As you may be aware, personal injury claims can sometimes be made if you’re injured in an accident caused by somebody else. It’s quite common to claim for injuries like broken bones, amputations, tendon damage and head injuries. But what many people don’t realise is that you can sometimes claim compensation for any psychological injuries that result from the accident. That means you could claim if a car crash leaves you feeling anxious or if Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following an accident at work means it’s difficult for you to cope.
In this article on claiming compensation for psychological injuries, we’ll look at what forms of mental harm can be claimed for and how claims are processed.
Our solicitors specialise in personal injury claims, and our advisors provide an initial consultation, for free, where your claim will primarily be reviewed and your options explored. If it’s clear that a psychological injury claim has a reasonable chance of success, we’ll refer you to one of our personal injury lawyers. They’ll provide their legal expertise on a No Win, No Fee basis if your case is accepted.
If you’ve suffered mental harm or psychological injuries because of an accident that wasn’t your fault, call us on 0800 652 1345 for free advice. Alternatively, to learn more before contacting us, please feel free to continue reading.
What types of claims often include compensation for psychological injuries?
Essentially, any type of compensation claim could include an element for psychological injuries. Some of the most common claims we deal with include:
If you have suffered psychologically as a result of an accident that somebody else caused, why not call to discuss your claim with us for free?
Causes of psychiatric harm
Let’s now consider why you may decide to make a psychological injury claim. You could claim if you:
- Were involved in a near-death accident.
- Suffered permanent damage to your eyesight from negligent laser eye surgery.
- Were involved in a serious car crash.
- Witnessed a violent attack or terrorist attack.
- Witnessed a violent death.
- Were injured in an accident where a family member was fatally or seriously injured.
These are just a few examples of why claims are made so please get in touch if a scenario matching yours is not listed. We’ll review your claim for free and explain what options are available to you.
What types of psychological injuries could I be compensated for?
There are several types of psychological injuries that could result in a compensation claim. Some of the more common include:
- Adjustment disorders.
- Stress at work.
- Mood disorders.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD compensation claims).
Symptoms of a psychological injury
There are various symptoms of psychiatric issues that can range in severity. Some will be moderate and last a few days or weeks whilst others may persist for months or even years. Some of the symptoms that could result in a psychological injuries claim include:
- Trouble getting to sleep.
- Feeling restless or worried.
- Not being able to relax due to acute anxiety.
- Low mood.
- Lack of motivation.
- Avoidance – where you can’t go near the place the accident occurred.
- Heart palpitations and dizziness.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Feeling emotional or irritable.
- Avoiding discussing the event.
If you do decide to claim compensation for your psychological injuries, and your claim is accepted, a medical assessment will be needed with an independent specialist. During the meeting (which can usually be arranged locally), the specialist will review your medical notes and discuss how you’ve been affected.
Your medical review is nothing to worry about. It’s not a trial, it’s simply a way of determining how you’ve suffered and what your prognosis is for the future. Your solicitor will explain this in more detail before the meeting occurs.
Can I claim compensation for psychological injuries?
Before a solicitor will take on any type of personal injury claim, they’ll want to review its viability. To do this, they’ll check with the claimant whether:
- The defendant in the case owed them a duty of care; and
- As a result of negligence, the duty of care was breached and an accident or incident occurred; and
- Psychological injuries were caused as a direct result of the incident.
As you might imagine, it’s not always the easiest thing in the world to prove who was responsible for a) the accident and b) your injuries. That’s why we’d suggest taking on the support of a personal injury solicitor.
I wasn’t injured directly, could I still claim compensation?
Compensation for mental harm or psychiatric damage can be claimed by:
- Primary victims. These are claimants who have been directly harmed following an accident. For example, an injured cyclist who was hit by a car could claim if they are anxious about going out on their bike again.
- Secondary victims. Close relatives and partners could claim if they were at the scene (or immediate aftermath) of an accident where their loved one was involved in a serious accident. The victim must have already established that their accident was caused by negligence for this type of claim to proceed.
The next step is to prove how you’ve suffered and how the accident occurred. So let’s take a look at what proof you could use to establish this, next.
Providing proof to support a psychological injury claim
Whether you’re claiming for psychological or physical injuries, you’ll need to prove what caused your suffering and who was to blame. That’s because most claims will be dealt with by the defendant’s insurers. They won’t typically make any compensation payment unless you can prove to them why their client was responsible for your injuries.
- Photos. To help demonstrate the primary cause of your suffering, photographs of the aftermath of a violent robbery, for example, can be useful. Where possible, you should try to safely take photos from various angles before anything is removed from the scene.
- CCTV recordings. If a car accident, for example, was captured on CCTV cameras or a dashcam, it’s a good idea to request a copy of the relevant footage as soon as possible.
- Accident reports. To help prove that an accident actually occurred, you should ask for a copy of the accident report form. This is a legal requirement if your accident occurred on business premises or in most public places.
- Witness information. Another way of proving what caused the accident to occur, witnesses might be asked to provide a statement of what they saw. As such, ask anybody who saw your accident occur to provide their contact details in case your solicitor needs to contact them later on.
