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Factoring Psychological Effects into Personal Injury Damages

The psychological consequences of an injury can be long-lasting and severe. However, psychological injuries differ significantly from their physical counterparts. Unlike a broken bone, an injured person’s depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) won’t show up in a conveniently objective medical scan. Instead they need to be proven by psychiatrist testimony, evidence about the person’s changed behaviors, and so on. Among the challenges of proof is the need to reduce a victim’s psychological trauma to a dollar figure that can be factored into a claim for damages.

What types of psychological harm can come from injuries?

Suffering a serious injury is often a traumatic event, followed by a string of further stressful experiences. The injury itself might come about because of a violent car accident, a dog attack, or even a slip and fall resulting in broken bones. The pain and fear of the event itself can lead to psychological consequences. But the aftermath of the injury can also have side effects: lost work, long-term difficulty with sleeping, an inability to enjoy life, and so on. Some of the psychological consequences of these things can include:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Changes to personality
  • Mood swings

What sort of compensation is available for psychological injuries?

In a lawsuit for personal injury the aim is to get the injured person compensation for the costs (or damages) related to the injury. The term damages includes concrete things like medical bills and lost earnings, and can also include more abstract notions like pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment. Calculating the amount of damages a plaintiff is owed is a complex and contentious part of any personal injury lawsuit. To recover damages the plaintiff must prove several things. First, the defendant’s wrongful behavior must have been the legal (or proximate) cause of the damages. For example, a plaintiff who was already addicted to opioids at the time of the accident may be unable to recover damages for his or her ongoing addiction, even if that addiction was made worse by the accident. Second, the damages must be proven by evidence. For psychological injuries this element can be difficult. The costs associated with treating the psychological condition, such as psychiatry bills and medication, may be only one part of the whole. A plaintiff’s attorney can find ways to build a strong case for compensation that fully captures the consequences of the injury.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation for personal injuries. We provide each client with personal, caring service. If you have questions about how psychological factors may affect your personal injury claim, please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.