As you may know already, if you’re injured in an accident or incident that was not you’re fault, you could begin a personal injury claim. Compensation might be awarded to cover any pain and suffering the accident has caused. While many realise that this can include compensation for injuries like broken bones, head injuries, and amputated limbs, they might not realise that you could also claim for mental harm as well.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one type of mental harm that can occur following serious accidents. As such, in this article about PTSD claims, we’ll explain when you could claim compensation for PTSD and how the claims process works.
Our team of specialists can help if you are interested in claiming. When you get in touch, you’ll be offered a no-obligation review of your case over the phone. You’ll be given free legal advice and the advisor will explain whether your PTSD claim might be viable. If they believe it is, you could be connected with one of our specialist solicitors. If they agree to take your claim on, you’ll benefit from their legal skills on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you won’t be asked to pay anything in advance to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work.
Please continue reading if you’d like to learn more about PTSD compensation claims. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss your case right away, please give us a call on 0800 652 1345.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
PTSD is where somebody relives an event that was traumatic through flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms. Some of the symptoms associated with PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing. This is where the victim involuntarily remembers the traumatic event. This can involve nightmares, distressing images or sensations, flashbacks, and physical symptoms like sweating, nausea, trembling, or pain.
- Avoidance. Here the individual will try to stop remembering the incident by avoiding certain locations or people that trigger the memories
- Hyperarousal. This causes the individual to feel on edge and can result in irritability, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and angry outbursts.
- Mental health problems. PTSD can result in anxiety, phobias, and depression.
- Self-harm. Destructive behaviour such as alcohol or drug misuse can also result from the symptoms of PTSD.
- Physical symptoms. As well as the symptoms listed above, PTSD victims can suffer from chest pains, stomach aches, headaches, and dizziness.
Some sufferers of PTSD will have symptoms that are so severe that it will have a significant effect on their ability to deal with day-to-day activities. This can impact their family and social life as well as their ability to work.
PTSD can be treated in some cases with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), medication like anti-depressants or group psychotherapy.
Common causes of PTSD
According to the NHS, PTSD can be caused by any incident that you find traumatic. That means you might need to claim compensation for PTSD if any of the following have caused you to suffer:
- Road traffic accidents.
- Accidents at work.
- Problems during childbirth caused by medical negligence.
- Public place accidents.
- Being diagnosed with a terminal or life-changing condition.
- Witnessing a violent crime.
- Witnessing or involvement in a fatal accident.
Those employed by the emergency or armed forces are perhaps most at risk of witnessing traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder as part of their role. Whatever caused you to suffer from PTSD, please call to see if we could help you claim compensation.
Can I claim compensation for PTSD?
Our solicitors have experience in handling claims for psychological injuries such as PTSD. So that they don’t waste your time needlessly, they’ll review your claim initially to check if you’ve got a fair chance of being compensated. To do this, they’ll look to answer these three questions:
- Were you owed a legal duty of care by the defendant in the case?
- Did the defendant act negligently and cause an accident or incident to occur?
- Can your PTSD symptoms be directly linked to that accident or incident?
If you have answered yes to all three questions, you may be entitled to PTSD compensation.
The first question is one that most people struggle with but don’t worry, it will be reviewed as part of your initial consultation. Essentially, a duty of care can be established by several pieces of legislation. For example, your employer owes you a duty of care to try and protect your welfare at work because of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Similarly, if you’ve suffered PTSF from a car accident, the Road Traffic Act 1988 places a duty of care on all drivers to try and keep others safe by driving carefully.
If you decide to claim because you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD, you’ll be asked to explain who caused you to suffer and how. To help with this, we’ll look at the proof you could use to support your PTSD claim later on.
Claiming PTSD compensation on behalf of somebody else
Usually, most personal injury claims are made by the claimant directly. However, if they lack the capacity to do so (as explained by the Mental Capacity Act 2005) a partner, friend or relative could claim compensation for PTSD on their behalf.
By becoming a litigation friend, you could act for the claimant and make decisions on their behalf. Once approved, the claim would proceed as normal but you’d deal with solicitors and courts (where needed) instead of the claimant. If the case is won, any compensation would be managed by the court until (if) the claimant regains their mental capacity. In the meantime, you could request funds to be released by the court if they will help the claimant.
How much compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder can I claim?
Placing a value on a post-traumatic stress disorder claim can be a particularly complex process. There can be a lot to consider including how PTSD has caused the victim to suffer (general damages) and the costs associated with their symptoms (special damages).
