How Does the Law Define a Psychological Injury

How Does the Law Define a Psychological Injury?

Serious accidents often have a ripple effect that radiates out into every part of a victim’s life. While the physical injuries might be visible to the naked eye, there is often much more damage lying below the surface. Serious accidents, particularly those that put a victim at risk of death, often leave psychological scars and lasting damage.

If you’ve been injured in an accident or incident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation – including for any psychological injuries that you may have sustained as a result. To discuss your injuries and any potential claim, call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.

What Causes Psychological Injuries?

Psychological injuries can be caused by a variety of triggers, from one-time events that cause massive trauma to damage that builds up over a longer period of time. Examples of one-time events that cause trauma include car accidents, workplace accidents, physical or sexual assaults, and near-death incidents. Long-term damage can be caused by a long abusive relationship, an extended tour of duty in a combat zone, or constant exposure to danger in the workplace.

Common Types of Psychological Injuries

Psychological injuries can manifest as any change in your psychological status that inhibits your ability to engage in daily activities or obligations. Some of the most common types of psychological injuries include:

  • Mood disorders. Mood disorders, such as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, affect how your brain sees the world and the threats in it. Living with these disorders can be difficult, as they often impact motivation, emotional regulation, and quality of life.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex disorder that often follows a severe injury or life-threatening event. PTSD often leaves victims struggling to navigate daily life, particularly when certain sounds or events trigger flashbacks to the traumatic event that left them with PTSD.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can cause significant psychological damage, particularly if they impact the parts of the brain affecting communication, memory, decision making, and emotional control.
  • Chronic pain. Unfortunately, not all physical injuries can heal completely. Those that leave patients with chronic pain can also cause psychological damage. Constant pain limits your quality of life, productivity, social life, and overall wellbeing.

How Psychological Injuries Affect Victims’ Lives

Legally, psychological injuries are often defined by how they affect victims’ lives. This is why there is so much variation between outcomes. Two people may go through identical accidents but come out with completely different levels of psychological trauma.

When it comes to seeking compensation, you’ll need to demonstrate that the injury has led to some sort of damage or dysfunction in how you think, feel, and behave. Courts look for impairment in both your functioning and overall wellbeing.

This applies both to new diagnoses and those that become significantly worse after an accident. Some people believe that having pre-existing conditions bars them from receiving any compensation for psychological injuries, but your pre-existing conditions just provide a baseline. Any psychological injuries caused by the other party’s neglect will be based on your mental health and wellbeing prior to the incident.

Getting Compensation

Many settlements do include compensation for psychological injuries, particularly for victims involved in severe or life-threatening accidents. Different types of compensation available for psychological injuries include:

  • Medical expenses, including costs for medications, therapy, inpatient treatment, and emergency care
  • Lost wages for days off of work due to your injury and lost future income due to a permanent loss in productivity
  • Future mental healthcare needs like counseling and diagnostic work
  • Pain and suffering to compensate you for the non-financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injury
  • Mental anguish because of the decrease in your quality of life

The battle for compensation for psychological injuries can be difficult, as many insurance companies still look at these injuries with skepticism. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney who can gather the necessary evidence and fight aggressively on your behalf.

Discuss Your Options with Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you’re interested in seeking compensation for your psychological injuries, the team at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. We understand that psychological injuries can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life, and we fight to hold negligent parties accountable. Schedule a consultation today by reaching out to us online or calling us at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.