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Most people are aware that when an accident and injury occurs due to a lack of employer responsibility, medical negligence or a road traffic accident, they could be entitled to claim compensation. However, psychological injuries are often overlooked – but with the right lawyer, you can claim compensation.

Psychological injury claim

While most people know that they can claim compensation after a physical injury, they often forget that psychological injuries can cause just as much – if not more – damage.

Psychological injury compensation claims can help you pay for the extra treatment you need and get back on track – but are you eligible?

Call 0800 234 6438 today and speak with a trained legal advisor for free. If they believe you have a psychological claim to make, they’ll partner you with a specialist personal injury claim solicitor who will take on your case on a no win no fee basis.

What are psychological injuries, and how do they happen?

In the past, mental health conditions were highly misunderstood because doctors couldn’t see their effects on a person. Inevitably, this would also mean people had a more difficult time making a claim for psychological damage.

However, today, the legal system considers psychological injuries as valid as physical injuries – which is beneficial considering both can occur together in many negligence lawsuits.

Mental health issues characterise an injury of this kind after a traumatic event or situation the person didn’t cause.

Anxiety, depression, panic attacks and all forms of emotional distress can count as psychological injuries, but we’ll go into those in more detail later.

The primary causes of psychological injury claims

Numerous events can damage a person’s mental health; but the most common causes of psychological injuries include:

Employer neglect

Employers have a duty of care to their staff and must create a safe and secure working environment with the proper training and protective equipment. If an employer neglects their responsibilities and it results in an injury of any kind, they’re the negligent party.

Workplace accidents are more common than they should be, but health and safety legislation is designed to protect employees.

The effects of a careless employer can be mentally damaging to people, especially if they suffer an injury or lose confidence in their work environment.

Common injuries sustained in the workplace include:

  • Trips and falls
  • Falling from a height
  • Lifting and moving heavy items
  • Being struck by falling or moving objects

These injuries can cause psychological damage, especially if the person feels unsafe in their work environment and has to undergo numerous medical treatments.

Road traffic accidents

A road traffic accident can have devastating consequences for everyone involved. They can occur due to careless drivers or when a negligent person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Being a victim in these accidents can cause psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, if someone witnesses their loved one get hurt in an accident, and they in turn experience psychological trauma, they can make a claim.

Doctor negligence

Doctors have a duty of care to their patients, and all medical professionals must provide a timely diagnosis and offer the right treatment for any condition. Unfortunately, patients might find that their GP or specialist lets them down.

Psychological injury compensation claims can arise due to misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, or fatalities due to errors. Anaesthetic awareness is rare, but it can happen, and the sensation often leads to psychological distress (National Library of Medicine). People even develop a fear of the dentist.

Find out more about making dental negligence claims.

These are just some causes of psychological injuries, and people in stressful jobs can also suffer. For example, police officers, firefighters and soldiers are more prone to mental health issues than people in less stressful jobs.

Workplace bullying

Sexual harassment and workplace bullying can cause emotional distress. Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t end once a person leaves school, and this behaviour can lead to psychological symptoms. According to statistics by YouGov, 29% of people have been bullied in the workplace at some point – which is shocking when we consider that these are professional adults and employers.

If a person experiences bullying from their employer, they could be entitled to claim compensation. Similarly, a person could claim if their employer fails to address a bullying problem in the workplace.

Violent crimes

Violence is a severe problem in our society, and each day we read about or see news reports of violent crimes. The victims of these crimes often suffer physical and psychological injuries, including emotional damage and post-traumatic stress.

Common violent crimes include sexual assault, robberies, assaults, and anything else that can be considered violent. If you’re the victim of a violent crime, you can claim the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which offers compensation to any crime victims.

Psychological injury examples

Mental health problems are common in the UK, with a 2014 study showing that around one in four people experiences poor mental health annually in the UK. MIND also found that one in six individuals deal with mental health problems weekly (Mind).

While mental health is still somewhat stigmatised, it’s more common to talk about it now than a few years ago.

Individuals with conditions such as Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and clinical depression have access to better treatment, and workplaces are required to accommodate their team and make adjustments if necessary.

However, a psychological injury differs from a mental health condition because it occurs after an event.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that often develops after a person has been through a traumatic event. It can be due to road traffic accidents, workplace bullying, medical negligence, a sudden and unexpected shock, and anything else that impacts a person’s emotional well-being.

PTSD can profoundly affect someone’s life, making it difficult to work or socialise, so it’s essential to seek professional help if you think you might have PTSD. Treatment can involve talk therapy and medication, but the long-term effects can be hard to deal with.

