PTSD

Legal Concerns and Health Complications For PTSD Cases

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that happens after a type of traumatic event. It is often associated with those who were in the military. But PTSD can develop in many scenarios, such as car accidents.

After a serious car accident, you may be suffering PTSD if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from social settings
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias

It is estimated that as many as 8% of the United States population has PTSD symptoms. If you are struggling with psychological and social problems after a traumatic crash or other incident, a medical diagnosis could show that you have PTSD.

PTSD and Lawsuits

If a person’s recklessness or negligence led to an accident that made you develop PTSD, the success or failure of the lawsuit will turn on expert testimony. For your attorney to establish your PTSD, he may invite an expert witness such as a psychiatrist to testify about your condition and the following factors:

  • Injury: You have suffered from a sort of psychological injury, as shown by your symptoms
  • Causation: The accident in question is what triggered that emotional or mental injury
  • Recoverable damages: You should be able to at least recover the costs of your treatment

The primary challenge in a PTSD lawsuit will come from each side bringing in different experts. Opposing experts will probably argue that PTSD may only be caused by some huge traumatic event in war. But the jury will need to decide if your PTSD claims are real.

If your claim for PTSD is real, it could serve as the basis for various claims of emotional distress:

  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: PTSD diagnosis evidence shows that the conduct of the defendant was outrageous and intentional.
  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: If the negligent conduct of the defendant caused the PTSD of the plaintiff, the defendant could be liable for inflicting emotional distress upon you.

Implications of PTSD Diagnosis for Other Legal Cases

A PTSD diagnosis could have serious implications for many legal matters, both criminal and civil. For example, in a civil case, PTSD could be used to support these claims:

  • Claims against companies under the American with Disabilities Act for not accommodating the PTSD of an employee
  • Workers’ Compensation claims

In a criminal case, as PTSD is classified as a mental disorder, it could be applied as a possible criminal defense or even a mitigating circumstance. For example, a PTSD diagnosis could be the basis for these defenses:

  • Rape trauma or battered woman syndrome
  • A partial defense of diminished capacity
  • Complete defense of insanity

If you have suffered from a traumatic accident that may have caused PTSD, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand your rights.

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