Can I Claim for Psychological Injuries after an Accident?

20 November 2020

When someone suffers a psychological injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t their fault, they could be entitled to claim psychological injury compensation in the same way as they could for a physical injury. A psychological injury occurs when someone develops a mental health problem as a direct result of a traumatic event or series of events.

What is a psychological injury?

A psychological injury can manifest in a number of ways. Some of the most common psychological injuries include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, phobias, chronic pain syndrome and adjustment disorder.

Psychological injuries can have just as significant an impact on a person’s life as physical injuries do. In some instances the impact of a psychological injury may even be greater, with longer lasting effects. For example, a psychological injury could result in the injured person being unable to work or maintain relationships. They may have trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating or turn to alcohol or drug misuse. Consequently, a psychological injury can have a very negative effect not only on the life of the injured person, but also on the lives of those around them.

What causes psychological injuries?

Psychological injuries can be caused by a traumatic event or series of events which the person in question has either been involved in or has witnessed. For example, it could be the event of an accident itself which has triggered PTSD or anxiety, or it could be that physical injuries sustained in an accident have had a long-term impact on the person’s quality of life, triggering depression or adjustment disorder.

Someone who has suffered a psychological injury as a result of a traumatic event could experience nightmares or flashbacks of the event. They could feel as though they are in some way responsible for what happened, experiencing feelings of guilt or sorrow and they may show signs of confusion and irritability.

How to claim for psychological injuries

A psychological injury claim works in exactly the same way as a claim for a physical injury. When someone suffers a psychological injury as a result of the negligence of another person or party (such as an employer), then they are entitled to claim compensation for the pain and suffering that this has caused, as well as for any costs of treatment, loss of earnings and other expenses that they have incurred as a result of the injury.

A psychological injury claim can be brought alongside a claim for any physical injuries that have also been suffered. Alternatively, if no physical injuries have been sustained then a claim can be brought for the psychological injury (or injuries) alone.

Specialist medical assessments should be conducted and reports obtained to formally diagnose the psychological injuries, establish the severity of these and to identify the long-term effects these are likely to have on the life of the injured person.

At Co-op Legal Services, our Personal Injury Solicitors understand how difficult it can be to live with a psychological injury. Our Solicitors will offer you support and guidance throughout your claim, arranging medical assessments and examinations where necessary, and we will ensure that you are properly and fairly compensated for your injury.

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