Can Emotional and Mental Health Injuries be a Part of a Personal Injury Case?
When you think of bringing a lawsuit for injuries that you sustained in a car wreck, slip and fall incident, or other situation where someone else’s negligence has caused you harm, you probably think first of the physical injuries. These kind of injuries often include things like whiplash, broken bones, scars, or brain injuries, and they will be an important element of your damages in your case. Many physical injuries are immediately apparent, and can be further established through your medical records and imaging, as well as testimony from doctors and other healthcare professionals who treated you for those injuries. All of these things will be presented to an insurance company or a jury in order to obtain recover for those injuries, the pain you experienced as a result, the limitations those injuries have placed on your daily life, and the medical bills you incurred to treat those injuries. But being injured in a wreck or other incident can affect more than just your physical wellbeing, it can cause you emotional and mental injuries as well.
Emotional and mental injuries may not be the first thing you think of when you are dealing with the aftermath and physical pain of a car wreck, but they should not be overlooked, and can be an important part of your damages claim in your personal injury case as well. Mental and emotional damages can sometimes be more difficult to convey than damages from physical injuries because they are often very personal and are not always visible to those around you, however, there are a number of ways that you can establish how you have been emotionally and mentally damaged in your case.
If you are struggling with mental or emotional health issues after a car wreck or other incident that caused you injuries and distress, seek treatment. This is important not only because your medical records will reflect what you have told your doctor about how you are feeling, but because it will help you heal and live a better life post-injury. Maybe you have never struggled with feelings of anxiety or depression before you were struck by another vehicle, but now whenever you think about that day, these feelings overcome you. Even if you did experience these symptoms before your injury, talking to your doctor about how those symptoms have worsened or changed, or how you now have additional symptoms, will help establish that these are very real problems that affect your life. Evidence of new prescriptions for medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, or sleeping pills, or changes in the dosages or types of previously prescribed medications, also show how your mental health has been affected.
Records from treatment with mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, is another way to show how you have suffered injuries to your mental and emotional health. While it may seem intimidating at first to speak to a stranger about some of your most personal or troubling thoughts and feelings, this type of treatment can be very helpful in your recovery, as it can teach you various coping mechanisms to deal with the distressful thoughts you may be experiencing. Even talking to a priest, pastor, or other spiritual advisor can help. As your case progresses, these types of individuals could be helpful witnesses to establish how an incident or your injuries have negatively impacted your mental health.
Your friends, family, and co-workers may have also observed how your personality, demeanor, and emotional regulation have been affected as a result of your injury, and can provide testimony to help establish your mental health injuries in your personal injury case. Family members can give specific descriptions and examples of your mood and habits before the incident, and how those things have changed since you were injured. These types of changes, described by those who knew you best, can go a long way to establish how your mental health has been impacted as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Discussing your mental and emotional health can be a difficult thing even in the best of circumstances, let alone when you have been injured and are struggling with physical pain and symptoms as well, but these are an important part of your personal injury claim. Seeking the help that you need to cope with your emotional injuries will not only help you to live a little better after what you have gone through, but it can also help to show the high value of your claim and help obtain compensation for those injuries, as well as physical ones.