If you are involved in an accident in Chicago that results in severe bodily injuries, as the victim you may face consequences that include an extended recovery period, time off from work, medical complications, scarring or disfigurement, and disability. All of these can prove to be devastating and potentially life-changing. Beyond the physical losses, you may also face mounting medical and hospital bills. Any or all of these factors can contribute to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition affects a person’s ability to function normally from day-to-day, causing a severe decrease in the individual’s quality of life.
Proving debilitating psychological damage
PTSD often dominates the individual’s life, negatively affecting the ability of the person to interact with others and socialize, as well as function properly on-the-job. The mental and emotional damage that accompanies this condition entitles the victim under the law to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim.
Proving PTSD is not straightforward. The plaintiff (victim) will face a significant challenge proving he or she is suffering from this condition without obtaining supporting testimony from an expert witness. One or more expert witnesses are required to testify when a fact issue exceeds the comprehension of the average juror. These experts have the knowledge and experience to explain a complex issue and in some instances provide an opinion as to whether the alleged victim is or is not experiencing the problem or disorder, such as PTSD.
Testimony of plaintiff witnesses
After relating his or her qualifications as an expert in the subject matter of PTSD, the expert witness will also testify to the characteristics and symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms often include:
- Experiencing an initial stressful event
- Experiencing recurring or intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and dreams of the event
- Experiencing symptoms of anxiety, including exaggerated sudden response, hyper activity, and insomnia
- Deliberately avoiding people, places, or things that might revive invasive thoughts about the event
- Suffering the disruption of various aspects of the victim’s life, such as work, school, and relationships
If an expert witness happens to be a therapist evaluating the patient, he or she will have the ability to testify whether the plaintiff demonstrated these symptoms of PTSD or not. Otherwise, the expert witness can provide the court with his or her assessment as to whether or not the plaintiff is suffering from PTSD.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
Although symptoms of PTSD can vary, some of the more common ones include:
- Anger or irritability
- Continuous feelings of anxiety or uneasiness
- Reliving or having flashbacks of the accident
- Experiencing irrational fear or worry
- Refusing to receive medical testing or procedures
- Inability to sleep properly/nightmares
- Experiencing a disconnected feeling from people and/or surroundings
- Consistently avoiding the accident scene or other associated stimuli
- Fear of driving or avoiding driving in conditions similar to those when the accident occurred
The above symptoms and others could indicate the individual is suffering from PTSD in the aftermath of a serious accident.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit involving PTSD may be pursued for pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and medical expenses.
An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can work with you and your medical team to evaluate and document your PTSD symptoms in order to help you pursue compensation for your injuries. This evidence may include obtaining the accident report, medical bills, hospital records, witness accounts, and any other crucial documentation.
At Gainsberg Law, we understand how devastating accident can produce not only serious physical, but also emotional injuries upon the victim. If you are suffering one or both of these types of injuries right now due to an incident involving the negligence of another party, we can help. Allow us to review your case and determine your right to secure compensation for your losses. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us today 312.313.1621 or use our contact form to send us a request.