Atlanta Psychological Injury Attorney
Psychological injuries often don’t get the attention they deserve and therefore, go undiagnosed because people tend to overlook the damage that is not immediately visible. If you sustain a psychological injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional acts, you know that it is every bit as debilitating as a more apparent physical injury. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to work harder to get the compensation you are entitled to by law. An Atlanta psychological injury attorney can help to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve for your financial losses, diminished health and well-being, and overall quality of life.
The increasing prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the more tragic consequences of modern warfare. However, military personnel are not the only victims of PTSD. Virtually any type of serious or traumatic accident can leave a victim with PTSD— which transcends the more readily diagnosed cognitive disorders such as anxiety and/or depression.
At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we are committed to representing and helping those who have suffered both physical and psychological injuries to seek compensation to recover damages for all of their injuries, including psychological damages.
What is a Psychological Injury?
When severe trauma overwhelms your mind beyond its coping capacity, you are likely to sustain psychological injury. A psychological injury is a psychological or psychiatric condition that developed as a result of a traumatic event.
The condition is severe enough to impact the suffering individual’s ability to perform routine personal and work tasks. Generally, the types of traumatic events that give rise to psychological injuries are those that occur out of the blue at a time when the injured individual is unprepared, leaving him or her feeling a loss of control over the situation.
A psychological injury can occur at the same time as a physical injury. For example, you could sustain a broken leg and the loss of your best friend in the same accident. You would not only be dealing with the pain of your broken bone but also extreme emotional distress.
In other cases, psychological damage may only become apparent after the incident. For instance, your severe facial damage from a car accident may cause you to avoid other people. You could lose your job and your enjoyment of life.
Even if an accident doesn’t harm you physically, it can seriously affect your psychological health. If you witness a loved one’s sudden death, for example, you could develop post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression or anxiety disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Psychological Injuries
After a traumatic event, most people will experience feelings of anger, fear, and loss of control; however, many of these symptoms will resolve over time. For an individual who has incurred a psychological injury as a result of trauma, the symptoms may worsen with time and can lead to a cascade of complications, with one of the most serious complications being suicide.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a psychological injury listed below, you should contact your doctor or your mental healthcare provider and then also consult an Atlanta psychological injury attorney about seeking workers’ compensation for your injury.
- Panic attacks
- Repeated flashbacks i.e. intrusive thoughts or visual images of the event
- Sleep disturbances, including nightmares, insomnia, or difficulty staying awake
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Loss of appetite or bingeing
- Avoidance of individuals or activities that remind you of the trauma experienced
- Overwhelming fear or anxiety
- Emotional detachment
- Suicidal thoughts
- Social isolation and withdrawal from activities that you previously enjoyed
- Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- Disorientation or confusion
- Mood swings
- Extreme fatigue
- Easily startled
- Sexual dysfunction
- Being hyper-vigilant, always looking for a disaster
- Vague complaints of pain throughout your body
- Detachment from people and emotions
- Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
- Guilt or shame, particularly if you survived the traumatic event but someone else didn’t
How Psychological Injuries Occur
Psychological injuries usually result from experiencing or witnessing trauma. Various types of trauma can result in a psychological injury, including:
- Violent crimes, such as assault or rape.
- Motor vehicle accidents in which the individual has suffered a traumatic injury or has witnessed someone else suffering a traumatic or even fatal injury.
- The sudden death of a loved one.
- Childhood sexual or physical abuse.
- Workplace or premises liability accidents in which the individual was seriously injured or watched someone else become seriously injured by a hazardous feature.
- An individual sustains an injury as the result of a product defect, and therefore, an Atlanta psychological injury attorney can help to file a defective product liability claim against the manufacturer.
- Nursing home neglect or abuse in which an elderly or infirm resident is subjected to mistreatment.
- An individual sustains an injury or the worsening of an illness due to medical negligence, including misdiagnosis, medication errors, missed diagnosis, injuries related to the birth process, wrong-way surgery, or lack of adequate follow-up care.
