Proving Emotional Trauma in a Virginia Personal Injury Lawsuit

In July, the AMA Guidelines Editorial Panel announced that it had approved and issued the first content updates to its “AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” since the sixth edition of the guides was issued in 2008. The AMA Guides are the accepted authority on permanent loss of function, using evidence-based medicine, science, and assessment tools to provide diligent methodologies for a fair and consistent evaluation.

These guides are used by doctors when assessing a patient’s permanent impairment. They are also an excellent source in determining the extent of injury damage and necessary compensation in a personal injury lawsuit if those injuries were caused by an accident or incident resulting from another party’s negligent behavior.

New Changes

According to the announcement issued by the AMA Guidelines Editorial Panel, the updates were made in order to provide clarification, as well as update terminology to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders guide. The panel cited the need for the updates due to the significant advances in evidence-based medicine and science related to evaluation of permanent impairment as it applies to mental and behavioral disorders. These changes will greatly improve doctors’ ability to determine the extent of any emotional and mental disorders has on a patient’s life.

Personal Injury Compensation

When a victim is injured in an accident or incident that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party or parties, Virginia law allows that victim to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to be financially compensated for the losses those injuries have caused. Medical expenses, loss of income, while the victim recovers, pain and suffering, and permanent disability are some of the losses a Virginia personal injury attorney can pursue on behalf of the victim. One other area that the victim may be entitled to compensation for is mental trauma.

It is not uncommon for accident victims who have suffered serious injuries to also experience some form of emotional distress. Not only is there the trauma of the incident itself, but the victim often is left struggling with mental health challenges over how much their injuries have impacted their life. Some of the more common mental health issues accident victims can suffer from include:

  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive sensitivity to sounds
  • Flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance
  • Inability to deal with stressful situations
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Night terrors
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Contact Our Office Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious to severe injury as a result of another party’s negligent or reckless actions, contact a Virginia personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn. Our firm has aggressively advocated for victims and their families for more than three decades and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We will evaluate your case and determine what type of damages you may be entitled to.

It is critical to remember that Virginia has placed a statute of limitation for how long victims have to file a claim for damages against those responsible for their injuries, so do not delay. Failure to file before that legal deadline could mean you lose any chance of ever filing your claim or getting justice against the person responsible for your or your loved one’s injuries.

Contact our office today at 800-752-0042 to set up a free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Virginia accident attorneys.





Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia