Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2022
Traumatic brain injuries are highly complex in the damage that they cause to the brain and the effects on the victim. One potential complication associated with multiple brain injuries is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. CTE describes brain degeneration caused by repeated brain injuries or trauma to the head. It is a rare disorder that is still not fully understood.
About Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive brain disease that can be fatal. “Chronic” means ongoing and long-lasting rather than an acute (short-term) injury. “Traumatic” means an injury caused by a source of external trauma, such as a bump or blow to the head. “Encephalopathy” refers to damage or disease that affects the brain.
CTE is believed to be caused by repeated concussions or other injuries to the brain, such as head trauma among football players or military veterans. It is diagnosed using scans of the brain and mental status testing to search for signs of brain degeneration. Specifically, researchers look for a pattern of abnormal protein (tau) buildup that is unique to CTE in the tissues surrounding the blood vessels.
What Causes CTE?
CTE is not an immediate consequence of a traumatic brain injury. It is a complex type of brain damage or degeneration that comes from repeated or multiple head injuries over time – sometimes, decades. While there is no minimum number of head injuries that is necessary to cause CTE, research suggests that it is more common among individuals with several concussions or brain injuries rather than only one or two. Someone in a profession where repeated head and brain injuries are common is at the highest risk of developing CTE.
What Are the Symptoms of CTE?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy may be hidden, with no discernable symptoms. For this reason, diagnoses during a victim’s lifetime are rare. However, it is possible for CTE to show symptoms in a patient, such as mood and personality changes, aggressive outbursts, trouble with impulse control, cognitive changes and challenges, trouble thinking or concentrating, memory loss, difficulty with executive function, behavioral problems, and motor function disabilities.
Can CTE Cause Dementia?
CTE has been associated with Parkinson’s disease and other motor neuron diseases. It has also been connected to dementia. Studies have shown that people who suffer multiple brain injuries are around two to four times more likely to develop dementia later in life. Research suggests that the higher the number of brain injuries sustained, the higher the odds are of the victim eventually developing dementia. Although more research is needed, studies are beginning to show that with better imaging techniques, CTE can be differentiated from Alzheimer’s disease in a patient with dementia.
What Are the Stages of CTE?
Scientists believe there are two forms of CTE. One develops early in life, between the late 20s and early 30s. This form may be associated with mental health issues and behavioral problems, such as aggression and depression. The second form of CTE develops later in life, around the age of 60. This type is thought to progress into dementia and other memory and cognitive problems for the victim.
Is CTE Curable?
There is no known cure or treatment for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. However, CTE may be preventable if someone who is at risk of developing this disease becomes aware of the risk and stops engaging in any activity that puts him or her at risk of further brain injury. Appropriately treating existing brain injuries and avoiding second or subsequent brain injuries can potentially prevent CTE.
Can You File a Lawsuit for CTE?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with CTE, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your related medical bills, lost wages and lost quality of life through a brain injury lawsuit. This might be available if one or more parties should have prevented the victim’s brain injuries, such as a negligent sports coach. Learn more about brain injury claims during a free case consultation at Knowles Law Firm. Contact us today.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
If you strike a parked car in Nebraska, you have a legal obligation to stop at the scene of the collision and leave your information. Fleeing the scene can lead to fines and even criminal penalties for a hit-and-run. Here are the steps that you should take to fulfill your responsibilities – and protect your legal rights – as a driver after this type of car accident.
All drivers in Nebraska have an obligation to pull over at the scene of a car accident. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-696, the driver of any vehicle that is involved in an accident upon a public highway, private road or private drive that results in damage to property must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident. This includes if you hit a parked car.
If you panicked after hitting a parked car and left, return to the scene of the accident as soon as possible to avoid a hit-and-run charge. Being charged with this crime can result in much more serious penalties. In Nebraska, a hit-and-run conviction involving property damage is a class 2 misdemeanor that can result in the loss of your driver’s license for up to one year.
Leave Your Information
State law also requires a driver who has been involved in a car accident to give his or her name, address, telephone number and driver’s license number to the owner or driver of the vehicle that was struck. Section 2 of the law states that if an accident results in damage to an unintended vehicle or property, the driver has a duty to leave a written notice in a conspicuous place in or on the unattended vehicle with this information.
