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How Do I File a PTSD Lawsuit?

Memory-related problems are common after suffering through a traumatic event.
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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2014
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If an individual has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and feels that negligence or incompetence from certain officials contributed to the circumstances — or that due compensation has not been received — then a PTSD lawsuit may be considered. An individual should first receive a medical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. The individual should then determine whether to join a class action lawsuit with other plaintiffs or whether to seek singular compensation. Consultation with legal counsel is crucial in either case. Paperwork, summons, evidence gathering, and funding are other important steps in filing a PTSD lawsuit, although regional details may vary.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an officially recognized psychiatric condition that results from physical or emotional trauma. While certain symptoms like depression, intense fear, and sleep or memory-related problems are normal after such events, these factors can become debilitating to daily functioning. In such cases, a diagnosis of PTSD often occurs. Since military and law enforcement personnel often witness or experience chaotic and violent events — such as shootings and bombings, along with the resulting injury and death — PTSD can become a particularly prominent problem in these career areas.

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Based on prior precedents, some general factors will make filing a PTSD lawsuit easier. For one, the individual in question should meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder as designated by medical professionals. In military cases, the individual’s chances for a lawsuit are also greater if he or she was in active military service and was subsequently discharged due to this condition. Further, individuals who may undergo a medical discharge are often assigned a disability rating that measures the level of impairment. A PTSD-diagnosed individual should generally receive a disability rating of less than one half, or 50 percent, which will often entitle the individual to disability benefits.

Class action lawsuits appear to have better success rates in PTSD-related cases. This circumstance occurs when several individuals with the same grievance file a lawsuit against a common defendant. Individuals who may qualify for a class action lawsuit often receive notice through mailings or other public notices. Information about pending lawsuits may also be obtained online. Typically, the process for joining a class action lawsuit is easier because the initial paperwork and steps have already been taken.

The first step in filing a personal PTSD lawsuit is to consult with legal counsel. Depending on the region, this professional may go by different names or have different responsibilities. The legal counsel will help determine the parameters of the lawsuit, such as the amount of compensation sought. He or she will also be responsible for composing and filing the paperwork that will initiate the lawsuit. In order to find a competent counsel — ideally with experience in personal injury lawsuits — the lawsuit seeker might peruse referral services and legal associations that rate legal counsel.

Both the plaintiff and the legal counsel should work to determine the nature of the complaint, who is being sued, and what is being sought, because this information is usually part of a court's lawsuit summons. During this process, evidence should also be gathered that will help prove the plaintiff's case. Further, jurisdiction should be established; it is important to note that specific jurisdictional requirements may differ by region. For example, if the plaintiff is a police officer who is injured on the job, then the lawsuit must typically be filed in the region where the injury took place.

Paying lawsuit fees is another important factor to consider when filing a PTSD lawsuit. Many individuals may sell belongings or obtain loans. Others might seek a lawsuit cash advance, in which some legal finance companies will fund a lawsuit provided the client's attorney has filed a petition that outlines the amount of compensation sought and the details of the case itself. If the company believes that the client stands a good chance of success, it may offer the advance. In most cases, compensation for the company itself would be provided from the lawsuit's earnings.

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