Mental Illness Injury Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim

October 5, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Mental Illness Injury Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim

How Does Mental Injury Compensation Work?

There are a number of ways your body can be ravaged in the event you are involved in some kind of dangerous accident. A pedestrian can be struck from behind by a vehicle and have their spinal cord severely damaged or someone could suffer an infection from botched surgery that results in them having their arm amputated. Accident victims can even do something as simple as fall and suffer a traumatic brain injury but while an accident can damage the brain physically, it can also cause serious mental harm as well. Injuries to mental health caused by accidents can be just as debilitating as many physical injuries and often accompany these physical injuries or are even caused by them. Mental injuries and illnesses in relation to accident injuries often do not get as much attention as they should which is a shame since they can often cause quite a bit of harm. Those that have suffered an injury to their mental health by developing a mental illness such as PTSD or depression can seek compensation for those injuries much like they would for any physical ones. Through a personal injury claim, a plaintiff would have to prove that a liable party's negligence caused the mental illness or injury that the plaintiff is suffering from. This often can prove to be much more difficult to do that it sounds on account of how many mental injuries and illnesses lack the kinds of easily measurable and tangible physical symptoms and signs that physical injuries display.

How Can Someone be Mentally Injured by an Accident?

Mental injury is not something that is a sure thing in every person that suffers a similar accident. People are complex and certain situations will affect others mental health negatively while some are completely fine. What we do know for sure is that people placed in extremely stressful situations that produce negative emotional fallout are very likely to develop an unhealthy mental condition as a consequence of that event. There isn't a very clean cut way to measure whether one situation will cause more mental trauma than others but the intensity of some over others is usually quite apparent. For example, it's obvious that someone will stand a higher chance of suffering mental trauma from being the sole survivor of their family that was caught in a semi-truck accident than someone slipped and fell at the grocery store.

Types of Mental Health Injuries That Develop After Traumatic Accidents

When someone is involved in a traumatic event such as a car accident, they can be at risk to develop a negative health condition. Some of the more common mental health issues to develop after a traumatic accident can include: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Caused by Accidents One of the most common mental illnesses to affect those involved in a traumatic event is post-traumatic stress disorder. It is triggered by a particularly traumatizing event that a victim has trouble coping with and processing normally. The event becomes a recurrent thought to the point that a victim's life starts to be negatively impacted by their inability to process it. Symptoms can include:
  • Reliving the event through nightmares or bad memories
  • Avoiding situations that trigger those memories, such as refusing the drive after an accident
  • Increased negativity and depression
  • Hyperarousal, which includes startling easily and always being on alert
  • Trouble concentrating or sleeping
  • Anger and irritability
  • Unhealthy coping behaviors, such as the use of drugs and alcohol
  • Mood Swings
Traumatic Accidents can Cause Clinical Depression Depression is a particularly difficult mental illness to recognize yet it causes severe disruption in a victim's life. Depression is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, grief, and hopelessness that does not decrease over time. Instead, depression can get worse and worse until the symptoms of hopelessness get to the point where a victim's life will start to be seriously affected. Symptoms and signs of depression can include:
  • Persistent sadness and grief
  • Helpless, worthless, or guilty feelings
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Less interest in activities
  • Less energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia or Oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Aches and pains
Anxiety Caused by Traumatic Accidents Much like depression, anxiety can develop after a particularly traumatic accident and cause issues in someone's daily life through disruptive symptoms. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure,”.

Difficulty Proving Mental Health Injuries in an Injury Claim

Injuries to a victim's mental health can be difficult to catch and diagnose. Many people will even know that there is a problem but be reluctant to seek help out of pride or fear of how they'll be perceived. This can make getting compensation for this kind of injury rather difficult. Much like with physical injuries, seeking prompt medical care is not only important for your health but also for getting documentation linking our injury to the accident that caused it. Defendants in an injury claim will often try to claim that a mental health injury may have developed after an accident due to another cause or that the injury is not legitimate due to a lack of tangible evidence showing its effects have damaged a victim's livelihood. Through examination by an accredited psychiatrist and good medical records of the progression of a mental condition like prescriptions, therapy session notes, etc. someone can successfully seek compensation for expenses relating to mental injury treatment and other damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

Seek an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have sustained an injury to your mental health in an accident, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers will sit down with you to listen to the details of your case and lay out some legal options that you can take. Don't leave your settlement in just anybody's hands. Consider Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to secure the settlement that you deserve. For a free consultation on your claim you can contact us online or call (727) 451-6900 Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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