PTSD and Tort Law

  • Terri R. DayEmail author
  • Ryan C. W. Hall
Reference work entry


This chapter will provide a primer on tort law and the history of post-traumatic stress disorder as related to disability and negligence causation. Key court cases will be referenced, illustrating the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on tort law specifically negligence claims. post-traumatic stress disorder, due, in part, to being recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, has become a vehicle for plaintiffs’ claims to progress through the legal system where in the past stand-alone (e.g., no physical harm) emotional harm claims would have been dismissed. This is why it is important for mental health professionals to understand how courts view these cases and to recognize what their role will be in cases like these. There are special ethical and treatment considerations mental health practitioners need to consider before serving as either a fact or expert witness in these types of court cases due to the potential effect on the treatment relationship.


PTSD Torts Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) Expert witness Ethics 

List of Abbreviations


American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law


American Medical Association


American Psychological Association


American Psychiatric Association


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual


Intentional infliction of emotional distress


Negligent infliction of emotional distress


Post-traumatic stress disorder


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of LawOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical EducationUniversity of Central Florida College of MedicineLake MaryUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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