The Personal Injury Blog

Mental Health Awareness Day: Psychological symptoms from traumatic accidents

Wednesday 10th October 2018 was Mental Health Awareness day.

It is thought that as many as 40% of GP appointments relate to mental health either directly or indirectly.

Over half of the population will suffer with psychological/psychiatric symptoms at some point in their life for many different reasons and one of those may be as a result of suffering an injury as a result of a traumatic accident. As with physical injury claims, in order to claim for psychological damage an injured person must have suffered injuries which have been caused by someone else’s negligence. These injuries can include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, travel anxiety, situational phobias and a range of other conditions and may cause significant, debilitating life-changing effects. Often, the non-physical injuries cause greater disability and life-changing effects than the physical injuries.

Psychological/psychiatric injury claims usually arise where the client has also suffered physical injuries but may also exist in their own right in certain situations where there has been no physical injury.

There are two categories of people who are eligible to claim for such injuries: primary and secondary victims.

The majority of claimants are primary victims that is, persons who have suffered direct injury as result of an accident.

Secondary victims are persons who have suffered non-physical injury as a result of witnessing an accident causing injury to another person or have seen the “immediate after-effects” of such an injury such as seeing the injured person shortly after the accident or in the A&E Department of a hospital.

In order to claim for psychiatric injuries as a secondary victim, the person must have “a close tie of love and affection” with the person suffering injury such as if it was their husband or wife, partner, parent or child. They must also see them being injured or soon after the accident.

Mental health injury symptoms vary depending upon the severity of the condition and may include flashbacks, nightmares, low mood, sleep deprivation, emotional detachment, avoidance of the scene of the accident, bouts of anger and intense feelings of worry. All those symptoms have significant effects on an individual’s day to day lives and may lead to an individual losing their job, requiring care and/or needing further treatment.

Clients can claim for compensation for their psychiatric/psychological injuries even if they have a pre-existing mental health condition if the existing condition is made substantially worse as a result of the traumatic incident.

In order to prove that you have suffered a psychological injury as a result of a personal injury claim a client will be examined by a psychologist or psychiatrist who will prepare a medical expert’s report dealing with the condition or conditions caused by the incident as well as the impact of the symptoms on their daily lives and also to provide a prognosis period for their symptoms and details of any treatment needed such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and medication.

The report will assist the Claimant’s lawyer to adequately and correctly value the amount of the claim, which often includes the costs of treatment. In some cases, a solicitor will advise a client to undergo the recommended treatment (which the opponent’s insurers may well pay for) before the claim is settled to ensure that their recovery is as predicted by the medical expert.

Should you, your friends or family have suffered any type of injury as a result of another’s negligence, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0114 218 4000 or email and one of our very friendly team will be able to assist.

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