Traffic accidents, including motorcycle accidents, happen daily in the United States. However, what one person experiences could be entirely different from another. Even in the same accident, one person could have a traumatic emotional response, while the other walk away emotionally unscathed. In some instances, the emotional trauma does not show up for days or even weeks, but that emotional scarring is so severe that it affects your everyday life.
For those with severe emotional trauma, they may be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is not diagnosed with normal emotional responses either, such as guilt, anger, or even minor depression following a motorcycle accident. Instead, it is reserved for those psychological symptoms that are so strong they impede your ability to live your life.
One study found that PTSD is a severe psychological consequence associated with catastrophic motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle collisions. They found that PTSD was prevalent in instances where there was an actual or threatened death, severe injury, or a threat to a person’s body – leaving them disabled.
What is important to realize here is that there are rational post-accident responses, and then there are the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD is much stronger, and the anxiety of it affects your quality of life. Typically, the post-traumatic response will fade over time, but when the feelings do not go away, or you notice them intensifying, you should seek immediate medical attention.
PTSD can change how you act, think, and interact with loved ones. The feelings are so strong that they get in the way of your everyday lifestyle. Some problems associated with PTSD include, but are not limited to:
If you do have PTSD after a motorcycle accident, it will impact your life rather significantly. Motorcycle accident victims could:
The symptoms of PTSD affect you the rest of your life if you do not seek treatment. They could affect your ability to work, interact with family and friends, or even receive medical care.
Luckily, PTSD is not an uncommon occurrence. Therefore, you have multiple options for coping with your PTSD and the feelings that come after a catastrophic accident. Some ways you can learn to deal include:
If someone’s recklessness, purposeful acts, or negligence caused your motorcycle accident and you developed PTSD as a result, you can file a lawsuit and seek damages. To establish that your PTSD came from the accident, your attorney will need to have expert witnesses testify about your condition and its onset, but also present your medical records and have you testified about the trauma you experienced.
Some of the items your attorney will need to convince the jury of include:
When your PTSD claim is genuine, you may also file a claim for emotional distress, which encompasses more than just the PTSD, but any emotional trauma you suffered.
In a motorcycle accident case, you are likely to file for a negligent infliction of emotional distress, which means the negligent or reckless acts of the defendant caused your injuries, and therefore the defendant is liable for the damages.
PTSD is a complicated psychological disorder, and you may have difficulty showing that your PTSD is legitimate or that it stems from the accident without the help of an attorney. Your attorney will need to hire expert witnesses, and they will play a critical role in bridging the gap between your diagnosis and the accident.
When a legal issue goes beyond the average person’s comprehension, you need an expert witness to testify and explain how the issue raised and share their opinion on whether you genuinely suffer from that condition.
Most people do not understand PTSD. While they have heard of the term, they do not understand what causes it nor do they comprehend the impact it has on the rest of a person’s life. An expert witness is there to assess the situation for them, and they can share their opinion on your severity of PTSD, the cause, and prognosis. Realize that the defense too will have a witness, but their witness will be there to disprove your PTSD or downplay it.
An expert witness is there to explain to the jury what the medical industry requires to diagnose a person with PTSD, and if you meet that diagnostic criterion. Furthermore, they will testify about any interviews they have had with you, what they see in your medical records and their conclusions about whether the motorcycle accident caused your PTSD.
A fact witness is not as in-depth. Instead, they may be there to provide additional testimony about symptoms they have witnessed themselves, how your PTSD affects you, and any insight they might have. A fact witness might be a spouse, family member, or friend who has daily interaction with you after the motorcycle accident.
Expert witnesses could be your treating physician, a psychologist, or another person that practices in a field that makes them qualified to assess and share an opinion on your PTSD.
If you have PTSD following a severe motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for your emotional distress.
To see what compensation you have available to you, contact an attorney from Malman Law. Schedule a free consultation with our team today at (888) 625-6265 or request an appointment online. There is no obligation to meet with our attorneys, and you do not pay our team unless we secure compensation for your injuries.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023