Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complicated and difficult condition that is often dismissed or undiagnosed. As long-time defenders of the injured, John Foy & Associates has seen countless cases of accident victims who have traumatic responses to a bad experience. PTSD is hard to understand, often invoking a “get hold of yourself” response instead of the proper psychiatric care required.
“This is a serious life-altering medical condition. It’s critically important that somebody gets help from the right people,’’ says our firm founder, John Foy. An experienced physician can provide proper medical care, and our PTSD attorneys can advise you on legal issues. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, give our firm a call at 404-400-4000. Your call will be free and confidential.
What is a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as an anxiety disorder; sufferers feel stressed or anxious when they are no longer in danger. It’s often a reaction to an injury or traumatic event. We’ve seen people be afraid to drive or get into a car after an accident. Most people understand that soldiers in combat zones may suffer from PTSD, but they don’t understand that anyone can get PTSD at anytime in his or her life. A passenger in a major car accident, a pedestrian hit by a bicycle, a father who slips and falls at a department store can all suffer from PTSD. Even someone who witnesses such an incident can develop this disorder.
How do I know if I have PTSD? What are the symptoms?
The National Institute for Mental Health lists PTSD symptoms, which include:
- Re-experiencing the trauma with flashbacks, nightmares or frightening thoughts.
- Feeling numb, deliberating avoiding certain situations
- Having trouble remembering
- Feeling depressed or guilty all the time
- Being hyper-aroused, jittery, on edge
- Angry outbursts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts.
Children are susceptible to PTSD as well. They often react differently from adults. They may become unusually cling, regress in behavior and bed wet or revert to “baby talk.”
A person close to the sufferer may be the first one to notice these differences. If we suspect PTSD or a brain injury, we often interview a close relative to see if our client’s behavior has changed significantly since an injury.
What are the common causes for PTSD?
The British Health Service estimates that one out of three people who suffer a severe trauma will develop PTSD. These traumas can be serious car accidents, witnessing a violent death, prolonged sexual abuse, an unexpected severe injury, military combat, pain and injury, and natural disasters.
At John Foy & Associates, we often see PTSD clients who have had serious head injuries or have been in serious car accidents. “An experienced attorney that deals with injuries all the time is in a better position to help identify an issue, and if so get you the help you need,” says John Foy. We can explain the injury to an insurance company or a jury, if your case goes to court.
Is there a time limit to sue over PTSD?
There is a time limit for all personal injury cases–generally it’s two years with earlier exceptions. It’s important to treat all injuries seriously and to seek legal, as well as medical help. Most people don’t want to accept an accident’s seriousness. Says John Foy, “Somebody calls and says, ‘I was just in a little fender bender I don’t even know if you can help me.’ As time goes by, more things develop. Some of these people end up having really significant injuries.”
Protect yourself and your loved ones by seeking legal help once you’ve had an accident or serious injury. PTSD can manifest itself after your physical wounds have healed. Once you sign off with an insurance carrier, your right to get more money for treatment is forfeited.
How are PTSD cases different from other personal injury cases?
With a physical injury, there is a simple and obvious healing trajectory—it’s very clear that your bone is broken, you receive treatment and your bone heals. “Post-traumatic stress disorder issues are oftentimes not easy to identify or they may not surface for a little while later after an incident,’’ says John Foy. A client may seem a little odd, with personality changes that only seem obvious to the closest friend or relative.
Some people end up having really significant PTSD injuries. They continue to have lingering headaches, numbness or tingling–signs that they may have PTSD or a brain injury. Some of our clients have trouble getting back into a car to drive again.
“We try to talk to the spouse or child and see if they’ve noticed any behavioral changes, which may point to a brain injury or an anxiety disorder,’’ he says.
What if my PTSD is from work? What kind of case is that and what can I expect?
If you suspect your PTSD is related to your job, contact a Workers Compensation attorney at John Foy and Associates, at 404-400-4000. We’ll help you figure out if this is a personal injury or a workers compensation case. Both types of suits are difficult to maneuver and without a seasoned attorney, you’re leaving yourself helpless.
Workers Compensation cases can offer a permanent impairment that would provide future benefits.
It seems like it might be difficult to prove that I have PTSD. Should I let that keep me from pursuing a case?
PTSD can absolutely be difficult to prove and that’s exactly why you need the right people on your side. “These are complicated matters, it’s a complicated injury,” says John Foy. “It’s critical to get proper testing by a doctor, typically a neurologist.”
If you suspect you have PTSD, you are struggling with a serious life-altering medical condition. As one of Atlanta’s most established personal injury firms, we have access to the best medical providers in the Southeast. We can help you get a proper medical diagnosis with treatment while your suit ensues. These physicians and medical professionals provide needed care and document the serious injuries. If there is no settlement, you owe us nothing.
What can I expect to recover from a PTSD case?
As in all personal injury cases, you are eligible for three components:
The cost of all reasonable and possibly future medical treatment; payment for wages lost due to the injury; and pain and suffering. A more significant injury generally requires a long rehabilitation, creating a larger recovery for pain and suffering.
How can a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder lawyer help me?
A person suffering from PTSD has much anxiety and nervousness. His or her loved ones are left coping with a changed person. Everyone is frightened and concerned. This is not the time to try to solve a personal injury case on your own. It’s also not the time to hire an attorney whose expertise is something other than personal injury law.
It’s easy for the general public to dismiss a person with PTSD as someone who is weak or who brought on this disorder because they couldn’t “handle” an experience. That attitude is grossly inaccurate, not to mention insensitive. Our experienced PTSD attorneys have successfully walked insurance carriers through what our client needs. We have persuaded juries that PTSD can hurt someone more permanently than a horrific physical injury.
Give our firm a call at 404-400-4000. Every day of the year, 24 hours a day, someone who can help you will answer our phone. Your call and consultation with an attorney are free and confidential.