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Can PTSD Be Included in a Nebraska Personal Injury Claim?

By Jason Bottlinger on August 10, 2023

PTSD is an abbreviation for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a mental condition triggered by a traumatic event. Most personal injury incidents can cause PTSD, including motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and pedestrian accidents. Damages for PTSD may be included in a personal injury claim; however, PTSD alone is not worth compensation.

What Is Involved in a Nebraska Personal Injury Claim?

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. They must show that the defendant had a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.

Nebraska applies a principle of comparative negligence in determining compensation for personal injury, in which a percentage of fault may be assigned to each party, and the compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Your attorney will need to show that the responsible party was negligent and more than 50% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. To recover damages for a mental injury, such as PTSD, your Omaha personal injury lawyer will need to show that the physical injury caused the mental or psychological injury.

To qualify for an official diagnosis and compensation for PTSD suffered in connection with a personal injury incident, you must have been directly exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened sexual violence, or actual or threatened serious injury. A car accident, truck accident, or other serious personal injury could certainly meet this criteria. In addition, the traumatic event must be persistently re-experienced by the victim as nightmares, flashbacks, emotional distress, unwanted and upsetting memories, or physical reactivity after being exposed to traumatic reminders.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD are unique to each individual, and everyone is different. Common symptoms include:

  • Intrusive thoughts or images
  • Vivid flashbacks, as though the traumatic event is happening in the present
  • Intense distress at reminders of the trauma
  • Nightmares
  • Physical sensations, such as pain, nausea, sweating, or trembling

A person experiencing PTSD may also experience the following:

  • Panic when reminded of the trauma
  • Extreme alertness, or hypervigilance
  • Difficulty concentrating, even on simple, ordinary tasks
  • Disturbed sleep or difficulty sleeping
  • Being easily upset or angered
  • Jumpiness or startling easily

Injury victims who have PTSD may avoid feelings or memories, which may involve the following:

  • Feeling like they have to stay busy
  • Being unable to remember the details of the incident
  • Avoiding anything that reminds them of the trauma
  • Feeling physically numb and detached from the body
  • Feeling emotionally numb and cut off from feelings
  • Being unable to express affection
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Using drugs or alcohol to avoid memories

Victims may feel like they cannot trust anyone and nowhere is safe. They may feel that nobody understands, blame themselves for what occurred, and experience overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or sadness.

PTSD can also have physical effects, as emotional stress causes the body to release cortisol and adrenaline as part of its “fight or flight” mechanism. Physical effects may include dizziness, chest pains, stomach aches, and headaches.

How Can an Omaha Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we can investigate your accident and injuries, gather evidence to support your claim, and assess the full extent of your damages, including PTSD. Our Omaha legal team has the knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve and protect your rights every step of the way.

If you have been a victim of personal injury and are suffering from PTSD as a result, we want to hear about it. Reach out to us at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.

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