal process, pursuing maximum compensation for damages. You should strongly consider giving our firm a call to schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help you.
For more than 20 years, we have been helping injury victims in Minnesota and have obtained millions on behalf of our clients. There are no upfront fees and no fees while we work on your case.
We are ready to take your call. TSR Injury Law: (612) TSR-TIME.