Types of Psychological Injuries
Several psychological conditions can result from experiencing or witnessing trauma, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – PTSD is a psychological response to trauma that is characterized by hyper-vigilance, nightmares or flashbacks, and uncontrollable fear or anxiety. The symptoms of PTSD generally appear within a month after the traumatic event, but also may not show up until many months or years later.
- Mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) – A traumatic brain injury is caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body that causes damage to the brain. A concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury; however, because the brain is responsible for controlling all of the functions of the rest of the body and only has a limited ability to heal itself, a traumatic brain injury is never actually a mild injury. Concussions can result in long-term psychological injuries that include mood swings, fatigue, and difficulty remembering events.
- Chronic pain – Chronic pain is a psychological condition in which an individual feels pain consistently, weeks, months, or even years after an injury occurs. This pain often gets into a cycle with depression in which the pain worsens the level of the depression, and the depression causes the victim to focus more on the pain.
Seeking Treatment for Emotional Trauma
Psychological injuries, also commonly referred to as emotional trauma, are often alleviated through treatment by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health care professional. Some of the most effective treatments involve talk therapy (psychotherapy) in combination with other activities, such as short writing assignments or field trips focused on making the victim face the trauma and learning new ways of coping with it.
Doctors may prescribe medications to address emotional trauma, often providing you with a sense of calm and the ability to rest, which are both important components of recovering from trauma.
As the symptoms of emotional trauma are often similar to or related to depression or anxiety, many of the same medications used to treat those conditions are also used for psychological injuries.
More importantly, after seeking treatment, you need to work with an experienced Atlanta psychological injury attorney to begin the process of seeking compensation to hold those who caused your psychological injury accountable.
Consequences of Failing to Treat Your Psychological Injury
Psychological injuries require proper, immediate treatment from an experienced health care provider just as physical injuries do. Unfortunately, some people never get the necessary treatment for their psychological injuries.
Failing to get the necessary treatment after trauma can lead to more problems, including:
- Hostility and strained relationships with loved ones.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- The inability to maintain healthy relationships or to make friends with appropriate people.
- Impulsive behaviors and difficulty controlling emotions.
- Self-destructive behaviors, such as speeding, cutting, or excessive gambling.
- Dissociative symptoms, including the feeling of disconnection and a lack of continuity in thoughts, actions, and memories.
- The inability to make healthy occupational and lifestyle choices.
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings.
- Clinical depression or anxiety.
Psychological Injury at Work
A stressful work environment can lead to significant damage to your psyche. If the pressure to perform or interpersonal conflict is causing you to be anxious, unable to sleep or incapable of properly fulfilling your work assignments, you may qualify for workers’ compensation.
Also, if you experience trauma outside of working hours that prevents you from doing your job, you may be covered.
Proving Emotional and Psychological Injuries
To qualify for compensation, your injury must not only result from someone else’s negligence or intent, but it must directly lead to one of the following:
- Mental damage
- Emotional pain
- Exacerbation of a pre-existing psychological condition
A psychological injury is harder to prove than a physical injury, so seeking legal representation from an experienced and reputable Atlanta psychological injury attorney is very important.
A medical examination and psychological evaluation are essential to your lawyer in proving mental damages, either when negotiating a compensation settlement or building your case in court.
If you do have a visible physical injury from the accident, such as a missing limb or extensive scarring, others are more likely to acknowledge your psychological damage. Also, you stand a better chance of winning full compensation if your mental injury is severe.
Unlike physical injuries, emotional and psychological injuries are challenging to prove because they lack physical evidence, such as a broken arm or amputated leg. If you file a claim for emotional distress, you need to be able to prove the following:
- The emotional or psychological injury needs to be continuous. For example, if you were only afraid to drive a car for a week after suffering from an accident, you likely won’t be able to receive compensation, but if you develop post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident, you could.
- The injury needs to be considered medically significant. Your condition needs to be severe enough to warrant the receipt of compensation.