Report the Accident
The third obligation that you have after hitting a parked car in Nebraska is to report the collision to an appropriate peace officer. The law requires that you report the accident “without unnecessary delay.” This means that you should call your local police department’s non-emergency phone number as soon as possible after the accident to report the crash. If someone is injured or it is an emergency, call 911. The peace officer will give you further instructions, such as if you need to remain at the scene or if you are free to leave after you place your note.
Submit a Report to the Department of Transportation
If law enforcement does not investigate your car accident, you have 10 days from the date of the crash to complete a Driver’s Motor Vehicle Crash Report and send it to the Department of Transportation if it is classified as a reportable crash. A reportable crash in Nebraska causes injury, death, or $1,500 or more in property damage to any one person, including your own vehicle. If the police do investigate your accident, they will submit a crash report for you.
Document the Accident
Whether the car accident was major or minor, it is important to document as much about the crash as you can before leaving the scene. Accident documentation can help you later during the car insurance claims process or if a lawsuit is brought against you by the other driver. Document the accident in the following ways:
- Take pictures and record video at the crash scene. Be sure to capture any property damage.
- Look around for traffic or surveillance cameras to see if there is footage of the crash.
- Talk to eyewitnesses and get their information to use later.
- Request a copy of the Investigator’s Motor Vehicle Crash Report, if applicable.
- If you have to go to a hospital for any injuries, keep copies of your medical records.
- Keep copies of all communications between you and your insurance company.
Do not admit fault for the accident or apologize. Wait for the police or an insurance company to investigate how the accident happened, instead. There may be an external factor that you don’t know about, such as a poorly designed parking lot or dangerous road conditions. Finally, consult with a car accident attorney in Omaha if you need assistance with this type of car accident claim.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
Every day in Omaha, hundreds of government vehicles traverse public roads and highways. These vehicles include law enforcement cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and vehicles driven by government agents. If you get into a car accident with one of these government vehicles, you may not know who is responsible for paying for the crash. Claims against the government look different in Nebraska than general car accident claims. Here’s what you need to know.
Sovereign Immunity Protects Government Agencies From Liability
Sovereign immunity is a federal legal doctrine that states that the government cannot be sued without its consent. This rule applies to the federal and state government, but not the municipal government. It stems from the British common law doctrine that was originally based on the belief that the King could do no wrong. Governments are allowed to waive sovereign immunity in some scenarios, however.
Nebraska’s State Tort Claims Act Removes Some Sovereign Immunity
Nebraska, like many states, created a State Tort Claims Act that states if and when a plaintiff can sue the government. The Tort Claims Act says that the state government shall not be liable for the torts (acts of wrongdoing) of its agents, employees or officers, and no lawsuit shall be maintained against the state except to the extent provided by the Act. It goes on to say that certain claims are exempt from the Act, meaning they can be brought. These include claims based upon:
- An act or omission of an employee of the state
- The exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty
- Assault, battery, false imprisonment, libel, and slander, among others
- Misrepresentation or deceit
- The malfunction, destruction, or unauthorized removal of any traffic sign or signal (unless it is corrected by the government within a reasonable time)
According to Section 81-8,215.01 of the State Tort Claims Act, if vehicular pursuit by a law enforcement officer results in death, injury or property damage to an innocent third party, and the accident is caused by the action of the law enforcement officer, lawsuits are permitted. This law states that damages (financial compensation) will be paid to the victim by the state that employs the officer, within certain parameters.
Government Drivers Have a Duty of Care
Drivers of government vehicles have a duty to exercise reasonable care. This means they must behave in a way that prudent drivers would in the same or similar circumstances. While they abide by a different set of traffic laws while on duty, they must still follow certain rules and protocols to prevent motor vehicle collisions. If the driver of a government vehicle breaches or violates the duty of care, crash victims have the right to file a lawsuit against the government agency that employs the driver.
There Are Special Rules for Filing a Claim Under the Tort Claims Act
If you wish to file a claim after getting into a car accident with a government vehicle, start by consulting with a car accident attorney in Omaha so that you know what to expect. These claims can be complicated. The claim begins with the correct form being filed with State Risk Management. If your car accident claim is valued at $5,000 or less, the State Risk Manager must approve it. If it is worth between $5,000 and $50,001, it must be approved by the State Claims Board. If it is worth more than $50,001, it must be approved by Nebraska State Legislature.
