Can I Sue a Contractor for Causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
by Ronald (Houston)
On 7/2/11 I was conducting a hydrographic survey of a channel in Texas for the US Army Corps of Engineers. We were surveying the channel to check on the progress of a contractor.
The contractor failed to mark a submerged pipeline which in turn resulted in the violent death of a 12 yr old girl, which I witnessed and had to respond to by rendering aid to the family whose boat was damaged and sinking.
My response included handling the mutilated body and transporting the injured grief stricken family and corpse of the deceased to shore. I have since been diagnosed with severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a direct result of this and am accruing medical debt and mental anguish.
Can I sue the contractor, a dredging company, for my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from their negligence?
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ANSWER for "Can I Sue a Contractor for Causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?":
Probably not. You should know government troops, police officers and firemen see death and destruction on a daily basis. Although a buildup of continued and consistent exposure to such degradation can eventually result in Post traumatic Stress Syndrome, normally one exposure will not be sufficient.
You can always file a claim against the contractor, but if the contractor refuses to settle - and he will, you can be assured of one thing... that you will be on your way to substantial and protracted litigation.
Although what you saw must have been terrible, you would be best to try and get over it. Filing suit against the contractor will expose you to the most insulting cross-examination possible. At a minimum your virility will undoubtedly be questioned.
Going to trial will expose you to probable embarrassment. You may be seen as a person who is looking to profit off the death of a little girl.
Think twice and think hard before you start down the path of a negotiated, or more likely, litigated case. Eventually you may be sorry you ever entertained the idea.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
The accuracy of information provided on this site is not guaranteed. It is generic information for informal purposes only. It is NOT formal legal advice. Your use of this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Before relying on any information found in this site you should consult with a licensed attorney in your state. If you are currently represented by an attorney, you should strictly abide by his/her counsel.