Psychological injury is defined as some type of mental impairment or dysfunction caused by a physical injury, an act of violence, or a traumatic event that results in mental harm.
Some types of accidents or traumatic incidents result in physical injuries as well as mental impairment. When mental harm reaches a state of impairment that causes significant dysfunction in a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, the condition is referred to as psychological injury. Under these conditions, the victim may be able to file a tort action or lawsuit with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago for compensable damages.
Psychological injury is a complex condition that is usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist or neurologist. Common psychological injuries include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Abnormal fears and phobias
In some cases, psychological injury is caused by a direct event such a motor vehicle collision, physical assault, violent or negligent act, or witnessing a traumatic event. Active-combat service members and victims of physical and/or sexual assault often suffer from PTSD, a mental condition that alters a person’s thinking and increases the risk of suicide. People injured in car crashes or sports events often suffer TBI caused by a severe blow to the head. Personal injury lawyers in Chicago often see TBI injuries linked to athletic sports such as football, soccer, skiing, snowboarding, and jet skiing, even in teens and young children.
Filing a Claim for Psychological Injury
People diagnosed with psychological injury may claim damages against the party responsible for the injury with proof that validates a direct link between an event and the injury. Claimable injuries are often linked to events such as motor vehicular crashes and negligent actions that cause mental impairments, disorders, and disabilities, or exacerbate a pre-existing condition. A personal injury lawyer in Chicago can initiate legal actions against the responsible party.
Litigation involving psychological injury cases is handled in civil court, even though some cases may involve elements of criminal behavior. Assessment and diagnosis by a licensed, mental health professional is key to the successful outcome of a case. A thorough examination, accurate diagnosis and prognosis, and documented medical records showing treatments, prescriptions, and therapy session notes are essential to seek damages for psychological injury. If a plaintiff has a pre-existing mental condition, proof must be shown that his/her condition was exacerbated by the accident or traumatic event linked to psychological injury.