The increasing prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the more tragic consequences of modern warfare. However, military personnel are not the only victims of PTSD. Virtually any type of serious or traumatic accident can leave a victim with PTSD— which transcends the more readily diagnosed cognitive disorders such as depression or anxiety.
At Rutter Mills, a personal injury law firm, we represent accident and injury victims to recover the damages they deserve to compensate for all of their injuries, including psychological damages.
What Kinds of Psychological Injuries Can Be Caused by an Accident?
Psychological injuries frequently occur when an accident victim suffers a severe blow to the head that bruises his or her brain tissue, bursts blood vessels, and injures nerves. Head trauma can lead to:
- flashbacks of the accident or other violent events in the victim’s life;
- loss of appetite and reduced ability to concentrate;
- depression and suicidal thoughts;
- a desire to withdraw from all social interactions and an inability to perform regular personal or occupational tasks;
- sudden panic attacks or bouts of paranoia.
In some situations, psychological injuries do not manifest themselves for weeks or even months. Individuals who have survived serious accidents and other traumatic events should not ignore symptoms of PTSD. Timely compassionate treatment can make a significant difference in over-all mental health.
How Are Psychological Damages Diagnosed?
An MRI scan or other diagnostic tests might show damages to brain tissue, but a thorough examination by a medical doctor and a psychiatrist is often required to fully substantiate psychological injuries. Our Virginia personal injury lawyers often work with experts who can perform these examinations and describe how an accident victim’s personality and their affect– has changed as a result of the accident.
Defense lawyers often attempt to belittle an accident victim’s claims of psychological damage. Victims or survivors should, therefore, retain a knowledgeable attorney who has experience working with brain injury experts.
What Psychological Injury Settlements Can an Accident Victim Seek?
The above settlements are commonly part of the compensation that an accident victim will be awarded for non-economic damages. Unlike the victim’s economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages, which are easy to quantify and verify– non-economic psychological damages are based on the victim’s narrative of their pain and suffering.
Is There a Cap on These Settlements?
There may be a limit on the amount you claim based on the location and type of injury. Virginia currently has a cap on punitive damages, which are designed to punish a party whose conduct was grossly negligent or egregious. Unlike punitive damages, the purpose of PTSD settlements is to compensate someone for actual injuries– notwithstanding the challenge of verifying them.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Psychological Injury Damages?
Settlements are generally paid by insurance companies. They increasingly use formulas and algorithms that compare an accident victim’s circumstances to profiles of similar accidents and then calculate the lowest insurance payout based on that comparison.
The personal injury law firm that you retain to represent you in your accident case should know how to argue against that calculation– and to distinguish your specific psychological injuries to recover the largest available award.
Contact us today at Rutter Mills
We represent accident victims in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area to recover the largest available damages awards– including psychological injuries such as PTSD. Please see our website or call us directly for a complimentary and confidential discussion of your case.
- www.valawyersweekly.com: Psychological Injury Compensable Even Without Risk of Harm. https://valawyersweekly.com/vamedicallaw/2015/05/20/psychological-injury-compensable-even-without-risk-of-harm/
- www.alllaw.com: Emotional Distress Damages in a Personal Injury Case. https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/emotional-distress-damages.html
- www.psychiatrictimes.com: Understanding and Evaluating Mental Damages. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychotic-affective-disorders/understanding-and-evaluating-mental-damages
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