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:

  • Flashbacks of the event.
  • Nightmares and fear of falling asleep.
  • Avoiding anything that might create memories of the event.
  • Isolation from friends, family or daily activities.
  • Depression and a lack of enjoyment in life.
  • Anxiety can lead to panic attacks.

Post-traumatic stress can happen if you’re involved in an accident or witness an accident – but anyone can claim compensation if the PTSD is due to someone else’s negligence.

Anxiety disorder

Everyone deals with anxiety at some point in their lives, whether they’re doing something that makes them nervous, such as attending a big interview. However, when the general feeling of anxiety becomes overwhelming and disrupts a person’s everyday life, it becomes a serious problem.

Anxiety disorder is a medical condition which can take many forms, including:

  • Generalised anxiety: A condition where people become anxious in general about everyday things and find it challenging to deal with their worries.
  • Panic disorder: Panic attacks result from the extensive, often sudden, unexpected shock that can cause physical symptoms. These include palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain and abdominal problems.
  • OCD: Obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause numerous symptoms, including intrusive thoughts, repetitive behaviours and severe anxiety when a person cannot perform the tasks that temporarily relieve their negative feelings.

Emotional distress

Emotional stress is a response to a situation that feels overwhelming or threatening. It can be triggered by various events, such as a job loss, the death of a loved one, or a divorce. However, the condition is also common with compensation claims, as being the victim of negligence or an accident can cause stress in people.

The symptoms of emotional stress include anxiety, irritability, tension, insomnia and a lack of concentration. In many cases, emotional stress can lead to depression or anxiety disorders.

Determining your psychological injury claim eligibility

The general rule for personal injury claims is that anyone can file for compensation if they can prove that the accident or injury wasn’t their fault. For example, if you’re in a road traffic accident and are at fault, you won’t be eligible.

Similarly, if you miss medical appointments that are in place to diagnose a condition, then you won’t be able to claim compensation because your doctors tried to offer help.

To find out if you’re eligible to claim compensation, call 0800 234 6438 for free today and speak to a trained legal advisor. They can help you assess your eligibility and if they believe you have a claim, they’ll partner you with specialist personal injury solicitors.

Are you a primary or secondary victim?

Another critical factor of your compensation claim is whether you’re a primary or secondary victim. Primary victims are the victims of the actual accident, crime or negligence.

However, there doesn’t need to be physical injuries for someone to be classed as a primary victim. For example, if you’re in a road traffic accident, you’re still the primary victim because it happened to you.

It’s the same with medical negligence and crimes, so – as you can imagine – claiming as a primary victim is often easier than being a secondary victim.

Secondary victims

A secondary victim on a personal injury claim is defined as an unwilling witness of an incident, or a close family member, or spouse of a loved one, who has suffered due to physical and psychological injuries.

In some cases, proving you’ve suffered psychological injuries due to a loved one’s accident or death isn’t easy, but it is possible with the proper support and medical evidence.

Claiming compensation for psychological injuries

When making a claim, you should first speak to a legal advice service to see whether you can claim psychological injury compensation.

Some people go straight to a lawyer, but most traditional legal services charge upfront fees, and there’s no guarantee that your claim will be successful.

By calling 0800 234 6438, you can find out whether your claim will likely be accepted and you could get access to a dedicated no win no fee lawyer, for free.

Meet with a personal injury solicitor

A personal injury solicitor working on a no win no fee basis will support your claim without charging any upfront fees, which means you take on zero financial risk. Many prefer this route when claiming compensation, as it gives them peace of mind.

Gathering evidence for personal injury claims

The biggest issue with any personal injury compensation claim is proving that the other party was at fault. Gathering medical reports and other evidence will improve the chances of your psychological injuries claim to be successful.

For example, if you or a loved one were in a car accident, it’s a good idea to get the driver’s information and ask witnesses for their contact details.

Your lawyer will also work on your behalf to gather evidence for your physical or psychological injury compensation claims, including the cause of the initial damage.

Your lawyer and the other party will also want you to attend a medical assessment, which is there to prove the extent of your emotional trauma.

Negotiating your claim

Once your solicitor has all the necessary evidence, they’ll file a claim with the negligent party or Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. During the negotiations, the other party’s lawyer will work with them to define an amount of compensation.

Many psychological injury claims get settled out of court, but you might have to go to court in some cases. Personal injury specialists will always try to avoid going to court, but if that’s the best way to get the maximum compensation, it’s worth it.

