Compensation For Traumatic Incidents: How To Prove Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Damages

Posted on: 8 May 2015

About 60% of all men and 50% of all women will have at least one traumatic experience in their life. Simply going through a traumatic situation does not necessarily mean that you'll suffer from a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Only about 7 to 8% of the American population will ever struggle with PTSD some time in their lives. If you are struggling with PTSD after a traumatic experience, speak with a personal injury attorney, as it can be difficult to make a claim without legal advice. To back up your claims, you will need to have both expert and fact witnesses.

Getting Diagnosed with an Expert Who Will Give a Testimony in Your Favor

In order to make a claim for PTSD, your personal injury attorney will require that you sit down with an expert to discuss your symptoms and how the incident may have caused PTSD and brought about those particular symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), common symptoms of PTSD include: 

  • re-experiencing the incident through flashbacks of the trauma, having bad dreams, which may lead to sleepless nights, and possessing frightening thoughts. 
  • avoiding triggers that relate to the incident. This may include avoiding certain places and events, feeling emotionally numb or unavailable, losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable in the past, and more.
  • experiencing hyperarousal symptoms. These symptoms are usually quite constant and are not due to certain triggers. Those with PTSD feel easily startled and tense. They may also have less control over their emotions.

You may need to attend several sessions with an expert over the course of a month or several months in order to better record and track the progress of the PTSD. Keep in mind that the plaintiff will also likely hire his or her own expert to make an assessment on their behalf as well.

The expert witness is required to testify their qualifications in court to a judge, and also provide a basic outline of what PTSD is and what the common symptoms are. The expert will also provide details regarding the symptoms that you exhibit and how they may affect your life. Hiring an expert witness is not cheap. The average hourly rate for all medical experts is about $555.

Backing Up the Claims with a Fact Witness

After the expert witness has provided their testimony regarding what PTSD is, the symptoms that you exhibit, treatments that they have recommended for you, your overall progress and other crucial facts, it is crucial that you have a fact witness take the stand. Your fact witness is generally someone who is close to you or someone that you are around a lot.

The fact witness is responsible for backing up the claims that the expert witness has made, and can prove that you do indeed exhibit the symptoms that have been explained on a regular basis. For example, if you are emotionally unstable as a result of the traumatic incident, the fact witness is responsible for explaining in detail the changes that he or she has witness in your behavior. Your personal injury attorney will be responsible for sitting down with your fact witness in order to go through what they will be testifying in court. 


Dealing with PTSD is not an easy task – especially since this psychologically condition can be rather difficult to treat. If you are struggling with PTSD, you will require a lot of rehabilitative treatments that can become extremely costly. Speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can to determine whether you can take any legal action to request compensation from the responsible party.