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Can you recover compensation for PTSD after a car accident in NJ?

A car accident can be an extremely traumatic event. In fact, because of the increased frequency of car accidents and the devastating injuries they can cause, car accidents are one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder. If your car accident was severe enough to trigger PTSD, you may wonder if you can recover compensation for the ways the behavioral disorder negatively impacts your life. According to FindLaw, the good news is, you can. 

When you file a personal injury claim, you may notice that damages fall into one of two categories: Special or general. Special damages refer to losses that are easy to value. Those include medical expenses, property damage and lost wages. General damages, on the other hand, are not so easy to translate into dollars. Damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish fall into this category. 

Because the effects of PTSD are difficult to value, the judge would consider the condition and the symptoms as general damages. To ensure the judge understands the full implications of the condition on your everyday life, you may need an expert to testify on your behalf. The testimony should establish the following: 

  • Whether or not you have a confirmed PTSD diagnosis 
  • Whether the condition is the result of the car accident in question, or if you lived with it prior to the incident 
  • The prognosis of the condition, such as for how long a medical expert expects it to last, and how that would translate in dollar amounts 

One factor to consider when filing a claim for damages is the time it took you to obtain a diagnosis and request treatment. Because the condition is not fully understood, victims and their families often do not notice the warning signs until the symptoms have grown increasingly worse. This results in a delay in diagnosis and treatment, both of which may negatively impact a victim’s case. 

Workers’ compensation: OSHA issues fines for workers’ injury

Employers are responsible for protecting their workers; it is as simple as that. However, some employers in New Jersey seem to take this as more of a suggestion than a legal expectation. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently fined a company after one of its workers was seriously injured — one who likely needed help from workers’ compensation.

The worksite accident happened back in Aug. 2019. The victim — a crane operator for an aluminum manufacturer — was seriously hurt by a steel plate that fell from a crane. He was taken to the hospital and then admitted for further treatment. His employer was supposed to report his injury and hospitalization to OSHA within a period of 24 hours, but it missed that timeframe. It is not clear when the company actually reported the accident.

OSHA issued four citations against the company, one of which was for failing to report the employee’s hospitalization on time. The aluminum manufacturer was also cited for not conducting annual inspections of its cranes and for not securing and balancing the crane’s load. The company is expected to pay nearly $170,000 in penalties and was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

While it is good that OSHA exists to identify violations that cause workplace accidents, it often seems as if this only happens after victims are already hurt. This means that workers’ compensation benefits have to play a supporting role in these victims’ recoveries. Otherwise, some people in New Jersey might feel forced to return to work before they are ready, risking further injury and compromising financial security.

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