Settling and moving on

The claims process might seem complicated, but a specialist lawyer will go out of their way to ensure you don’t have to worry about the stress of claiming compensation. Once your psychological injury claim settles, you’ll be able to get back to everyday life.

The lawyer will take their fee out of the payment, and you can spend it on specialist treatment or anything else.

Get the ball rolling on your psychological injury compensation claim today

If you’ve suffered psychological trauma as the rest of negligence or an accident, you have the right to claim compensation and hold the negligent party accountable.

The first step in making a claim is to call 0800 234 6438 for free legal advice, or use the form and request a callback.

Frequently asked questions

Should I claim compensation?

Some people feel weird about making a claim – especially if their employer was the negligent party. However, when you seek compensation, you highlight a significant issue with an employer’s or driver’s carelessness, which means it’s less likely to happen again.

Also, if you’re a victim of violent crime, you can still hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions and recover from the trauma.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is there to help people seek compensation after any form of psychological damage, and drivers and employers will have insurance to cover your claim.

How much compensation will I receive?

There’s no set compensation for psychological injury claims because the amount you receive depends on numerous factors, which include:

  • How severe was your injury (mild anxiety or developing a psychiatric disorder)?
  • The duration (minor, long-term or permanent).
  • The injury’s impact on your daily and professional life.

Every case is different, but if you want a ballpark figure, we have figures from the Judicial College Guidelines that provide general figures.

  • Minor Mental Health: For example, worrying about driving or fears resulting from the accident – £4,670.
  • Mild PTSD: These cases usually resolve within one or two years with treatment – £3950 to £8180.
  • General PTSD: General post-traumatic stress disorder can last a while, and people might have long-term effects, although they’ll usually be mild – £8000 to £23,000.
  • Severe PTSD: Cases that impact a victim’s ability to lead a normal life and work – £23,000 to £60,000.
  • Psychiatric damage: Psychiatric damage refers to anything that can cause anxiety, sleep disturbances and general fear. Depending on the extent of the damage and how long it lasts, you can claim anything from £1500 to £115,730.

These figures are just guidelines of how much you could claim, as psychological harm isn’t as easy to measure as personal injuries of a physical nature.

If you’d like an idea of how much compensation you might receive, you can use our mental health compensation calculator– but this will only give you an estimate.

What’s the time limit for psychological injury claims?

When it comes to psychological injury claims, the standard time limit to file proceedings is three years after the initial accident. However, there are some exceptions for children and vulnerable adults.

A child can claim for psychological damage up to three years after they turn 18, and legal guardians can claim on behalf of a vulnerable person or deceased family member.

If you do want to claim compensation, you should file the personal injury claim as soon as possible to ensure the negotiations don’t take you past the time limit.

What can I claim with emotional distress compensation?

When your lawyer files for compensation, they’ll factor in the injury, its extent, and its impact on your life. Violent crimes, serious accident and medical negligence claims have an apparent immediate aftermath – but your payment will include the long-term implications too.

For example, you might have to give up work due to psychological damage or spend money on specialist treatments, private care and any other costs related to your injury.

You could claim for any lost holidays, cancellations and anything you spend – or lose – as a result of the injury.

Why are no win no fee personal injury lawyers best?

When you or a loved one has a psychological injury caused by negligence, you’ll want to get back on your feet as soon as possible. Claiming on a no win no fee basis is beneficial because you don’t have to worry about upfront fees.

Your solicitor takes on the burden of your claim until you settle, meaning you can remove any financial risks and have peace of mind that your lawyer will fight to win your case.

The lawyer’s fees are also capped, so you won’t have to worry about winning your psychological injury compensation claim and losing most of the money to your solicitor.

How long does it take to win compensation for psychological injury?

Unfortunately, the time limit for your claim depends on numerous factors, including how receptive the negligent party is.

The key to securing emotional distress compensation is gathering as much proof as possible and ensuring you can prove your injuries during the medical assessment.

Your lawyer will want the claims process to be as smooth as possible. Still, if there’s a chance of it going to court, consider whether you want to receive the maximum compensation or settle the psychological injury claim as soon as possible.

To find out more about making a psychological injury claim, or to determine if you’re eligible to make a personal injury claim, call 0800 234 6438 today and speak with a trained legal advisor for free. If they believe you have a psychological claim to make, they’ll partner you with a specialist personal injury claim solicitor who will take on your case on a no win no fee basis. You have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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