This guide will explain how you could make a personal injury claim for psychological damage. If you’ve been in an accident caused by another’s negligence that has led to psychological damage, you could potentially claim compensation.
If you’re involved in an accident, it’s possible you could have suffered some form of physical injury. However, it’s also possible that the traumatic event of the accident has caused you some form of psychological damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety. Even if you haven’t suffered a physical injury, you could potentially still claim for just the psychological damage.
Read on for more information about making a personal injury claim for psychological damages. Alternatively, get in touch with us today for free legal advice. Our experienced advisors can give you specific guidance and may even pass you on to a solicitor from our panel.
We would also like to note that if you have suffered some psychological trauma, some sections of this article may be triggering. If you’d prefer to discuss a potential claim, feel free to make a direct call to our advisors about your situation rather than reading this article. They can give you sensitive and confidential guidance about the claims process.
Select A Section
- What Is Psychological Damage?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Psychological Injuries?
- How Could PTSD Or Psychological Injuries Affect You?
- Causes Of Psychological Injuries
- What Evidence Do You Need To Support Your Claim?
- What Is The Average Payout In A Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage?
- Start Your Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage
- Learn More
Emotional and psychological trauma is often a consequence of incredibly stressful or traumatic events that can disrupt your sense of security. There could be side effects such as strong emotions, anxiety, numbness and trust issues.
A traumatic experience could include anything that threatens your life or safety, such as car accidents or workplace accidents. But it could also be any situation that leaves you feeling isolated and overwhelmed. It is not necessarily the event itself that causes the psychological damage but your subjective experience of it. However, for this article, we will be focusing on psychological damage that has occurred as a result of some form of accident.
To make a valid personal injury claim, you need to prove that someone breached their duty of care towards you. The duty of care that is owed to you depends on your environment, and it generally means that another party has to take all reasonably practicable steps to keep you from harm.
For example, when you’re at work, employers owe a duty of care to all employees. When on the roads, all road users have an equal duty of care. When you’re in a public place, those in control of the area have a duty of care.
If someone has breached their duty of care towards you, leading to an accident and psychological harm, you could potentially claim compensation from them. If you have questions about making a personal injury claim for psychological damage, get in touch.
Different psychological issues could have a variety of symptoms. However, some common emotional symptoms could include:
- Confusion & difficulty concentrating
- Anger & mood swings
- Anxiety & depression
- Guilt, shame & self-blame
- Withdrawal from others
- Sadness or feeling hopeless
- Emotional numbness or feeling disconnected
And some common physical symptoms could include:
- Insomnia & nightmares
- Fidgeting & agitation
- Aches and pains
- Muscle tension
- Headaches, shaking & upset stomach
There could also be some symptoms that are emotional and physical, such as hyperarousal or anhedonia. Hyperarousal is defined as feeling ‘on edge’, which can be considered physical as it can potentially cause people to tense up. And anhedonia is defined as an inability to feel pleasure. This can be emotional pleasure, such as when spending time with friends, or physical pleasure, such as eating good food.
However, trauma can be different for everyone. If you don’t see your symptoms here, it doesn’t mean you might be suffering any less, and you could potentially still make a claim.
If you’re concerned you might be suffering psychologically after an accident, we always recommend you seek medical help, as a professional can properly diagnose any issues you might be having.
However, if you have queries about making a personal injury claim for psychological damage, why not reach out to us?
If someone is suffering from PTSD or psychological injury, they may appear ‘normal’ externally, even if they are struggling on the inside. Disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD can have debilitating effects on all aspects of life.
It could cause someone to withdraw from their family and friends, leaving them isolated. More specifically, if someone is suffering from psychological harm after a car accident, they may struggle to get back into a car again. This could then have a knock-on effect if they need to drive to get into work or to maintain relationships by visiting friends or family.
Another example could be if the person is suffering from anxiety after an accident at work. This may stop them from going to work, meaning they could then struggle with financial loss as well.
If the negligence of another party has caused an accident and psychological injury, you should consider making a personal injury claim for psychological damage. You could be entitled to compensation.
Psychological damage could have any number of causes. This section will look at a few of them in more detail.
Current or Ex-Military
PTSD from the military can sometimes be referred to as combat stress. It can be linked to people fearing for their life, seeing others be hurt or killed or perhaps even a constant assault on emotional resilience.
Harmed by Medical Negligence
Different types of clinical negligence could lead to psychological harm. For example, a healthcare professional may give a low dose of anaesthesia through negligence, which then causes anaesthesia awareness. This is a rare complication where a patient regains some level of consciousness during a surgical procedure. The trauma of seeing yourself be operated on could result in long-lasting psychological issues.
Road Traffic Accidents
It is worth noting here that witnessing a road traffic accident could also cause trauma, even if you were not specifically injured. Also, there does not have to be an accident at all to experience trauma; a ‘near-miss’ could also cause feelings of danger and helplessness that cause psychological issues.
