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How Do I Prove PTSD in an Injury Case?

Posted on in Personal Injury

As anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) already knows, going back to your everyday routine after a major trauma can be incredibly painful and disorienting. However, although most people are familiar with the basic concept of PTSD, few really understand how it can transform your entire life after an accident.

At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our Greenwich personal injury lawyers are committed to helping victims of PTSD get the recovery they need to heal, particularly when their PTSD was directly caused by another party’s negligence. While it can sometimes be a challenge to convince a jury about your PTSD damages, the right attorney will be able to communicate the true scope of your condition, and secure maximum recovery for your case.

Who Is Affected by PTSD?

Contrary to popular perception, post-traumatic stress disorder affects children and adults from all walks of life, and it’s not just limited to war veterans. Last year, the National Institute of Mental Health found that 3.6% of all U.S. adults had a diagnosed case of PTSD, with a lifetime prevalence rate of 6.8%. Experts also believe that many people are living with untreated PTSD, due to the fact that 70% of adults will deal with a traumatic event at least once in their life (although not all will go on to develop PTSD.)

Ranging from mild to severe, post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by any of the following traumatic events:

  • Violent assault
  • Witnessing a death or act of violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Exposure to combat situations
  • Prolonged abuse from a family member
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Amputation
  • Natural disasters, like major floods or fires
  • Diagnosis of a serious or fatal condition

Marked by uncontrollable flashbacks, severe anxiety, memory loss, and high levels of adrenaline, PTSD can interfere with your ability to work or even enjoy life. Like any form of stress, PTSD is considered a verifiable medical injury - and as such, you’re legally entitled to seek compensation for this disorder in the wake of an accident or act of violence.

Proving PTSD in an Injury Claim

PTSD is much more common than most people realize, which can make it hardto prove your condition before a jury. It’s also an incredibly complexpsychological disorder, and there’s no existing medical explanation as to why some individuals develop PTSD when others do not. This means that you will need to secure expert witness testimony when proving yourPTSD damages, most likely from a highly-skilled medical professional with training in psychiatry or neurology.

Here are a few of the ways an expert witness can help your case:

  • Validating the medical costs associated with your claim. PTSD requires nearly indefinite medical treatment, ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).By explaining how medical providers bill for these treatments, an expert witness can validate the amount you’ve claimed for damages.
  • Elaborating on your symptoms. Flashbacks and anxiety attacks are the hallmarks of PTSD, but the truth is that there are many other symptoms juries may not know about. Your expert witness can testify to the long-term behavioral, emotional, and psychological costs.
  • Showing the direct causal chain between your accident and PTSD. Most importantly, an expert witness can help the jury understand how your specific incident led to post-traumatic stress disorder. From detailing past office visits to reviewing the symptoms you reported after an accident,an expert witness can show how negligence directly caused your condition.

At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our skilled Greenwich personal injury team has decades of combined legal experience, and can create a strong strategy for your PTSD claim. Contact us at 203-661-6000 todayto get a free consultation.

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