By Danielle Newton. Last Updated 19th May 2023. In this guide, we will examine how to make a personal injury claim for depression. When you think about making a personal injury claim, the first thing to come to mind might be physical injuries like a broken leg, whiplash or cuts and lacerations. However, you are also able to claim for mental injuries. This guide will explain how.
In order for you to claim, the accident which resulted in your injury must have been caused by a breach of duty of care. A breach of duty resulting in injury can happen in a number of different scenarios, for example, while at work, in a public place or on the road.
We can offer free legal advice about making a claim. Furthermore, one of our advisors may be able to connect you with a solicitor from our panel if you have a valid claim. Get in touch by:
- Calling us on 0800 408 7825
- Email or write to us at Public Interest Lawyers
- Use the ‘live support’ option bottom right for immediate help
Select A Section
- What Is A Personal Injury Claim For Depression?
- What Are The Symptoms And Effects Of Depression?
- How Severe Does Depression Need To Be To Claim?
- How Psychological Trauma Could Cause Depression
- What Evidence Could Support A Personal Injury Claim For Depression?
- Compensation For Depression – What Are The Claim Time Limits?
- What Could A Personal Injury Claim For Depression Be Worth?
- Start Your No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claim For Depression
- Learn More
If you’re harmed psychologically because of an accident caused by a breach of duty of care, then you may be able to claim compensation.
There are a number of scenarios in which you are owed a duty of care. We have outlined some of these below:
- On the road. All road users owe a duty of care to one another while on the road. If this is breached, it could cause an accident that leads to physical or mental injury. The Highway Code is a set of guidelines that outlines how road users should conduct themselves.
- In public. When you’re in public, you’re owed a duty of care by the person in control of the space. This is outlined in the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. It means that the person in control of the space needs to ensure that it can be used safely for the intended purpose.
- At work. Your employer owes you a duty of care which is set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This states that they need to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure your safety while working.
Please read on for more information on how you could start a personal injury claim for depression. You can also speak to one of our advisors for free legal advice about the process of claiming.
According to the NHS, depression can affect different people in different ways, and there are a wide range of symptoms that you could experience. Some of these symptoms are psychological, but depression can also cause physical symptoms, too.
Some of the psychological symptoms of depression include:
- Sadness or a low mood
- A feeling of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of guilt
- Lack of interest and motivation
- Suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of self-harm
- Anxiety or feeling worried
- Difficulty making decisions
Below, we’ve included some of the physical symptoms of depression:
- A change in appetite leading to weight loss or gain
- Aches and pains that cannot be explained by other factors
- Low sex drive
- Disturbances to your menstrual cycle
- Problems with sleep
This list isn’t exhaustive, and you might find yourself affected by depression in a way we haven’t mentioned above. Furthermore, depression can also cause social symptoms, such as avoiding family or friends or neglecting hobbies and interests that you used to enjoy.
If depression has impacted your quality of life, and it was caused by the negligence of someone who had a responsibility to ensure your safety, you may be able to claim.
Depression can be categorised as mild, moderate or severe. If the symptoms have some impact on your daily life, then you might be diagnosed with mild depression. Moderate depression is where the impact on your daily life is significant. If you have severe depression, it will be almost impossible for you to get through daily life.
Even mild depression can have an impact on your enjoyment and quality of life. And if your injuries have been caused by the negligence of another party, you may be able to claim provided that party owed you a duty of care.
Depression is not always caused by a single, identifying event. It is a complex mental health issue that can have many different contributory factors.
However, in some cases, experiencing a traumatic incident could lead to depression. Some of the incidents that could lead to depression include:
- Being involved in a road traffic accident or another kind of serious accident
- Abuse or violence, especially if this occurs over a long period of time
- Experiencing a serious illness
If you’re involved in a traumatic incident, it’s normal to have a physical reaction to the danger you’re presented with. This might include increased heart rate, sweating or loss of appetite. You might also experience feelings of shock, denial, guilt, sadness or anger.
Some people are able to feel better and gradually recover from these emotions. However, in other cases, these feelings persist and can develop into more serious mental health problems.
You could also develop depression as a result of physical injuries you have sustained. For example, you may be involved in a workplace accident caused by negligence that led to your leg being amputated. You may find it difficult to cope with your injuries, causing you to become depressed.
If you’ve been involved in an accident or incident where someone else’s negligence has led to you developing depression, you can get in touch with one of our advisors today. They’ll be happy to offer you free legal advice. If your claim is valid, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.
When you make a claim for compensation, you will need to provide evidence in support of your claim. You’ll need to show that:
- You were owed a duty of care;
- This duty was breached; and
- The breach led to you being injured
There are a number of different kinds of evidence you could provide to support your claim. This might vary depending on the incident you’re claiming for. For example:
- CCTV/dashcam footage. This could show the circumstances of the accident that took place.
