A serious physical injury can have psychological and emotional effects, including anxiety, depression, and conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychological injuries can have drastic impacts on a person’s life. As such, they are considered a form of personal injury and an accident victim can sometimes recover compensation for psychological damages. Continue reading to learn more about including these in your injury claim.
What Are Psychological Injuries and Damages?
A form of pain and suffering, psychological injuries can have symptoms such as loss of sleep, nightmares, or excess fear or trigger PTSD, major depressive disorder (MDD), and chronic pain syndrome (CPS). Emotional distress varies from person to person so is therefore highly subjective. But it can manifest as physical symptoms as well, including:
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Weight changes
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Being easily startled
- Drug/alcohol use
There’s no hard definition of a psychological injury like with a broken bone, sprain, concussion, or head or spinal injury. A diagnosis by a psychologist is typically required. A medical professional may also be needed to provide testimony to prove your condition originated from a traumatic event or accident.
Psychological Damages and Compensation
A personal injury settlement can include damages such as compensation for medical expenses, psychological care, counseling, and prescription medication. Depending on the circumstances of your lawsuit, you may recover lost wages. You may be able to pursue compensation for lost income because psychological harm prevents you from doing the same work. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages may be recovered as well.
The severity of your emotional distress impacts your eligibility for financial recovery and how much you may receive. You therefore need to demonstrate the emotional stress you experience is ongoing, affects your ability to perform routine activities, and is directly related to the physical harm inflicted by the defendant’s actions or negligence. Proving your emotional distress began after the accident is your best bet, although a pre-existing psychological condition won’t necessarily disqualify you from collecting damages.
Proving Psychological Injuries
Proving you sustained a psychological injury due to an accident can be more difficult. But there are ways to make this process less challenging. For example, having accurate medical records and documentation is helpful. A serious injury attorney can recommend a physician to provide prompt medical attention that links your mental health to the accident.
It also helps to document the severity of the injury, pain, or psychological symptoms you experience; a dairy or journal can help you do this and provide a place to record your feelings after the accident and how they progress over time. You should also report other changes that affect your life.
Depending on the case, a separate claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress may be filed. This is rare compared to a simple pain and suffering claim. Nonetheless, it may be the prudent course of action if the defendant intentionally inflicted emotional distress along with a serious injury to you physically. Even so, it helps to have the medial information to back up your claim rather than rely on the perception of a judge or jury.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Based in Los Angeles, The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani specializes in all types of physical and psychological injury cases. Our personal injury lawyer has the experience and knowledge to fight for your rights and get the damages and compensation you deserve. If an accident has affected your life mentally as well as physically, our serious injury law firm can help. We remain open and are ready to work with you; contact us today for a free consultation.