Many accidents are frightening, chaotic, and traumatic for those involved. With or without serious injuries inflicted, a harrowing accident can have a lasting psychological impact on survivors and witnesses. Medically, this is referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can cause emotional distress and pain and suffering long after the accident is over. In Nebraska, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation for PTSD, depending on the circumstance.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can occur when someone experiences, lives through or witnesses a traumatic event. In the past, PTSD was often referred to as shellshock and generally reserved for soldiers who had engaged in combat in active war zones. However, many different types of incidents can cause PTSD in a survivor, including car accidents, serious falls, dog attacks, workplace disasters, fires and burn injuries, explosions, and witnessing the death of a loved one. The trauma experienced in an accident can have a lasting emotional and psychological effect on victims.
How Do You Know if You Have PTSD?
The psychological condition of PTSD often does not show immediate signs. Unlike a physical injury, PTSD does not cause bleeding, bruising or swelling that you can see. It is an invisible condition that often appears later, in the days or weeks following a traumatic accident. If you experienced fear or witnessed something highly traumatic in an accident, you may notice the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder afterward. PTSD symptoms can include:
- Nightmares or trouble sleeping
- Moderate to severe anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- New phobias
- Avoidance of situations that remind you of the accident
- Sudden anger or emotional outbursts
- Suicidal thoughts
PTSD can be difficult to diagnose. If you notice any of these issues after surviving or witnessing an accident in Nebraska, visit a mental health professional. Describe what you are experiencing. Obtaining an official diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from a psychiatrist or psychologist can make it easier to get the help that you need to recover, as well as to file a claim for PTSD with the civil courts.
Can You Be Awarded Compensation for PTSD After an Accident?
If you suffer PTSD after a car crash or another accident in Nebraska, you can pursue financial compensation for this intangible loss. However, these claims are historically difficult to prove. You generally must have a professional diagnose you with PTSD to qualify for compensation. You or your lawyer must also prove that the accident directly caused or contributed to your development of PTSD. It is easier to collect financial compensation for PTSD if you also suffered physical injuries in the accident, rather than filing a claim for pain and suffering alone.
Calculating the value of PTSD in a personal injury case is also difficult. Nebraska currently only has a cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, of $2.25 million. Putting a price on an intangible loss that has impacted you in various ways – and can last for weeks, months or life – may require evidence such as an injury journal, medical records, testimony from you and your loved ones, and testimony from a psychiatrist or expert. Qualified experts who can corroborate your PTSD diagnosis and how it affects your life can help you prove a claim.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Working with an Omaha personal injury lawyer who is experienced in developing PTSD claims can make it easier to recover fair and full financial compensation for this type of psychological harm. Your lawyer can help you obtain and present evidence proving post-traumatic stress disorder and its connection to your recent accident. Your lawyer can also accurately evaluate the worth of your claim and demand maximum financial compensation from one or more defendants. For more information about PTSD in a personal injury lawsuit, contact Knowles Law Firm for a free consultation.