- An accident report. If the accident took place at work or in public, there may be an accident book that you can fill out. This could provide evidence down the line of how the incident occurred.
- Witness statements. If someone else saw the incident happen, then you could collect their contact details so a statement can be taken at a later date.
For more information on the evidence that could be used to support your claim, speak with one of our advisors today. they can over you free legal advice on making a personal injury claim for depression.
If you suffered a mental health injury due to a breach of duty of care, compensation could be awarded to you for this psychological injury, provided you meet the eligibility criteria laid out in the earlier sections of this guide. Additionally, you must ensure that you start your personal injury claim within the time limit that is set out in the Limitation Act 1980. Generally, you will have three years to start your claim from the date of the accident.
However, in certain circumstances, there are exceptions to this time limit. For example, the time limit is paused for those injured under the age of 18. From their 18th birthday, they will have three years to start a claim. However, before this point, a court-appointed litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf.
Contact our advisors today to learn more about the other exceptions to this three-year time limit when making a claim for compensation for depression.
The Judicial College Guidelines provide a set of bracket awards based on previous settlements that have been awarded in claims. They’re based on the severity of the injury, the pain it has caused you and the impact it will have on your quality of life. These guidelines can be used to help value compensation claims.
Below, we’ve included a table showing how some psychological injuries are valued in the Judicial College Guidelines.
|Injury||severity||Judicial College Guidelines entry||notes|
|The level of compensation will be affected by the presence of depression as well as other factors.|
|Reproductive system (female)||N/A||£114,900 to|
|Where injury or disease has led to infertility causing severe depression.|
|General psychiatric damage||Severe||£54,830 to £115,730||There will be marked problems with respect to coping with life, education and work. The prognosis will be very poor.|
|General psychiatric damage||Moderately severe||£19,070 to £54,830||There will be significant problems related to the above factors, but a better prognosis.|
|General psychiatric damage||Moderate||£5,860 to £19,070||There may have been some problems associated with the above factors; however, there will have been a good improvement and positive prognosis.|
|General psychiatric damage||Less severe||£1,540 to £5,860||The level of compensation within this bracket will take into account the extent to which symptoms have affected daily activities and sleep.|
|Back injuries||Severe (iii)||£38,780 to £69,730||Where back injuries like disc lesions or fractures have led to severe pain, impaired agility and sexual function and depression.|
|Brain damage||Less severe||£15,320 to £43,060||The compensation award will depend on the extent of the injury, the severity of any lasting disability and the presence of depression.|
|Damage to hair||N/A||£7,340 to £11,020||Where damage to the hair and scalp has led to it falling out or breaking off, leading to distress, depression and lack of confidence.|
You will also usually be invited to a medical assessment as part of your claim. In this meeting, an independent expert will speak with you about your injuries and how they’ve affected you. They’ll compile a report which will be used to value your claim.
The part of your compensation that relates to your injuries is called general damages. However, you might also be awarded special damages. This part of your compensation covers any financial losses you have experienced. This can include:
- Loss of wages for time taken off work
- Travel expenses
- Medical costs, such as therapy that you cannot get on the NHS
- The cost of adaptations to your home
You’ll need to provide evidence in support of special damages, like receipts to show how much you’ve spent or payslips to illustrate loss of earnings. For more information on what you could receive in a personal injury claim for depression, speak to one of our advisors today.
You are perfectly free to represent yourself in a personal injury claim for depression. It is not a legal requirement to have professional legal representation. However, you may find that having a solicitor working on your claim has certain advantages. They can utilise their knowledge and experience to aim to get you the compensation you deserve.
However, you might be concerned about the potential costs of seeking legal representation. If this is the case, you might be interested in a No Win No Fee agreement.
This kind of agreement means that:
- You won’t be asked to pay anything upfront to your solicitor in order for them to start work on your claim. There also won’t be any ongoing payments to make to them.
- If your claim is unsuccessful, they won’t ask you for any payment at all.
- In the event that you’re awarded compensation, they’ll deduct a legally-capped success fee from your compensation award.
No Win No Fee agreements can enable people to secure legal representation regardless of their financial means. Talk to our team to see whether you could be connected with a solicitor who works on this basis. You can get in touch by:
- Calling us on 0800 408 7825
- Writing to us at Public Interest Lawyers
- Using the ‘live support’ option on this screen
Thank you for reading this guide on a personal injury claim for depression. Below, we’ve included some more of our resources that you might find useful:
- Claiming compensation for spinal cord injuries.
- Can I claim for grievous bodily harm (GBH)?
- A guide on scar injury claims.
We’ve also included some external resources that may be of interest to you:
- An NHS guide on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Find a registered psychologist on the British Psychological Society website.
- Mind is a charity that offers support to those experiencing mental health problems.
Thank you for reading our guide on making a personal injury claim for depression.
Article by EA