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Psychological Damages: How Is It Defined?

In cases involving auto accidents, medical malpractice, or other forms of personal injuries, many believe that physical injuries are the only injuries that qualify for damage recovery through legal action.

While this may be true in some cases, it is not always the case. Some accidents or incidents, for instance, can lead to severe psychological damages, ranging from PTSD to anxiety and more, that negatively impact the lives of victims.

If you or a loved one has sustained psychological injuries, you may have grounds for a lawsuit and may be able to recover psychological damages with the assistance of knowledgeable attorneys.

To learn more about this, please read on. Alternatively, you can contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation, case evaluation, and so much more!

What Are Psychological Injuries?

Psychological injuries are injuries that occur to the psyche, including mental health injuries and conditions. The human mind is just as vulnerable as the body, and it can be injured in the short-term and long-term due to negative or traumatic events like accidents, assaults, and disasters.

For example, if you are injured by an assault and robbery, you may not just have physical injuries like bruises and broken bones. You may also experience psychological damage, which could manifest as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or something else.

Psychological injuries, despite not being as readily visible as physical injuries, can have recurring impacts on the well-being of victims. For instance, someone who suffers from PTSD may experience panic attacks in the course of their daily life. They may have difficulty interacting with others, could have mood swings or difficulty regulating their emotions, etc.

Due to the potential impact of psychological injuries, victims of accidents, assaults, and other incidents often wonder whether they can recover psychological damages from those responsible.

How Can Psychological Injuries Be Caused?

Psychological injuries may be caused by a variety of incidents, including but not limited to:

Psychological injuries are different for everyone. The same incident may produce psychological injuries in some people or one person but not others.

Because of this, psychological injury victims often don’t realize that they have been injured until sometime after the inciting incident. This does not mean that their injuries are not valid or that they are not due compensation from a guilty, negligent party.

For more on this and related topics, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at no charge by dialing 1-516-342-2200. It will be our honor and privilege to assist you however we can, as best we can – day or night, rain or shine.

Psychological Injury Symptoms

Psychological injury symptoms, just their causes, can vary. Because everyone’s mind is different, psychological injuries can manifest differently, even if two people have the same diagnosed condition. 

For instance, PTSD does not manifest the exact same way in everyone; in fact, PTSD symptoms are oftentimes individualized or contingent on a person’s experiences.

Common psychological injury symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Depression or depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideation
  • Anxiety or anxious symptoms, including panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, etc.
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping normally
  • Mood swings or difficulty controlling one’s mood
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Physical manifestations of mental symptoms, like twitchiness, movement urges, etc.

In some cases, the symptoms of psychological injuries may require medical intervention. PTSD, for instance, often requires regular therapy and doctor visits, as well as purchasing expensive medication.

Moreover, if a psychological injury imposes financial costs on the victim, the injured party may be able to recover monetary damages.

How Are Psychological Damages Defined?

Psychological damages are oftentimes a type of noneconomic damage. Noneconomic damages cover any injuries that aren’t “out-of-pocket” losses. They include:

  • Mental anguish (also called emotional distress)
  • Loss of consortium or companionship, such as losing a spouse
  • Humiliation
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

Noneconomic damages are a way for courts to provide financial justice for victims whose injuries are hidden or not visible on the surface. 

However, note that psychological damages can be economic if the psychological injuries in question have impacted your ability to earn money or have resulted in significant costs. For instance, if your psychological damages resulted in severe PTSD and medical bills, you could recover economic compensation to pay for those medical bills.

Still, most psychological damages recovered are noneconomic.

Can You Recover Psychological Damages for Your Injuries?

You can recover psychological damages for your psychological injuries in a variety of cases. However, recovering damages for these injuries is contingent on proving fault and proving that your injuries resulted due to the fault of another party.

As in other injury cases, you must prove:

  • That the accused party had a burden of duty or a standard of care toward you. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, you must prove that the doctor or attending nurse had a duty to provide care to you. 
  • That the accused party breached their burden or duty of care. For instance, if a doctor shows up to a surgery inebriated, they have knowingly or negligently breached their duty of care to their patients.
  • That the breach of duty resulted in your injuries. For example, if the doctor botched the surgery due to their inebriation, resulting in your paranoia or PTSD, you can draw a clear causal line between their actions and your current injuries or suffering.

Because many psychological injuries are hidden, at least at first glance, they can be difficult to prove. Thus, you’ll need to gather important evidence proving:

  • That you have psychological injuries, many of which must be diagnosable (i.e., diagnosed PTSD, diagnosed depression, etc.).
  • That your psychological injuries have an outsized, negative, and present impact on your daily life. For instance, if you have PTSD but don’t suffer any “real-world” consequences because of it, it may be difficult to recover psychological damages.

This is easier with knowledgeable attorneys on your side fighting for your rights. With the right legal team, you’ll have a much easier time both gathering and presenting evidence compellingly in court or in an arbitration or mediation meeting.

Proving Psychological Injuries

Proving psychological injuries can, in certain cases, be more difficult than proving physical injuries. Often, this will require the gathering of such evidence as:

  • Medical notes or documentation from professionals. This can include official diagnosis materials from your therapist or doctor, as well as medication prescriptions to help you manage your psychological injury symptoms.
  • Notes from yourself, such as journal entries. Again, these can be used to show that your psychological injuries have a regular and recurring impact on your day-to-day life.
  • Eyewitness testimonies from friends, family members, and coworkers. Such evidence can prove that you are not the same person you were before the inciting incident and support your claim that your psychological injuries affect your day-to-day life.

How Can Personal Injury Attorneys Help?

The right personal injury attorneys can have an important and positive impact on your upcoming legal action, whether that’s a personal injury lawsuit, a medical malpractice lawsuit, or something else.

First, personal injury attorneys can collect key evidence for you while you recover. This can be highly helpful if your psychological injuries prevent you from leaving home or if they make it difficult for you to recover evidence for whatever reason. Qualified personal injury lawyers can acquire police reports, medical notes, and eyewitness accounts on your behalf.

Next, personal injury attorneys can present evidence compellingly in court to maximize your chances of recovering psychological damages. Your legal team will know what to say and how to say it to show that your psychological injuries are both currently damaging and are the result of the negligence or maliciousness of the at-fault party.

Experienced personal injury attorneys can coach you to make sure you know what to say on your court date. They’ll also be able to advise you throughout the legal process, whether your case ends up in court or if it is settled out of court through arbitration or mediation.

Above all else, personal injury attorneys can provide you with the support you need to get through this time. No one should go through a legal battle alone, and lawyers like Schwartzapfel Lawyers have the experience and empathy you need to make it.

Contact us today at 1-516-342-2200 so that we can fight for you!

How To Find the Right Lawyer

When looking to hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, you deserve the best. As such, you should consider personal injury attorneys who display a few important attributes.

For instance, you should only hire a law firm that operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning: you won’t ever have to pay your lawyers a dime unless they first recover compensation on your behalf. In this way, you don’t have to worry about your financial burdens increasing while you are trying to get psychological damages from the negligent party in your case.

You should also hire a law firm with experience in personal injuries or related cases similar to your own. The more experience a law firm has, the better they’ll be able to leverage that experience to ensure that your case results in a positive outcome.

Lastly, you should hire a law firm that can give your case the attention it is entitled to. If a lawyer can’t answer who among their team will handle your case, walk away. Opt instead for a law firm that has plenty of manpower, and that will focus on your case from beginning to end.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has experienced psychological injuries, you may have grounds to recover damages from the at-fault party. But you don’t have to go through the lawsuit process alone. Schwartzapfel Lawyers is ready to assist with your upcoming legal action, whether that’s a medical malpractice lawsuit, a personal injury lawsuit, or something else entirely.

We can provide the legal counsel you need to make the right decision for you and your family. Contact us today either online or at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


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