- You need to be able to prove that the injury or incident in question led to your emotional or psychological injuries.
You can prove that you are suffering from emotional distress by keeping up with medical records, medical bills, and your personal journal that records your physical, mental, emotional, or psychological health. Some medical records you should use in court include documentation related to prescriptions and visits to mental health professionals.
Additionally, your Atlanta psychological injury attorney can help you find medical experts to use in your case to corroborate the fact that you could be suffering from emotional trauma from the incident or accident. You can also use testimonies from others who can attest to the fact that you were emotionally affected by the defendant’s negligence, including friends and co-workers.
To strengthen your case, you can prove that you are suffering from physical effects resulting from your emotional injuries. For example, you may have difficulty eating and digesting or you may suffer from headaches because of your emotional condition.
Obtaining Compensation for a Psychological Injury
If you have suffered a psychological injury as a result of a traumatic physical injury or event that was caused by the reckless and careless actions of another person, you can likely obtain compensation for the damages and impacts of your injury through a claim or lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to prove liability for the accident that caused the injury and to show the court the expenses and quality-of-life impacts that you have experienced.
To prove liability, you must show:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The term duty of care is used to refer to the way a reasonable person would respond in a similar set of circumstances. For example, an at-fault driver in a motor vehicle accident case that resulted in physical trauma and psychological injuries had a duty of care to drive his or her vehicle safely and legally.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. The breach refers to the action or inaction of the at-fault party that violated the duty of care. Using the car accident example from above, distracted driving, speeding, or any other behavior that is contrary to the safe and legal operation of the vehicle would constitute a breach.
- The breach in the duty of care caused your accident and led you to experience psychological injuries.
The personal injury claims process allows an individual to recover both economic and non-economic damages following an injury that someone else’s careless or reckless behavior caused. The term ‘damages’ refers to a payment made in compensation for harm. Economic damages are a payment made for the expenses you incurred as a result of your injury.
This category of damages often includes:
- Medical expenses, including transport to the hospital, emergency treatment, diagnostic and laboratory testing, hospitalization, physician and surgical services, prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and assistive devices such as prostheses, crutches, or a wheelchair.
- Lost income because you can’t work while you are injured.
- Loss of future earning capacity if you experience a permanent disability as the result of your injury that prevents you from returning to work or earning in the same capacity.
- The cost of repairing or replacing property that was damaged in the accident, such as if your car was damaged in a car accident.
Non-economic damages are a payment made in compensation for how an injury has impacted your quality of life. These are often known as pain and suffering damages, as physical and emotional pain and suffering are the most common type of non-economic compensation requested in personal injury claims.
Psychological injuries can certainly give rise to non-economic damage claims for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress.
Get Legal Help Today!
After a serious accident, much attention is paid to the victim’s physical injuries—broken bones, cuts, bruises, and the like. However, the psychological effects of an accident can have a serious negative impact on the victim’s life, sometimes for many years to come.
Psychological injuries are often seen as “less serious” than physical injuries, but the truth is that they can have a profound impact on the victim’s quality of life and ability to move on from the accident. A traumatic event causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm.
When you are claiming a psychological injury, you must meet strict criteria to qualify for financial compensation. Also, specific requirements vary from state to state. You should not try to go it alone.
If you were injured in an accident as the result of someone else’s careless or reckless behavior or from an intentional act, such as assault or abuse, you deserve compensation for both the physical and psychological harm that you have endured.
You need an experienced Atlanta psychological injury attorney by your side to help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case to prove your psychological injury so that you can get the compensation that you deserve.
Atlanta Psychological Injury Attorney
At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we understand that you need support and time to recover from the traumatic event and regain emotional and mental stability.
We have a team of highly qualified, experienced, dedicated, and reputable psychological injury lawyers who understand the relevant laws for psychological injury claims very well and therefore can help you file a successful claim and get the compensation that you deserve.
Call us today at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation/case review.