Proving Psychological Trauma in Auto Accident Victims

by AlexandraAntonopoulos on July 13, 2020

Mental anguish can be difficult to express for some auto accident victims and may, at times, even go undiagnosed. What one person experiences during a collision and in the months or years following it could be completely different than the experience of the passenger they sat next to. Because emotional experiences are subjective, quantifying trauma in psychological injury cases can be a challenging task. According to Forensic Psychologist Expert Witnesses, conducting a complete psychological assessment of a client is integral to proving that the mental trauma they sustained is a result of their accident.

According to some personal injury attorney services juries are skeptical of injuries they cannot see, which makes the testimony of expert witnesses and personal acquaintances of the plaintiff all the more important. A psychiatrist familiar with the plaintiff’s mental state can corroborate anecdotal evidence of trauma, while friends or family members who knew the plaintiff before their accident can attest to the change in their demeanor or lifestyle as a result of their injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer or an auto accident attorney can select the most compelling testimonies to highlight the anxiety and stress the plaintiff suffered after the crash, or other specific symptoms relating to their condition, like depression, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, feelings of helplessness, insomnia, or aggression.

Utilizing the expertise of a psychiatrist will help establish the following points of argument: the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries; the fact that the injuries are a direct result of the plaintiff’s accident; the plaintiff’s prognosis for recovery. Although expert testimony is helpful in these cases, it should be noted that juries may be wary of a plaintiff’s over-exaggeration of their suffering, which makes the inclusion of non-subjective psychological testing even more important.

Emphasizing the long term effects of psychological trauma is another crucial aspect of proving a plaintiff’s claim of mental anguish, as well as their potential to hold steady employment and function in their environment. According to an auto accident attorney the spectrum of psychological illnesses an auto accident victim can sustain is wide, and offering the jury informed, sincere insight into their experience can be the key to proving their claim.

Alexandra is a writer and blogger for a number of law firms across the country. She holds an MA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in arts administration with an emphasis on marketing and communications.

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