Recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has grown in recent years. According to the American Red Cross, 7.8% of Americans have been diagnosed with PTSD, and 30% of those diagnosed are military veterans. Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is working with a veterans group to spotlight PTSD awareness and make more alternative treatments available to veterans. Veterans are not the only Alabama residents who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, however.
Car accidents, slip, and fall accidents, assault, and other incidents can lead to a PTSD diagnosis. If you have developed PTSD from a serious personal injury accident, you may be wondering if you are entitled to compensation. The answer is yes. It is possible to recover compensation for mental injuries under Alabama’s personal injury laws.
How to Recover for Mental Injuries Under Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Law
Worker’s compensation benefits pay weekly cash benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. Workers’ compensation benefits also cover the cost of medical treatment for qualifying employees. Under Alabama’s current law, workers cannot claim workers’ compensation benefits from a mental health issue alone. Instead, they must prove that they have suffered a physical injury and PTSD while on the job.
The injured worker only needs to show that their physical injury was a contributing factor to their mental injury of PTSD. Additionally, a person’s pre-existing disposition to mental injury or mental condition will not affect whether they can receive worker’s compensation benefits as long as the physical injury activates PTSD or candy for PTSD symptoms. The physical injury does not have to be the sole proximate cause of the worker’s PTSD.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD while on the job, it is wise to speak to an attorney who can help you protect your claim. Trying to receive workers’ compensation based partly on a mental injury can be more challenging than physical injuries. Some lawmakers are also hoping to pass a law that would expand workers’ compensation coverage to workers who have been diagnosed with PTSD who do not have a physical illness.
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An Alabama Bill Would Provide First Responders With Compensation for PTSD
The Alabama house recently passed a bill that would provide extra help for First Responders who have been diagnosed with PTSD. If the proposed bill is passed, the law would require local governments to reimburse copays for law enforcement officers and firefighters to receive PTSD treatment.
Recovering Compensation for PTSD After an Accident
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD after a personal injury accident, you may have a valid claim to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. When a car accident or another type of accident is severe enough to trigger PTSD and a victim, the victim can use the Alabama legal system to recover losses caused by the accident. The first step would be to undergo a thorough medical evaluation and diagnose PTSD from a licensed mental health professional.
Under Alabama law, you will need to show that you have experienced a physical injury to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Many car accident victims do suffer some type of physical injury. In some cases, the physical injury will make the PTSD symptoms more severe or even trigger the symptoms in the first place.
In Alabama, plaintiffs can recover either special or general damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Special damages include damages that are easy to value, such as lost wages and medical bills. General damages are more difficult to quantify in a dollar amount, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Suffering from PTSD can have a significant effect on someone’s daily life.
Your attorney can help you place a value on PTSD and the impact your symptoms have on your life as part of your general damages award. You can use expert testimony to prove that you have been diagnosed with PTSD and that the amount of compensation you are requesting is valid based on your symptoms. Expert witnesses can also help provide a prognosis for your PTSD, such as how long it will last. Typically, the more severe the PTSD symptoms, the higher the general damages you can obtain.
Discuss Your Case With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Due to the complex nature of PTSD and other mental illnesses, cases involving PTSD are often more challenging to prove than other personal injury lawsuits. You need an experienced and assertive lawyer on your side to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers.