Our Essential Guide To Trauma Compensation Claims

By Danielle Newton. Last Updated 21st August 2023. Welcome to our guide on trauma compensation claims. If you’re suffering trauma or psychological injury due to an accident caused by another party, you could potentially be entitled to compensation.

If you’ve been involved in some form of accident or fallen victim to a criminal act, you could suffer some physical injuries as a result. However, it is also possible that there may be trauma or other psychological damage.

trauma compensation

A guide to trauma compensation

Read on to learn more about how to start a trauma compensation claim. You could also get in touch with us today for free legal advice. Our team of advisors are experienced in handling sensitive matters and may even pass you on to a solicitor from our panel.

It is also important to note that if you have suffered some form of trauma, some sections of this article may be triggering. If you would prefer to discuss a potential claim directly, you are welcome to make a call to our team of advisors rather than reading this guide. They can give you confidential and sensitive guidance about the trauma claims process. 

Select A Section

  1. What is Psychological Trauma?
  2. What Are The Symptoms of Trauma And PTSD?
  3. Causes of Trauma And Psychological Injuries
  4. Sexual Abuse And Trauma
  5. Am I Eligible To Claim For Trauma?
  6. Trauma Compensation Calculator
  7. Start a No Win No Fee Trauma Compensation Claim Today
  8. Essential Resources

What Is Psychological Trauma? 

To make a valid psychological trauma claim for personal injury, you need to prove that someone breaching their duty of care led to your accident and harm. The duty of care owed to you differs depending on your environment. 

For example:

  • On the roads, all road users have an equal duty of care towards each other and must behave in a way that reduces the risks of accidents occurring.
  • An employer has a duty of care to all employees to take all reasonably practicable steps to keep them from harm in the workplace. 

Psychological trauma is often caused by incredibly traumatic or stressful events that may disrupt your sense of security in the world. This could include anything that threatens your safety or life, such as physical abuse or car accidents

However, trauma may not necessarily be caused by a specific accident. You may also experience psychological damage from any situation that leaves you overwhelmed. Your subjective experience of an event is more likely to cause trauma than the event itself. In this article, we will be focusing on the trauma caused by accidents. 

We will also touch on trauma caused by criminal injury. The criminal injury claims process is slightly different to personal injury claims, as we discuss later in the guide.

If you’ve been involved in an accident due to someone breaching their duty of care towards you and are suffering trauma as a result, you could potentially claim compensation from the faulting party. If you suffered trauma due to a criminal act, you could also claim.

Should you have any more queries about making a claim for trauma, feel free to get in touch today. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Trauma And PTSD? 

Trauma may manifest itself through anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst other illnesses. Each condition could have a variety of symptoms. According to the NHS, PTSD symptoms are likely to develop within one month of the traumatic event. However, there could be a delay of months or even years in some cases. 

It is always best to consult a medical professional if you are concerned you may be suffering from a trauma-related condition. They will be able to diagnose your symptoms accurately and recommend treatment. However, some common physical symptoms relating to trauma may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chest or stomach pains
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Muscle tension

Some emotional symptoms related to trauma could include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression and sadness
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Guilt, shame and self-blame
  • Disconnection or emotional numbness
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Mood swings and anger

For PTSD, re-experiencing is also a common symptom. This is when you may involuntarily relive a traumatic event in the form of flashbacks, repetitive and vivid images and sensations, and nightmares. 

There may also be some symptoms that could be considered emotional and physical. This could include hyperarousal, which is defined as feeling ‘on edge’. Or anhedonia, which is an inability to feel pleasure. 

However, this section is not exhaustive, so don’t worry if you don’t see your exact symptoms here. Trauma is different for everyone, and if you get in touch with one of our advisors today, they can help you figure out if you could claim trauma compensation.  

Causes Of Trauma And Psychological Injuries

According to the NHS, some people may be more likely to develop PTSD. If you’ve suffered from anxiety and/or depression in the past or perhaps do not receive as much support from friends or family, you could be more vulnerable to PTSD. There may even be some genetic factors involved, such as if a parent has a mental health problem. 

