Physical injuries often result from accidents, but they are not the only type of injury you can sustain. Mental and emotional injuries can lead to serious consequences and harm. Psychological harm, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can require years of therapy to treat. If an accident causes psychological harm, you may be entitled to compensation in Colorado for it. Most of the time it is accompanied a physical injury but not always. That's why it is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer to make sure you demand and recover just and fair compensation – the value of which addresses any psychological harm you or a loved one may have experienced.
At Travis Legal Offices, LLC, our experienced staff and attorneys in Colorado will thoroughly review your personal injury case and help calculate both economic and non-economic damages. Psychological harm would fall under non-economic damages. Contact us at (303) 766-8766 to schedule a free consultation and to make sure you recover compensation that considers the total value of your damages.
PTSD and Other Psychological Conditions in Colorado Personal Injury Claims
In addition to physical injuries, a plaintiff in a personal injury case in Colorado may also seek damages for psychological harm, like post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is a mental health condition that develops after experiencing or seeing a traumatic event. Examples of traumatic events include a car accident, natural disaster, or assault. People who are regularly exposed to trauma in their line of work, such as police and firemen, can also develop PTSD as a result of their professional experiences.
Common PTSD Symptoms
The effects of PTSD can range from minor to more debilitating symptoms and can last for months or even years. Symptoms include:
- Severe anxiety and depression
- Difficulty coping
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Avoiding situations or places related to the event
Other Psychological Harm
Other psychological conditions subject to compensation via personal injury claims include:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress, like depression and anxiety
- Sleep disturbance
- Severe mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
What Are the Challenges of Mental Health Claims in Colorado?
Mental health claims like PTSD can be complex conditions that are generally not well-understood. While a term like PTSD is widely known, it may be difficult for a jury to appreciate the specific impacts of PTSD on an individual. What's more, the insurance adjuster or defense team may try to downplay the health condition or suggest that it is the result of another event in your life. Oftentimes this happens when the third-party insurance company demands your medical records and you release your entire history to them without knowing you are not required to do so. They will scour your medical history with a fine-tooth comb looking for vulnerabilities they can use to minimize or avoid a payout.
Regardless of your medical history, however, mental health claims are still difficult. Unlike a physical injury, PTSD and other psychological conditions are not visible to the naked eye. Symptoms may develop some time after an incident and, when they do, they can be more difficult to prove than physical injuries which can be established through photos, scarring, or medical reports.
How to Claim PTSD and Other Psychological Injuries in Colorado
Your personal injury case involving psychological damages can be built in most part on the evidence you bring to the table. As noted, expert witnesses will be critical but just as critical are lay witnesses.
Mental health experts or other medical providers who specialize in psychological conditions will often have valuable insight. This can include testimony regarding how a particular symptom is effecting an individual's life, treatment options, coping mechanisms, etc. Experts in PTSD and other psychological injuries who examine a client and explain what the client is going through to the jury can be vital at trial.
Lay Person Witnesses
Lay witnesses are not experts but they are witnesses who either saw the accident occur and can testify to what happened or know you personally and can testify to how the psychological harm has impacted your life. You can collect statements from witnesses and, if the case goes to trial, you can have them testify before a jury. But it is their statements before trial and during negotiations that may be used to build your case.
There are steps you can take before engaging witnesses. If you start noticing psychological symptoms after an incident, you may want to take notes or keep a diary and document how the condition has impacted your life. Also, keep copies of any medical records or doctor's letters confirming a diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
What Types of Physical Injuries are More Likely to Cause Psychological Injury?
Coping with a physical injury can lead to someone developing psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Some physical injuries are more likely to lead to a psychological condition, and examples include:
- Brain injuries
- Chronic pain
If you've sustained a psychological injury as the result of the negligence of another person, you can seek compensation via a personal injury claim.
How are Mental Health Claims in Colorado Calculated?
Mental anguish or emotional distress is usually categorized as pain and suffering and compensated via non-economic damages.
There's no standard formula to calculate non-economic damages in a personal injury case. The amount depends on the circumstances of each case and is ultimately determined through negotiations or by the jury if the case goes to trial. T
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer in Colorado Help?
If you've sustained a psychological injury as a result of the negligence of another person, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer. They can review your case and advise you as to whether you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Colorado Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a psychological injury, like PTSD, after an accident caused by another person, you may be entitled to compensation for it (along with any physical injury you also suffered). At Travis Legal Offices, LLC, our personal injury attorney and staff in Colorado know how to review and work with these types of cases. Contact us either online by filling out the form or calling us at (303) 766-8766 to schedule a free consultation today.