If the party with jurisdiction over your claim approves, you or your lawyer will enter into negotiations for a car accident settlement. If the claim is not approved, you can file a lawsuit in court. The court you will file with is the District Court, as this has jurisdiction over claims under the Tort Claims Act. A car accident attorney can help you navigate the unique laws surrounding government vehicle car accidents in Nebraska.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
The most frequently diagnosed type of traumatic brain injury in Nebraska is a concussion. A concussion is a brain injury that arises out of trauma to the head, such as a blunt force impact. Although most people imagine mild brain injuries when they think of concussions, this injury can cause serious symptoms and result in an altered mental state for many months. In addition, suffering multiple concussions can put a patient at an increased risk of brain diseases in the future.
Post-concussion syndrome, also known as a post-concussive syndrome, is used to describe a case where the symptoms of a concussion last longer than the normal expected recovery period. Studies have shown that risk factors for developing post-concussion syndrome may include older age and being female. The symptoms often associated with the post-concussion syndrome are:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Cognitive changes
Most patients who are diagnosed with concussions heal within the first three months. If a victim notices symptoms of a concussion that last longer than three months, he or she may have post-concussion syndrome. This may last a year or more, although there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms.
Second-impact syndrome is when a second concussion occurs while the patient has not yet recovered from the first concussion. It can cause rapid swelling in the brain shortly after the second concussion. While it is rare, when it occurs, the second-impact syndrome can be fatal. The symptoms of the second-impact syndrome include headache, disorientation, vomiting, loss of consciousness, coma, and respiratory failure. It is important to allow a concussion to fully heal before performing any activities that could put you at risk of a second concussion, such as playing football.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a progressive brain disease that is caused by suffering multiple concussions. The average number of concussions connected to the development of CTE is 17, making it most common among professional football players. CTE is categorized by brain degeneration and can result in memory loss, including long-term amnesia due to brain damage caused by concussions.
CTE can also cause changes in the victim’s personality, which may not appear for years after the initial brain injury. These changes can include irritability, aggression or outbursts, anxiety, loss of impulse control, trouble multitasking, depression, apathy, and suicidal tendencies. There is currently no treatment available for CTE, but it can be prevented by avoiding subsequent concussions after the first brain injury.
Studies have shown that suffering concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries can put a patient at an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that impacts movement. It can result in uncontrollable or involuntary shaking, tremors, stiffness, and rigidity that worsens over time. There is currently no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. Although there does seem to be a connection, developing Parkinson’s is a rare occurrence in patients with concussions.
Alzheimer’s disease is another progressive brain disease that is connected to traumatic brain injuries. Depending on the severity of a concussion, the injury could increase the patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia later in life due to damage to the cells of the brain. Repeated mild concussions can also increase the risk of dementia in older age.
Protect Your Future as a Brain Injury Survivor
While these long-term effects are not a guarantee for someone with a concussion, it is important to be aware of the potential consequences of being diagnosed with this brain injury. If you or a loved one suffers a concussion due to someone else’s negligence in Omaha, Nebraska, contact the Omaha brain injury lawyers at Knowles Law Firm to find out how we can help you seek fair financial compensation for future foreseeable damage. We can help you protect your future.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
If you get involved in a car accident while you are not wearing a seat belt, this could negatively affect your car insurance claim in Nebraska. It is important not to admit fault for your car accident or answer any questions about your injuries until you’ve spoken to a car accident lawyer in Omaha. A lawyer can help you protect your rights and obtain fair financial compensation even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt. Learn more about how Nebraska law handles these types of cases.
Are Seat Belts Mandatory in Nebraska?
Like most states, Nebraska has a universal law that requires all motor vehicle drivers and most occupants to wear seat belts (referred to as occupant protection systems). Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,270 states that no driver shall operate a motor vehicle upon a highway or street in the state unless he or she – and each front-seat occupant – are wearing occupant protection systems. Seat belts must be worn properly across the lap and chest and be correctly adjusted and fastened.
Children under the age of six must use child safety systems at all times while in a motor vehicle, whether they are in the front or back seat. The only exceptions to the seat belt law in Nebraska are people with written verifications from physicians that they are unable to wear seat belts for medical reasons, certain employees of the United States Postal Service, and members of emergency medical services who are involved in patient care. Failing to buckle up in Nebraska can result in a $25 fine for each infraction.
Is the Seat Belt Defense Allowed in Nebraska?
The seat belt defense is a strategy that can be used by a defendant in a car accident case if state law permits. It is an argument that the defendant should be less liable (financially responsible) for the plaintiff’s injuries because he or she was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The seat belt defense typically only applies in cases where the argument can be made that the plaintiff’s injuries would not exist or be as severe if the plaintiff had been wearing a seat belt. If the injury being claimed could not have reasonably been prevented by a seat belt, a defendant generally cannot use the seat belt defense.
Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,273 prohibits the “admissibility of evidence that a person was not wearing an occupant protection system or three-point safety belt system in regard to the issue of liability or proximate cause.” This means that, in Nebraska, the failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used as a reason for a defendant to escape liability for a car accident altogether.
However, the law continues to say that the failure to wear a seat belt may be admissible as evidence concerning mitigation of damages. In other words, the seat belt defense could reduce the defendant’s percentage of liability – and, by extension, the plaintiff’s financial recovery.
Could Not Wearing a Seat Belt Reduce My Financial Recovery?
Yes. Under Nebraska’s seat belt defense law, a plaintiff’s financial recovery for damages can be reduced by a maximum of 5 percent if there is evidence that that person was not wearing a seat belt or three-point safety system at the time of the accident. For example, if you are awarded $20,000 for your car accident claim, you would lose a maximum of $1,000 if the seat belt defense is successful. In no scenario, however, can your recovery be reduced by more than 5 percent for the failure to wear a seat belt.
Do not assume that you won’t qualify for insurance benefits because you weren’t wearing a seat belt in your car accident. While your financial award may be reduced for not wearing a seat belt, it will not prevent you from holding the other driver responsible. After all, your failure to wear a seat belt did not cause the car accident. The at-fault driver can still be held accountable for the negligent act or omission that led to your collision. With the right car accident attorney by your side, you can obtain the best results possible for your claim.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
If you get into a car accident in Nebraska, you will seek financial compensation for your medical bills and vehicle repairs from the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. This is how Nebraska’s fault-based car insurance system works. If you bring a claim against another driver, you will be tasked with proving fault. Proving a car accident case requires clear and convincing evidence. Understanding what evidence can be used to your advantage in a car accident lawsuit can help you obtain the financial recovery that you deserve.
The police report is one of the first things that an insurance company will ask for when you file a car accident claim. It is important to report all car accidents to the police, whether they are major or minor. This is because the police report that is created can contain key facts and information about the crash. In general, a police report includes:
- The date, time and location of the accident
- The information of all drivers and passengers involved
- Eyewitness information
- A description of the accident
- Whether either driver received a citation for breaking traffic laws
- The police officer’s opinion on the cause of the crash, in some cases
An insurance company can use this information for its investigation. Ask for your police report number before you leave the scene of the crash. You can request a copy of your police report using this number and your information in the days following the accident.
Photographs and Video Footage
Evidence in a car accident case should be clear enough to convince a judge or jury that the defendant is more likely to be at fault for the car accident than not at fault, or at-fault with at least a 51 percent certainty. This is the burden of proof in a car accident case, and it is known as a preponderance of the evidence.
Photographs and video footage can provide compelling evidence to support a car accident claim, as they can show clear and irrefutable proof. For example, photographs of vehicle damage can illuminate the mechanics of the accident and allow crash reconstruction experts to understand how the accident happened. Any video footage available of the accident can also be invaluable. This may include footage from traffic cameras, nearby business surveillance cameras, dashcams, and GoPro cameras.
Signed statements and testimony from witnesses can shed light on a car accident case. Eyewitnesses, or people who saw the car accident take place, may have information and details about the crash that is not available elsewhere, such as the speeds and directions of both cars. Likewise, expert witness testimony can help a jury that is not familiar with certain topics – such as car accidents, traffic patterns, and injuries – understand them, as well as establish the plaintiff’s injuries or the defendant’s part in the crash.
Evidence of Injuries
A car accident case requires proof of your losses. If you are claiming injuries, this may include medical records and documents, x-rays, receipts for prescriptions, notes from a doctor, medical expert testimony, and photographs of injuries. It can also help your case to maintain an injury journal or a daily diary where you record how you are feeling and how the injury is impacting your life. Similarly, if you’re claiming property damage, you will need evidence of this damage, such as photographs or receipts for vehicle repairs.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Evidence is the foundation of a car accident claim. Without compelling evidence, your claim may be denied. A car accident attorney in Omaha can help you preserve, collect and present key evidence to support your claim. You can rest and focus on healing from your car accident injuries while your lawyer returns to the scene of the crash, interviews eyewitnesses, files subpoenas and takes other steps to collect important evidence for you.
Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2022
A car accident can be damaging in more than just a physical sense. While you may suffer bodily injuries and property damage, you could also experience psychological problems associated with the crash, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In Nebraska, it is possible to claim damages, or financial compensation, for PTSD after a car accident. However, these are complicated cases that can be difficult to win.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a behavioral condition that can arise after a person lives through or experiences a psychologically traumatic event. While PTSD is often associated with soldiers who have been in war zones, it can also develop after other traumatic incidents, including car crashes. The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating and may include:
- Flashbacks or reliving the experience
- Nightmares or insomnia
- Intense fear or anxiety regarding driving
- Avoidance of certain people, places or things that are reminders of the accident
- General anxiety or depression
- Trouble concentrating
- Sudden outbursts
- Other behavioral changes
Treating PTSD often requires therapy and medications. PTSD often goes away within a week or so after the car accident, but it can last much longer, in some cases. Crash survivors are more at risk of developing PTSD if the accident was severe, life-threatening or resulted in the death of a loved one.
Can You Claim Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident in Nebraska?
In Nebraska, financial damages are available for nonphysical injuries after a car accident. State law refers to these as noneconomic damages, intangible losses or general damages. Noneconomic damages can include PTSD, as well as emotional distress, physical pain, anxiety, inconvenience, lost quality of life and loss of consortium. This means it is possible to claim compensation for PTSD during your car accident case in Omaha.
PTSD can result in missed time at work, lost wages, medical bills, and significant emotional and psychological distress. However, claiming compensation for PTSD after a car accident can be difficult. Car insurance companies often reject claims made for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and PTSD. Since PTSD is not a physical injury, it can be difficult to prove and convey its impact on your life. For a successful PTSD claim, you may need assistance from a car accident attorney in Omaha.
An attorney can help you prove that you have PTSD and that it was caused by the car accident. An attorney can set you up with a psychiatrist or psychologist, for example, who can give you an official diagnosis of PTSD if you do not already have one. Then, your attorney can help you gather letters from your psychologist, medical records, expert testimony, information about the car accident and other evidence to support your PTSD claim. In addition, an attorney can prevent a car insurance company from taking advantage of you during the claims process.
How Are PTSD Damages Calculated?
If your PTSD claim is successful, the amount of financial compensation that you receive for this behavioral condition will depend on your situation. In Nebraska, there is no cap on noneconomic damages in car accident cases. The value of your claim will be based on the severity of your PTSD, your prognosis, the amount of money that you have spent on related medical bills, how much the condition has affected your life and other factors.
Having an attorney represent you can improve the chances of obtaining maximum financial compensation for PTSD and emotional distress after a car accident. An attorney can demonstrate to an insurance company, judge or jury how your PTSD has impacted your life through compelling storytelling strategies. Your lawyer can express that you have life-altering PTSD in addition to the other consequences of the car accident. With a lawyer by your side, you can claim fair damages for your PTSD and get the results that you need to move forward.
Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2022
Roadside construction may be a necessary part of life in Nebraska, but it doesn’t make it any safer for drivers. Every year, dozens of car accidents take place in construction zones, such as collisions with equipment left too close to the road and accidents caused by road surface defects. Construction zone car accidents can be deadly, as they may involve construction workers getting hit by a car. Find out what to expect if you get into this type of auto accident in Omaha.
Higher Odds of Serious Injuries and Property Damage
Construction zones are inherently dangerous for drivers. They possess hazards that increase the risk of serious or catastrophic accidents, such as heavy machinery, bright lights, roadside workers, confusing detours, distracting signs, and dangerous surface defects. Car accidents in construction zones often involve greater injuries, losses, and property damage than other types of accidents. In addition, construction workers can be seriously injured or killed in these crashes if they are struck by a motor vehicle.
Penalties Entered Against a Driver
If an investigation shows that the motor vehicle driver failed to comply with the special rules in place in a construction zone, the driver could face severe penalties. The fine for speeding, for example, maybe doubled or even tripled in a work zone. A driver who is careless or reckless in a construction zone in Nebraska could face significant financial penalties, as well as the potential suspension of his or her driver’s license and even prison time – especially if the driver’s negligence results in a construction worker’s injury or death.
Multiple At-Fault Parties
A construction zone car accident is generally more complicated than a traditional car accident case. Rather than only involving two drivers, a construction zone accident could involve motor vehicle drivers, the construction company, the construction site manager, the government agency in charge of public roadway safety, and other parties. This can make it more difficult to determine who is liable, or financially responsible, for the crash. A construction zone accident may also involve the shared fault of two or more parties, such as the driver and the construction company. Comparative negligence can diminish the value of your payout.
