These are hazardous times. Anyone could be abruptly and seriously injured by a negligent driver, by using a defective consumer product, or because of a property owner’s negligence. If you are a victim in any of these scenarios, arrange at once to speak with a Miami personal injury attorney.
A personal injury case is usually based on a physical injury caused by another person’s negligence.
For example, if a careless motorist injures you in a traffic crash, your neighbor’s aggressive dog bites and injures you, or you slip at a supermarket because the floor was wet and you break a leg, you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses arising from the injury.
What About Psychological Injuries?
Accidents happen all too frequently, but your experience of an accident may differ from what someone else experiences in the same kind of mishap.
One victim of a catastrophic traffic accident, for instance, may suffer nightmares for months or years, while someone else in that accident may suffer no psychological injury whatsoever. Everyone has a different reaction to traumatic events.
But for many people, serious accidents can cause severe psychological and emotional injuries along with physical injuries. If you’ll continue reading, you will learn about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and you will learn what to do if PTSD emerges after an accident.
What is the Definition of PTSD?
If you’ve been injured because someone else was negligent, temporary anger, guilt, and even depression are normal. PTSD, however, isn’t a normal reaction. A diagnosis of PTSD means that your trauma is overwhelming to the degree that your enjoyment of life is severely impaired.
The psychological damage caused by a serious accident can be extensive and damaging. Without counseling and treatment, a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder may endure years of suffering and emotional pain.
On your own, you may “muddle” through or “push” your way through a temporary mild depression, but if PTSD is the diagnosis, you will need a professional’s help. You will also need the reliable legal advice and representation that a Miami personal injury lawyer will provide.
What Legal Options are Available to PTSD Patients?
PTSD sufferers may have difficulty keeping a job or handling their emotions. They may experience sleep difficulties, loss of appetite, or a sudden weight loss. Those who have been physically injured may also feel anger, guilt, depression, anguish, or fear regarding the future.
However, PTSD can remain long after any physical injuries suffered in an accident have healed. PTSD is a serious condition, but to acquire compensation for PTSD, it must be the result of a particular accident that was caused by another party’s negligence.
If you suffer from PTSD because someone else was negligent, you are entitled to compensation under Florida law for psychological as well as physical injuries. With help from a south Florida personal injury attorney, you may be reimbursed for treatment, counseling, and medication costs.
With a personal injury claim, a victim of negligence who becomes unable to work can recover lost wages, and negligence victims are additionally entitled to complete compensation for their pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
What Obstacles Will You Face if You Seek Compensation?
The obvious legal barrier to compensation for PTSD sufferers is proving that their PTSD, while not visible, is nevertheless quite real. If you suffer anxiety, guilt, depression, or sleeping or eating disorders after a serious accident, seek treatment or counseling immediately.
If you have not sought treatment or counseling for PTSD, you will have no documentation or evidence of your injury. Without documentation or evidence, you will not be able to move forward with a personal injury claim.
What is the “Impact” Rule?
In Florida, another barrier to compensation for PTSD sufferers is the “impact” rule. The impact rule requires some type of physical contact in an accident in order to receive compensation for psychological injuries sustained in that accident.
If there are any doubts or questions regarding your PTSD or the way you were injured, discuss the case with your personal injury attorney. Your attorney will review the details of the accident and advise you regarding your legal options.
Your attorney may ask a PTSD expert to testify or offer a statement. Expert witnesses frequently offer their opinions in cases that involve psychological injuries, and psychological experts can explain to jurors the extent and nature of conditions like PTSD.
How are PTSD Claims Settled?
Most personal injury claims in Florida are resolved out-of-court when the lawyers meet privately to negotiate a settlement. In most personal injury cases, a victim doesn’t even have to make a court appearance.
However, if no acceptable settlement offer is forthcoming in out-of-court negotiations and your PTSD claim goes to trial, your lawyer will tell a jury that:
1. A negligent party (the “defendant”) caused the accident that is the reason for your PTSD, and that party should be considered liable for your condition.
2. Florida law entitles you to compensation for your medical and treatment costs arising from your PTSD.
What Steps Should a PTSD Sufferer Take?
If you are suffering with PTSD or any other psychological injury after an accident, take these steps:
1. Locate a counselor you are comfortable with. It always helps to talk with someone.
2. Don’t miss any treatment or counseling appointments. Follow your doctor’s orders.
3. Take your prescriptions. You’ll probably need them only temporarily.
4. Exercise. Stay active. Try to maintain a balanced, reasonable diet.
You Pay No Attorney’s Fee Until You Are Compensated
Still another barrier to compensation for PTSD sufferers in Florida is the state’s 14-day rule for traffic accidents. After a traffic accident in this state, you must undergo a medical examination within the first fourteen days, or you will not be compensated.
After any accident, have a medical examination at once. Then, if you were injured because another party was negligent, schedule a legal consultation with a Miami personal injury attorney who will explain how the law applies in your own situation.
Your first legal consultation is provided with no cost or obligation. If you and your attorney agree to take legal action, you pay no attorney’s fee unless and until you receive compensation.
If another person’s negligence is the reason why you are suffering with PTSD, obtain the medical attention you need, obtain the counseling and treatment you need, and get the legal help you need. The victims of negligence have the right to compensation and to justice.