Motorcycle crashes cause two types of injuries: physical injuries, which are visible, and emotional injury, which is often invisible. Motorcycle riders may heal from road rash and broken bones with adequate medical care. But the emotional trauma and mental anguish are often ignored. It feels like it should go away with time. But sometimes it doesn’t, especially if you suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of your motorcycle accident. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church at CAIL is always ready to fight for your fair compensation, to cover your economic damages, and compensate you for PTSD and other non-economic damages.
We understand that it is difficult to talk about traumatic events, especially so soon after they happened. However, if you want to file a motorcycle accident claim successfully, you should get professional legal representation and talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Motorcycle Accident Victims and PTSD: How Does it Happen?
According to Mayo Clinic, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event – either witnessed or in which the person was involved. In all our experience as personal injury lawyers, motorcycle crashes are nothing short of terrifying for everyone involved.
Motorcycle accident injuries can be horrific and extremely painful. Many clients we assisted, although they were wearing protective gear (including a motorcycle helmet) suffered broken limbs, head injuries, spinal injuries, and internal organ damage. Some victims may relive the accident in their dreams almost every night and certain sounds and colors make them remember that terrifying moment.
These are classic symptoms of PTSD, which also include:
- avoidance of places or people that may trigger memories of the event
- striving to stay busy all the time in order to avoid thinking about the accident
- negative thoughts about oneself and other people
- a bleak, pessimistic outlook on the future
- a feeling of detachment from family, friends, and loved ones
- lack of interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
- always being on guard for danger
- sleeping problems, including insomnia
In some of the worst cases, PTSD victims have suicidal thoughts and need immediate medical treatment from a licensed psychiatrist.
Is The Liable Party Responsible for Your PTSD?
Anyone that causes traumatic experiences through their negligence is liable for the severe injuries – both physical and emotional – that they cause to their victims. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church will include all the eligible damages – economic and non-economic – in the accident claim or the legal action taken against the liable party’s insurance company.
After all, if you had not experienced the accident, you would not have ended up with painful injuries, mental anguish, and other psychological traumas which reduce your enjoyment of life and require you to pay for counseling sessions and medication, in some cases.
However, although both logic and common sense say that the fault driver should pay compensation for your emotional anguish, our motorcycle crash lawyers know that in reality, things are more complex. One of the issues that may prevent victims from obtaining maximum compensation – or any kind of compensation – is the way that Virginia laws treat fault in personal injury cases.
Understanding the Contributory Negligence Principle
In any kind of personal injury incident, there is at least one negligent party who bears most of the fault for the accident. In the majority of US states, the person less at fault (less than 50%) is eligible to receive a fair settlement for their economic and non-economic losses.
Unfortunately, Virginia is one of the few states that use a pure contributory fault principle. This principle states that if a person is even 1% at fault for the accident resulting in injury both physically and mentally, they are barred from seeking any kind of compensation from the other party and their insurance company.
This is definitely an unfair principle, but it is the law and insurance companies make the most of it. This is why accident victims need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church who knows how to counteract an insurer’s attempt of claiming that the victim was also partly at fault for their accident.
How to Build a Solid Case for Motorcycle Accident Triggered PTSD
Accident victims need to understand that the only person who can diagnose them with PTSD is a mental health professional. Therefore, your motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church will instruct you to go to a psychological evaluation as soon as possible after you recover from the physical injuries you suffered after the accident.
Any injured motorcyclist needs to know that there is absolutely no shame in admitting to mental health challenges. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), more than 8 million Americans over 18 suffer from PTSD. Even military personnel can suffer from this type of emotional pain, even though they are trained to endure the most horrific circumstances. With proper psychological treatment, you can overcome your trauma and regain a good quality of life.
Returning to the issue of proving your psychological trauma caused by a negligent driver, here is what you should do:
1. Accept All Types of Medical Evaluation
You will receive emergency medical care immediately after the accident and undergo further evaluations in the hospital as your treatment team is trying to heal the catastrophic injuries you suffered. Over the days and weeks, you may notice the first symptoms of PTSD – especially recurring nightmares.
Inform your doctors of these. Even if they are qualified to treat bodily injury, they will refer you to a professional specializing in emotional and mental disorders.
2. Do Not Give Statements about Physical or Psychological Injuries to an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters are not your friends. On the contrary, they will try to obtain any statement that may incriminate you. Remember, in Virginia if you are even 1% at fault, you are not eligible to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Written or recorded testimonies will be used against you. Thus, do not say anything to an adjuster, except for informing them that your motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church will get in contact with them in a short time.
3. Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Falls Church as Soon as Possible
Personal injury law in Virginia states that the statute of limitations (the time motorcycle crash victims have to take legal action after an accident) is 2 years after the date of the crash. Since most types of injuries sustained in such accidents are usually very serious, it may take months until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement and until you are diagnosed with PTSD.
For this reason, as the injured party, you need to prepare your insurance claim and potential personal injury lawsuit ahead of time. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Falls Church needs time to investigate your crash, establish the fault party’s liability and prepare a solid case for negotiations with the insurance company. Our aim is to obtain the maximum monetary compensation you are eligible to receive, but this requires careful preparation and collecting all the relevant evidence.
How Much Money Can You Win in a Motorcycle Injury Claim?
Any settlement agreement or jury award in a personal injury case in Virginia includes two types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. In specific situations, you are also eligible to receive punitive damages at the end of a personal injury lawsuit.
Economic damages represent all the costs, expenses, and financial losses you sustained as a direct consequence of your accident. Victims of motorcycle accidents can recover:
- ambulance ride costs
- emergency room care costs
- hospital bills
- refilling prescriptions
- loss of income
Non-economic damages compensate an injured rider for the emotional trauma impacting their everyday activities and their enjoyment of life. The amount of non-economic damages depends on the impact of the accident on your life. Our law firm takes aggressive action in negotiations and in court to obtain the maximum possible compensation for our clients who suffer from PTSD as a result of a motorcycle crash.
Finally, punitive damages are awarded by the jury at the end of a personal injury lawsuit if you can prove that the at-fault driver acted with gross negligence or malicious intent in causing your accident. For example, speeding and substance abuse are two circumstances that qualify as acting with gross negligence.
Hire an Experienced and Compassionate Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Falls Church
At CAIL, you will receive personalized attention and excellent legal representation. We are dedicated to helping accident victims find justice and obtain the financial compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering.
We know how devastating PTSD can be and how it can prevent you from performing simple tasks and favorite activities. Get in touch with us to schedule a free case review: 1-800-HURT-123!