Various events or traumatic experiences may cause trauma and psychological injuries. However, some may include:

  • Being current or ex-military – This can sometimes be referred to as combat stress and is linked to fearing for your life or constantly having to see others be hurt or killed. Being a refugee or civilian from a country at war could also potentially cause trauma.
  • Road traffic accidents – Even a ‘near-miss’ could cause feelings of helplessness that lead to trauma. 
  • Medical negligence – If you are harmed in an environment where you are supposed to be given a minimum standard of care, the resulting complications could lead to potential trust issues or anxiety.
  • Being the victim of a violent attackSexual assault survivors can often report struggling with PTSD or other mental health conditions after the incident. There could be self-blame or guilt, despite it not being their fault. Similarly, victims of violent assaults may feel hyperarousal or intense anxiety. 

Again, this section is not exhaustive. If some other form of accident caused you psychological damage, you could potentially still claim trauma compensation. To find out more about if you could make a valid claim, get in touch with our advisors today. 

Sexual Abuse And Trauma

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) defines rape as when a person non-consensually uses their penis to penetrate the mouth, vagina or anus of someone else. By law, a person without a penis cannot commit rape; however, if a person with a vagina assists a perpetrator, they may still be found guilty of rape. 

Sexual assault occurs when someone hasn’t consented to a sexual act that another party subjects them to.

According to PTSD UK, a registered charity aiming to raise awareness about PTSD, it is estimated that up to 94% of rape or sexual assault survivors develop PTSD symptoms in the first two weeks after the event, with around 50% of victims suffering long-term. 

The CPS also looks at how prosecutors should consider the impact of trauma. According to the CPS, prosecutors should understand the impact of trauma and the vulnerability of victims when evaluating a case. This is to ensure that the decision-making is as informed as possible. 

They note that prosecutors should consider the impact trauma has on behaviour, memory and demeanour. A claimant may struggle to provide credible evidence or statements if their trauma has impacted their memory. For example, they may explain things out of order or skip elements due to shame and fear. 

It is worth noting that criminal attacks, such as violent or sexual assaults, are dealt with through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You could claim directly from the defendant if they’re able to cover the compensation, however.

Claiming through CICA has a slightly different process to a general personal injury claim. To find out more about claiming through CICA, get in touch with our advisors today. 

Am I Eligible To Claim For Trauma?

To be eligible to make a personal injury claim, you’d need evidence to prove your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.

If you’ve been involved in an accident that caused you harm, we recommend you seek medical help before anything else. This could be via contacting your GP, calling 111, 999 or potentially even travelling to your nearest emergency room

When thinking about starting a claim, you could gather evidence that would help your case. A solicitor is not entirely necessary for this, but we recommend you hire one. They can help you figure out what types of evidence could give your case a better chance for success. This could include:

  • Photographs of the accident
  • CCTV footage
  • 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. This is so that a medical professional can assess your injuries and any long-term effects they may have on you. The findings of this appointment will be collated into a report, which can be used as evidence during your claim.

If you’re claiming through CICA, the process of collecting evidence differs from a personal injury claim. It’s important to report the incident to the police because the CICA will require the police crime reference number. Much of the evidence will be accessible that way. However, you may also need to attend an independent medical assessment as described above. 

How Long Do I Have To Claim For Trauma Compensation?

If you are making a personal injury claim, you generally have three years to initiate legal proceedings. This is set by the Limitation Act 1980.

However, in certain circumstances, there are exceptions to the time limit. These include:

  • Those who lack the mental capacity to bring forward their own claim. These parties have the limitation period suspended indefinitely. During this time, a court-appointed litigation friend can start proceedings on their behalf. However, if the injured party regains this capacity and a claim was not made for them, they will have three years from the date of recovery to begin the legal process.
  • Those under the age of 18 have a pause applied to the time limit that lasts until their 18th birthday. Before this date, a litigation friend could be appointed to act on their behalf. However, if they turn 18 and a claim was not brought forward for them, they will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to seek compensation.