Having a Near-Death Experience
If someone comes close to accidental death, this could cause helpless feelings to arise. Depending on how the near-death experience came about, psychological damage could be a consequence.
For example, if someone was involved in a terrorist attack, they could be seriously harmed. Related PTSD could mean the person feels anxiety or stress with loud noises or in certain spaces.
Alternatively, you may have suffered an accident at work (or anywhere) that caused mental anguish due to it being nearly fatal. In Great Britain, 142 workers suffered fatal injuries in 2020/21.
Victim of a Violent Attack
Again, it is important to note that witnessing a violent attack can also cause psychological damage. For this section, it is also worth mentioning that sexual assault survivors can often report struggling with PTSD after what happened to them. They could be anxious or stressed around people, or feel intense shame or guilt, despite it not being their fault.
It may be similar for victims of violent assaults, where the sense of danger and helplessness can leave people feeling tense for years. Criminal attacks are dealt with through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), so the process may be slightly different to a general personal injury claim.
However, this section is not exhaustive. If some other form of incident caused your mental illness, you could potentially still make a valid personal injury claim for psychological damage. Get in touch with our advisors today to find out more.
When you start thinking about making a claim, you could gather evidence that would help you. You don’t necessarily need a solicitor’s help to do so, but we recommend that you hire one, as they can help you figure out what evidence could give your case the best chance for success. This could include:
- CCTV footage of the accident
- Photographs of the accident or your injuries
- Medical reports
- The contact details of any witnesses so that a statement can be taken
- Accident report records
You will also be invited to an independent medical appointment as part of the claims process. During this, a medical professional will assess your injuries and any long-term effects they may have on you. This will be key evidence for valuing your claim.
This section will look at potential compensation amounts for psychological damage. These figures are calculated from previous case studies and are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. Legal professionals use this document to help value personal injury claims.
|PTSD||Severe||£56,180 to £94,470||This bracket may include PTSD that has severe side-effects such as a difficulty to function as before the trauma.|
|PTSD||Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180||This bracket may include PTSD that is similar to the above but has a better prognosis for recovery.|
|PTSD||Moderate||£7,680 to £21,730||This bracket may include PTSD that has largely been recovered from. Any lasting effects will not be considerably disabling.|
|PTSD||Less Severe||£3,710 to £7,680||This bracket may include PTSD cases where a practically full recovery has been made within 1-2 years. After this, only minor symptoms will persist.|
|Psychiatric||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||This bracket may include psychiatric issues that result in a diminished capability to cope with life, including a negative effect on relationships. The prognosis will be poor for recovery and the chances of future treatments' success will be low.|
|Psychiatric||Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460||This bracket may include psychiatric issues similar to the previous bracket but with a more optimistic prognosis.|
|Psychiatric||Moderate||£5,500 to £17,900||This bracket may include psychiatric issues similar to above. However, there may be a marked improvement and a prognosis for continued progress.|
|Psychiatric||Less Severe||£1,440 to £5,500||This bracket will be judged upon the length of time the issues have occurred and how much daily activities and sleep were affected.|
Compensation for physical and mental injuries is known as general damages.
You may also seek special damages compensation as part of your claim. This covers any potential financial losses you may have incurred as a result of your accident. You could potentially claim for:
- Lost wages
- Travel costs
- Medical expenses not covered by the NHS
One appealing element of claiming special damages is that you can also claim for possible future financial loss. To do so, you could provide evidence such as payslips for lost wages or invoices for medical expenses.
If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, one of the solicitors on our panel could potentially help you make a claim for psychological damage. However, you may be concerned about funding the services of a solicitor if you’re already struggling financially.
If this is the case, a No Win No Fee agreement could benefit you. If a solicitor offers their services on a No Win No Fee basis, you will not be required to pay any upfront or ongoing solicitor’s costs. In fact, you won’t be obligated to pay your solicitor their fee at all if your claim is unsuccessful.
However, if your claim does succeed, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount. Your solicitor will discuss their percentages before taking on your claim, but this is legally capped, meaning you will generally get to keep the majority of the compensation you are awarded. This will also only be deducted once your compensation is fully paid.
If you would like to know more about how No Win No Fee could benefit you, get in touch with our advisors today. They could also help you start a personal injury claim for psychological damages by connecting you with a solicitor from our panel.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to make a personal injury claim for psychological damages. We hope you found it helpful. To learn more about relevant topics, please see below.
Have You Been Injured at a Public Train Station? – A guide to making a personal injury claim after an accident at a public train station.
Public Cycle Path Accident Claims – An article explaining how to claim after an accident on a public cycle path.
Accident in a Public Bar Compensation Guide – A guide on claiming compensation after being injured in an accident in a public bar.
Help and Support After a Traumatic Event – An NHS article on the support pathways open to you after a traumatic event.
Rape Crisis – A charity aiming to support victims of sexual assault with online advice and support.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to make a personal injury claim for psychological damage.
Article by AO