- Medical records. As mentioned earlier, an independent report will be required to provide details of your psychological injuries. However, if you visited your GP prior to that, your medical records could also be used to ascertain how you’ve suffered.
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE reports). If you were injured in a serious accident at work, it is likely to have been reported to the HSE. An investigation report could be obtained to help prove what happened and how the incident led to mental suffering.
- A diary. To help prove how you’ve suffered, it’s a good idea to maintain a diary following your accident. This could include information about any events you’ve missed, when you couldn’t work or any costs that you’ve incurred because of your injuries.
As part of our initial consultation, we’ll review any proof you’ve managed to obtain so far. If anything extra is required, we’ll let you know and we could appoint one of our personal injury solicitors to start representing you right away.
Compensation levels for psychological injury
As with any personal injury claim, whether physical or psychological, the amount of compensation awarded in any successful claim will depend upon the severity of the injury and the impact on a person’s everyday life. In common with physical injuries, a successful psychological injury claim could result in compensation covering loss of earnings as well as medical treatment/advice paid for outside of the NHS.
Historically the severity of psychological injuries tends to fall within one of five different groups which include:-
- Severe psychological issues that have impacted the claimants working and private life. Unfortunately, there are some psychological issues that are difficult to treat with limited success even in the longer term. While the guidelines can change, historically compensation for this degree of injury varies between £54,830 and £115,730.
- So-called “moderately severe psychological trauma” is more treatable by the medical profession although would still likely leave lasting psychological scars on a person’s life and personality. In this instance, claims have historically varied between £19,070 and £54,830 although nothing is set in stone.
- Psychological injuries where there is a reason for hope in the longer term and an encouraging prognosis are referred to as “moderate psychological trauma”. While they may still have an impact on the claimant’s life, the effect is generally moderate. Traditionally compensation payments of between £5,860 and £19,070 have been achieved.
- Incidents that result in a less severe degree of psychological trauma and no long-term impact on a person’s life tend to attract compensation awards of between £1,540 and £5,860.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a whole different issue in its own right. PTSD can be brought on by many different traumatic events and compensation could range from just a couple of thousand pounds to the tens of thousands of pounds.
Claiming compensation if you’ve been a victim of a violent crime
If you are the victim of a violent crime, you may suffer mental injuries that last much longer than any physical symptoms. In some cases, you may decide to take action and seek compensation for that suffering. If that’s the case, you could claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if a personal injury claim is not possible. Importantly, you could do so even if the criminal involved was never caught, charged or prosecuted.
Claims through the CICA can be made for assault, robbery, rape or historical abuse. One of the main criteria is that you must have reported the crime to the police and have a crime reference number.
Our solicitors can help with CICA claims so please get in touch if you’d like us to consider your case for free.
Psychological injury compensation claims time limits
Whether you claim through the CICA scheme, make a personal injury claim or seek damages for medical negligence, a time limit will apply. The limits vary depending on the type of claim. Generally, for psychological harm they are:
- 2 years for claims through the CICA scheme.
- 3 years for personal injury and medical negligence claims.
Usually, the time limits apply from the date of the accident or when you reported the crime to the police. However, in exceptional circumstances, these deadlines can be extended.
For example, if you weren’t able to speak about historical abuse until later on in life, the CICA will usually accept your claim within 2-years of the crime being reported to the police. Similarly, if your symptoms left you without the mental capacity to deal with a claim, a litigation friend could handle the claim, or the limitation period would begin from when you recover.
It’s advisable to start a claim as soon as possible where you can. That will allow your solicitor enough time to gather evidence and medical reports to support your case. If you would like us to verify how long you have left to make your claim, please call us for free advice today.
Claiming for psychological injury on a No Win, No Fee basis
If you’re having to deal with mental harm following an incident that wasn’t your fault, the last thing you’ll need is extra concerns about the cost of having a solicitor to help you claim. Don’t worry, though, as our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for any claim they take on.
As a result, you won’t need to pay any solicitor’s fees upfront. Also, you won’t pay your solicitor for their work if your No Win, No Fee claim doesn’t work out.
A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) will formalise the No Win, No Fee service. It will explain what work your solicitor will do and show you what they’ll need to achieve before you need to pay their ‘success fee’. Success fees are explained in this article.
This fee is an agreed percentage that will be deducted from any compensation you’re awarded. The amount covers your solicitor’s work and any expenses related to your claim. By law, you cannot be charged more than 25% when using a CFA to fund your solicitor’s work.
Would you like us to check if your claim can be handled on a No Win, No Fee basis? If so, please let us know today.
Start a psychological injury claim today
We’re ready to help if you’ve decided to claim for any psychological injuries that have been caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault. To start off, simply call our freephone number on 0800 652 1345 today.
There’s no obligation for you to proceed but whatever happens, we’ll review your case for free and provide legal advice about your options.
Thank you for reading our article about psychological injury claims, and if you’d like to know more about your options, please use live chat to get in touch, or request a claims consultation here.