Trouble With an Insurance Claim
If you get injured as a motor vehicle driver in a construction accident in Omaha, the odds are high that an insurance company will try to deny liability. Denials are common, as insurance companies are for-profit businesses that attempt to save money on payouts. If you bring a claim against the construction company, for example, its insurer may try to allege that you were not operating your vehicle safely or obeying warning signs. This can make it more difficult to obtain the financial compensation that you need to pay for your injuries and property damage.
If you are injured as a construction worker, you may also encounter challenges when trying to obtain relief through workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim. Your employer may deny liability for a dangerous construction zone, for example, or the driver’s insurance company may try to blame someone else for your injuries. This is why it is important to hire an attorney if you get involved in a construction site car accident in Omaha.
Help From an Auto Accident Lawyer in Omaha
Hiring a lawyer is the best way to protect your legal rights and pursue fair financial compensation after a construction-zone car accident. A lawyer can immediately investigate your case and hire qualified experts to shed light on why it happened. Your lawyer can determine the defendant(s) and file the paperwork to initiate a damage claim. Throughout the claims process, your car accident attorney will make you feel heard and protected. For assistance with a construction zone car accident in Omaha, contact the Omaha car accident lawyers at The Knowles Law Firm. We offer free initial case consultations.
Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2022
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.
Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2022
Being injured in an accident can be a very tumultuous time in your life. It is important to try to remain calm and remember the steps that you must take to protect yourself and build a personal injury claim. One of these steps is to create and maintain an injury journal, also known as a pain diary. This is a tool that you can use to prove how much your injuries have impacted your life – evidence that you can use to fight for fair compensation during a claim.
Why You Should Keep an Injury Journal
In a personal injury lawsuit in Omaha, the burden of proof is yours as the plaintiff or filing party. This means that it is up to you to prove the elements of your case. This includes your damages or the compensable losses that you suffered because of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care (negligence). Damages can be both economic and non-economic; however, the latter is more difficult to prove.
Noneconomic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, refer to the invisible or intangible losses suffered by an accident victim. Unlike economic damages, there are no bills or receipts that you can use to prove pain and suffering connected to an injury. There are also no x-rays that can show hard evidence of non-economic damages. Instead, proving this type of loss generally comes down to testimonies from the plaintiff.
Keeping an injury journal is your way to establish the pain and suffering connected to an injury or accident. It will contain a detailed account of your physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety, nightmares, trouble sleeping, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish and other intangible damages that are difficult to prove otherwise. When it comes time to seek financial compensation for noneconomic damages, you can use your injury journal as evidence.
What to Include in Your Injury Journal
You should start your journal right away after a harmful accident, while the memories and details are still fresh in your mind. You may recall and document information early on that you forget later. In your injury journal, include the following information:
- Details of the accident. Your diary can document more than just your injuries. Write down facts about the accident, telling your story as you remember it. Be sure not to include any admissions of fault or guilt.
- Detailed descriptions of your pain. If you experience pain or discomfort connected to your accident injuries, record it in your injury journal each day. It may be helpful to refer to your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Be honest and do not exaggerate your pain levels.
- The medications taken. List any medications that you have taken for your injuries, as well as how your pain changes throughout the day as you take different medicines. If you are unable to perform any activities because of your injuries or medical treatments, write this down.
- All doctor’s appointments and medical visits. Record your medical information in your journal. Carefully document all doctors and specialists that you’ve seen, the date and location of your visits, and the mileage to and from each facility. Keep a record of your medical bills, as well.
- The impact on your daily life. If your accident has led to a loss of mobility, psychological trauma or other issues that impact your ability to enjoy your favorite activities, hobbies or family life, document these specific difficulties and your limitations in your diary.
Turn your pain diary into physical evidence of how your injuries have affected your physical abilities, emotional stability and enjoyment of life. It is also wise to take pictures of your injuries in different stages of healing as further evidence to support your claim.
How to Use a Pain Diary to Support Your Personal Injury Claim
An injury journal kept by the victim is admissible as evidence during a personal injury claim in Nebraska. A personal injury lawyer can submit the pain diary to the courts, as well as present the information in it in a compelling way with storytelling skills. A lawyer will know how to express your pain and suffering as clearly and persuasively as possible to a judge or jury – optimizing your chances of receiving a fair noneconomic damage award.