When seeking compensation for PTSD, there may be other exceptions. If you would like to discuss limitations for trauma and PTSD compensation claims, please get in touch with an advisor from our team.

Trauma Compensation Calculator

This section has a compensation table showing bracket amounts awarded for psychological damage or trauma. These figures are calculated from previous case studies and are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Legal professionals use the JCG to help value the general damages element of personal injury claims – the compensation awarded for physical and mental injuries. 

PsychiatricSevere£54,830 to £115,730Compensation may be awarded for psychiatric issues that result in difficulty coping with all aspects of life, including a negative effect on relationships. The prognosis will be poor for recovery and the chances of success for any future treatments will be low.
PsychiatricModerately Severe£19,070 to £54,830Compensation may be awarded for psychiatric issues similar to the previous bracket but with a more optimistic prognosis for recovery.
PsychiatricModerate£5,860 to £19,070Compensation may be awarded for psychiatric issues similar to above. However, there may be a marked improvement and a prognosis for continued progress.
PsychiatricLess Severe£1,540 to £5,860Compensation awarded will depend upon the length of time the issues have been ongoing and the degree to which activities and sleep have been affected.
PTSDSevere£59,860 to £100,670The effects are likely to be permanent and all aspects of life will be badly affected.
PTSDModerately Severe£23,150 to £59,860Compensation may be awarded for PTSD that is similar to the above but has a better prognosis for recovery. However, the effects will still be disabling for the foreseeable future.
PTSDModerate£8,180 to £23,150Compensation may be awarded for PTSD that has largely been recovered from. Any lasting effects will not be significantly disabling.
PTSDLess Severe£3,950 to £8,180Compensation may be awarded for PTSD cases where a full recovery has mostly been made within 1-2 years. After this, only minor symptoms will continue.

You may also claim special damages as part of your compensation. This aims to cover any potential financial losses that you may have suffered due to your accident. You could also potentially claim for possible future financial loss. You could claim for:

  • Travel costs (to and from hospital, for example)
  • Medical expenses not covered by the NHS
  • Lost wages while you recovered

To claim special damages, you need to prove that your financial loss directly resulted from your accident or injury. For example, you could provide an invoice for private therapy or receipts for travel costs.

If you’re claiming compensation through the CICA, it would be calculated differently. CICA tariffs are set (there are no brackets) for injuries. However, you could also claim for special expenses (certain financial costs that are caused by the injury) and loss of earnings. There are rules surrounding how special expenses and loss of earnings are valued. Therefore, to simplify the process, we have a guide containing examples of CICA payouts

Start A No Win No Fee Trauma Compensation Claim Today

If you’re seeking trauma compensation after an accident or criminal act, one of the solicitors on our panel could potentially help you make a claim. However, you may be concerned about hiring a solicitor if you think it could be too expensive. 

You should know that our panel of solicitors offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will not be required to pay any upfront or ongoing solicitor fees. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t be required to pay any solicitor fees at all. 

Your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount if your claim succeeds. They’ll discuss their fees with you before taking on your claim so that there are no surprises once your compensation is paid. The success fee is also legally capped for your benefit. 

If you want to know more about how a No Win No Fee agreement could work for you, get in touch with our advisors today. They could also connect you with a solicitor from our panel to start a trauma compensation claim today. 

Essential Resources

We’ve now reached the end of this guide on trauma compensation claims. We hope you found it helpful. Please see below for more essential resources.

Accident at Work Knee Injury Compensation Guide – A guide to claiming compensation after a knee injury at work. 

Facial Scarring and PTSD Compensation Guide – An article explaining how you could claim for PTSD relating to facial scarring. 

Wrong Prescription Medical Negligence Guide – This is a guide to how you can claim if you were prescribed the wrong medication. 

Rape Crisis – A charity aiming to support victims of sexual assault with online advice and support. 

Help and Support After a Traumatic Event – An NHS article on the support pathways open to you after a traumatic event. 

Health and Safety Executive – The UK’s regulator on health and safety in the workplace. 

Thank you for reading our guide on trauma compensation claims.