Experiencing an extremely traumatic or stressful event can have serious ramifications on a person’s life. The incident’s aftermath could result in a condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can cause significant and potentially severe physical and/or mental manifestations, as well as grave limitations on someone’s ability to exist on a day to day basis and hold a job.
In such instances, afflicted persons might need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to help them acquire the financial assistance that may be necessary for their survival. We invite you to read the following brief piece on PTSD and the legal steps victims can take to get some semblance of their lives back.
How Is One Diagnosed with PTSD?
Merely experiencing a stressful event and having backflashes of it are not enough to be considered a PTSD sufferer in the eyes of the medical or legal community. Persons with PTSD cope with a variety of symptoms that fall into the following four categories:
- Reexperiencing symptoms.
- Avoidance symptoms.
- Triggered or reactivity symptoms.
- Cognition and mood symptoms.
Re-experiencing symptoms often result in problems such as:
- Flashbacks that cause the person to relive the traumatic event.
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Steering clear of anything that might remind the afflicted of the incident in question, such as places, people, objects, or even thoughts. Triggers or reactivity manifestations can include:
- The person being easily excited or startled.
- Bursts of anger or rage.
- Cognition issues might result in the afflicted experiencing:
- Memory difficulties.
- Lack of concentration.
- A diminished interest in daily activities.
To formally receive a PTSD diagnosis, the stricken must, for at least one month, display:
- One re-experiencing symptom
- One avoidance and trigger symptom
- Two trigger symptoms
- Two cognition and mood manifestations.
In addition, the symptoms must be severe enough as to disrupt the afflicted individual’s everyday existence.
Can You Receive Benefits If You Have PTSD?
Typically, the most common benefit a PTSD sufferer can be awarded is social security disability. To qualify, the Social Security Administration requires that in addition to a medical diagnosis and documented statements from a physician, the applicant must prove many if not all of the following symptoms:
- That he or she is incapable of adapting to a different environment, properly managing daily affairs, or conducting everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning and dressing.
- That he or she cannot properly interact with others.
- That he or she would not be able to maintain a concentration level necessary to complete basic tasks.
- That he or she would be unable to learn, understand, or remember new information.
Certain individuals with PTSD may not be able to face these challenges if only because they are living in a medically supervised, guarded facility like a hospital or mental health complex. Such people can still receive social security disability. However, they will need to document the following:
- That his or her PTSD has lasted for at least two years.
- That his or her mental state is fragile and the individual is not capable of adjusting to a less supervised environment.
- That he or she will continue to require ongoing medical treatment or will continue to live in protected surroundings.
Those who do not satisfy these mandates may still be able to receive disability payments through what is known as a medical-vocational allowance. This benefit is determined based upon several factors, including the applicant’s:
- Employment history.
- Level of education.
- Functional capacity.
If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD caused by someone’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your legal options.
Thanks to authors at Martin Wren, P.C. for their insight into Personal Injury Law.