Personal injury cases are usually based on the physical injuries that one person suffers because a second person was negligent in a traffic collision or in some other accident scenario. Serious accidents, however, can also cause real and significant psychological injuries.
Can you be compensated for the mental injuries as well as the physical injuries you sustain in an accident caused by another person’s negligence? In some cases, you can. Keep reading – especially if you have been injured by negligence.
This will be a brief, general look at personal injury law and psychological injuries, but if you are dealing with a specific mental health issue after an accident, you should consult – as quickly as possible – with an injury attorney regarding your own situation.
WHO SUFFERS PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES?
A traffic accident, for example, might be an emotionally traumatic experience for one person, while someone else in the same situation might walk from the crash scene without any emotional changes or difficulties.
The physical indications of personal injuries are usually objectively present and easily observable. However, many of the victims who suffer physical injuries may also suffer from less-obvious psychological injuries that are directly linked to those physical injuries.
Attorney David W. Lipcon adds, “…besides feeling the obvious physical pain that comes from an injury and dealing with that, injured people often feel a sense of inadequacy and failure as they can no longer do the things that they used to do for their family and loved ones. They become angry with themselves which often leads to depression. This affects relationships around them and can spiral into something much worse. Most of my clients who are seriously injured seek some counseling and guidance.”
WHAT ARE THE OUTWARD SIGNS OF A PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY?
Psychological injuries can take on many forms. Victims may have difficulty keeping a job, maintaining personal relationships, or handling their emotions. Sometimes a formerly self-reliant person must rely on others for personal care.
For some accident victims, emotional trauma may not surface for days or even weeks after a serious accident. Someone who has been permanently disabled may experience depression as the reality of the new life takes hold.
Others may suffer fear, mental anguish, or even vivid nightmares.
Some individuals suffer physically from psychological injuries. They may experience difficulty sleeping, a loss of appetite, a drastic and sudden change in weight, and other physical signs of mental difficulties.
Psychological injuries may result in post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and a number of other serious psychological conditions.
Psychological injuries can also linger long after the victim has recovered from the physical injuries suffered in the original accident that caused both kinds of injuries.
WHAT IS PTSD?
The victims of negligence who struggle with the most severe psychological trauma after a serious accident may be suffering from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unlike guilt, anger, or even mild temporary depression, PTSD is not a “normal” response to a serious accident. A PTSD diagnosis means that the trauma is so powerful that it may genuinely damage your ability to live and enjoy your life.
Research tells us that PTSD is typically linked to only the most catastrophic accidents – the accidents that cause life-threatening or permanently disabling injuries.
Typically, post-accident trauma fades over time, but when it doesn’t, the proper treatment and counseling for PTSD must be sought.
CAN YOU BE COMPENSATED FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES?
The victims of negligence are entitled by law to damages for both physical injuries and psychological injuries.
Damages for psychological injuries may include compensation for treatment, counseling, and prescription medication costs.
Victims may recover lost wages when their accidents have kept them from work, and they’re also entitled to damages for their personal pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
WHAT WILL BE REQUIRED IF YOU SEEK COMPENSATION?
However, one problem faced by the victims of psychological injuries is the difficulty of proving these injuries. If you have not sought any treatment or counseling, you’ll have nothing documented that you can show to a jury.
After an accident caused by another person’s negligence, if you believe that you are dealing with any mental or psychological issues as a result, seek counseling at once. Counseling resources are abundantly available in South Florida in both the public and private sectors.
Establishing a causal link between your accident and the mental injury you sustained can help as you seek the maximum available damages for your personal injury or injuries.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES?
If you are struggling with psychological difficulties after an accident of any kind:
1. Seek counseling: Talking it out is almost always helpful.
2. Don’t miss any medical appointments and follow your doctor’s orders.
3. Exercise: Stay active, and ask your physician if physical therapy may help.
4. Take your medicines: For most victims, the medications are temporary.
5. Resume your life – your normal routines and activities – as soon as you are able.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE, WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
If another person’s negligent behavior causes an accident, and you are injured physically and/or psychologically, you can take legal action to obtain compensation.
If your injury claim cannot be resolved out of court by negotiating with the negligent party (and usually with his or her insurance company), a personal injury lawyer will take your claim to trial and fight aggressively in court for the compensation you need and deserve. If the accident happened in California, a Modesto car accident attorney may be able to help.
WHAT IS FLORIDA’S 14-DAY RULE?
Injury victims in Florida traffic accidents need to know they that must seek medical attention within fourteen days of the traffic accident. Florida’s “14-day rule” will apply.
Under Florida law, the 14-day rule specifies that if you are injured in traffic and you are not examined by a healthcare provider within 14 days, you will not be allowed to bring legal action and you will not qualify to be compensated.
The rule applies only to injuries arising from traffic accidents, but if you are injured in any type of accident in south Florida, don’t wait 14 days. Seek medical attention immediately.
HOW CAN AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP?
Then promptly put your case in the hands of an experienced Miami personal injury attorney. It won’t cost you anything to learn more about your rights and your legal standing as an accident victim.
Your personal injury attorney will review your case for free and negotiate on your behalf for the settlement amount you need. This means that a trained and experienced negotiator is handling your case while you focus on regaining your health, and it’s how most injury claims are settled.
You won’t pay any legal fees until you receive your settlement (or your damage award if your case requires a trial).
A psychological injury can be difficult to deal with or prove. It’s the kind of injury that, untreated, can linger for years.
If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence in south Florida, get the medical help you need immediately, and then get the legal help that you’ll need as quickly as possible. It’s your health, your future – and your right.