We can’t say exactly what amount of compensation you could be entitled to claim until we’ve reviewed your case, but generally, PTSD claims could include compensation to cover:
- Any physical symptoms of PTSD.
- Psychological suffering caused by PTSD such as anxiety, depression or distress.
- The impact your symptoms have on your social life or hobbies (loss of amenity).
- Any income you’ve lost because you couldn’t work.
- Care costs if somebody else has had to take time out to look after you while you were suffering.
- Travel expenses linked to your injuries.
- The costs associated with your medical treatment (including private medical care in some cases).
- Earnings you’ll lose in the future if PTSD will have a long-term impact on your ability to work in the future.
It’s clear that there is a lot to consider before you file your claim with the defendant. Importantly, you can only claim once so it’s important to make sure everything is included. When our solicitors take on PTSD compensation claims, they’ll try to secure the highest possible amount of compensation to cover all of your sufferings. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about what you could claim.
Providing proof for a PTSD claim
As well as proving how PTSD is affecting you, there will also need to be evidence that somebody else caused the accident and any other injuries. Usually, the claim will be processed by the defendant’s insurance company. Without any proof to corroborate your claim, compensation might not be paid. As such, after the accident, you should try to collect any proof to support your PTSD claim that could include:
- Witness details. It’s important to take note of any witnesses who saw your accident happen. They might be asked to provide a statement later on if liability for the accident is not clear.
- Camera footage. If you’re suffering PTSD from a car accident that was recorded by CCTV cameras or a dashcam, you should try to secure a copy. This can be one of the easiest ways to prove who was responsible for your injuries.
- Medical notes. Aside from your PTSD symptoms, it’s important to claim for any physical injuries your accident has caused. As such, x-rays or records from a hospital, GP surgery or minor injuries unit could be requested.
- Accident report forms. It’s also important that you can prove the accident actually happened. For this reason, you should report the accident where possible. A copy of an accident report form will always make it difficult for the defendant to deny the incident took place.
- Photographic proof. It’s also a good idea to capture the scene of your accident on camera if you’re able to do so safely. Pictures taken from various angles at the time of the accident can be extremely helpful.
We’ll review any proof you might have already collected when you contact us for a free claim review. If anything else is required, we’ll let you know or we could connect you with a personal injury solicitor right away.
Medical assessments for PTSD compensation claims
Personal injury lawyers are not medical specialists so they cannot say that you are suffering from PTSD symptoms themselves. Instead, the PTSD claims process dictates that an independent medical expert will have to be used for an assessment.
As such, during the claims process, an appointment will be booked for you to see a specialist. This is not something you should worry about. In your meeting, the specialist will assess you and ask questions about how your symptoms affect you. Once the meeting has concluded, a report that sets out your prognosis will be sent to everybody involved in your claim.
Time limits for claiming PTSD compensation
Usually, personal injury claims have a 3-year time limit. This would generally start on the date of the accident that caused your injuries. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
If you are claiming PTSD compensation on behalf of somebody who doesn’t have the mental capacity to represent themselves, there is no time limit. You can claim at any point before they regain their mental capacity. At this point, the 3-year time limit would begin if they decide to take action themselves.
We would suggest that it’s a good idea to get in touch about starting a PTSD claim as soon as possible. By starting a claim early, you’ll have a better chance of getting the proof needed to back up your allegations. You should also find it easier to recall how the accident happened.
How long does a PTSD claim take?
The time it takes for a PTSD claim to be settled can vary widely. While claims can be settled in as little as 6 to 9-months, more complex cases can take over a year. In these circumstances, your solicitor might request interim payments to help you cope with any financial impact your PTSD is causing. Please get in touch to find out more.
No Win, No Fee claims
We believe there’s more chance of winning a PTSD claim if you have specialist legal representation. So that you can benefit from the legal expertise of our solicitors, they’ll work for you on a No Win, No Fee basis if your case is accepted. That means you won’t pay for their work unless you are awarded compensation.
So that you have this in black and white, you’ll be sent a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign.
The CFA will explain that you’ll only pay your solicitor’s success fee if your case is won. The success fee covers your solicitor’s work and is a percentage of any compensation you receive. Legally, the maximum success fee when using a CFA is 25%.
Please get in touch to see if we could help you claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Start a PTSD claim today
We are ready to help if you decided to claim compensation for PTSD. Our team will review your claim for free and explain your options if you get in touch on 0800 652 1345.
As discussed, any claim that is accepted by one of our specialist solicitors will be dealt with on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means that you won’t lose any money on solicitor’s fees if your case does not work out.
Thanks for reading this article on PTSD claims, and please get in touch via live chat if you have any extra questions.