Last Updated by Max Mitrovic on 11th March 2022. Welcome to our guide on making a psychological injury claim for depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whether you’re looking to make a personal injury claim for psychological damage at work, or because you’ve suffered anxiety after a car accident, this guide could help. In it, we look at what types of psychological injury claims you could make, and how we could help you.
It is well known that when you sustain a personal injury, and it was caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to claim. This could include receiving compensation for emotional distress. Most people think that this is simply for the physical injuries caused by an accident but, as this guide will show, you can also make a claim for any psychological injury sustained.
Whilst many accidents do cause immediate physical injuries, some psychological symptoms don’t present themselves until later on, but it is important that if you’ve been affected in this way, that you are compensated accordingly.
If you’d like to make a claim for a physical or psychological injury that was caused by somebody else, then contact Advice.co.uk on 0161 696 9685 today and one of our team will advise you on the next steps.
If you’d like to know more first, then please carry on reading this informative guide.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation For A Psychological Injury
- What Is A Psychological Injury?
- What Is The Definition Of A Psychological Injury
- How Much Compensation Can You Claim For Psychological Injuries?
- How Is Compensation For A Psychological Injury Calculated?
- Psychological Injury Statistics
- Common Ways Psychological Injuries Are Caused
- Psychological Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse
- Psychological Injuries Caused By Car Crashes And Road Traffic Accidents
- Psychological Injuries Caused By An Accident At Work
- Traumatic Experiences Leading To Psychological Injuries
- Break Ins And Criminal Acts Against You Causing Psychological Injuries
- Psychological Injuries Caused By PTSD In The Armed Forces – Can You Claim For Psychological Damage At Work
- What Are The Symptoms Of A Psychological Injury?
- Making A Personal Injury Claim For Depression And Anxiety
- Examples Of Different Types Of Psychological Injury
- Assessments And Finding Out The Severity Of You Psychological Injury
- Primary Victims Of Psychological Injuries
- Secondary Victims Of Psychological Injuries
- Psychological Injury Claim Time Limits
- How To Start A Psychological Injury Claim
- No Win No Fee Claims For Psychological Injuries
- How Our Team Can Help You Make A Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage
- Contact Us To Make A Psychological Injury Claim
- Advice And Resources Relating To Psychological Injury Claims
A Guide To Claiming Compensation For A Psychological Injury
Everybody deals with incidents that happen to them differently. While some can be completely fine following a specific type of injury, others can be left scared, fragile or suffering from psychological disorders which affect everyday life for a long period of time.
There are certain types of accidents or incidents which cause psychological injuries and we’ll cover them, in detail, within this guide and also explain the time limits which you must adhere to when making a compensation claim.
Helping You Make A Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage At Work, Or Due To An Accident
This guide will also try to explain the symptoms of a psychological injury, the amounts of compensation awarded, how they are assessed, what incidents cause psychological injuries and how you can claim compensation using a no win no fee solicitor to make a claim.
If you are involved in an accident which leaves you with psychological injuries, and you’re considering making a claim, please read the rest of this guide and then call us if you have any questions or to begin your claim. You’ll find all of our contact details at the end of this guide.
What Is A Psychological Injury?
When you’re involved in any type of accident it may cause you to have psychological problems later on because of what happened to you or because of what you saw happen during the accident.
Depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often talked about nowadays and are two psychological injury examples. Symptoms that may lead you do believe you’re suffering include extreme anxiety, stress, flashbacks and low moods or mood swings. Conditions like depression can deeply impact your quality of life. As such, you may also be looking to claim compensation for emotional distress.
What Is The Definition Of A Psychological Injury
The definition of a psychological personal injury is when you’re involved in an accident where:
- The person you blame (the defendant) had a duty of care towards you;
- They breached the duty of care;
- And, because of their breach, you suffered a psychological injury.
It’s not always clear how somebody owed you a duty of care, but good examples are:
- An employer owes all staff a duty of care to ensure they’re safe at work
- A shop owes all customers and staff a duty of care
- A driver (or other road user) has a duty to avoid causing damage to others by taking reasonable care while driving.
How Much Compensation Can You Claim For Psychological Injuries?
There are many parts of any compensation claim which a personal injury solicitor can use to determine how much to claim for. The first part that they will usually refer to is called “General Damages”. These cover the pain and suffering caused by the psychological injuries sustained.
Example general damages are included in the table below:
|Claim||Severity||Range of compensation||Further info|
|Psychological injury||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||Very poor prognosis and will affect the ability to cope with life and relationships. Treatment will likely be unsuccessful and the victim will vulnerable in the future|
|Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460||Similar issues to the severe category but with a better prognosis|
|Moderate||£5,500 to £17,900||The victim will have suffered symptoms similar to above but treatment will have had a positive affect and prognosis is good|
|Less Severe||£1,440 to £5,500||For injuries that happen for a shorter period and a lesser impact on daily life|
|PTSD||Severe||£56,180 to £94,470||Severe cases of PTSD where the victim is unable to functioning anywhere near pre-trauma levels. All parts of the claimants life will be affected|
|Moderate||£7,680 to £21,730||The claimant will have largely recovered from their symptoms in this range (but some minor effects may still exist)|
|Less Severe||£3,710 to £7,680||Cases where a full recovery occurs within 1 to 2 years|
|Loss of Earnings Addon||This Depends on Salary or Income losses||This Can be as high as £100,000 + depending on your Salary or income|
You may have suffered other injuries not listed here, but don’t worry as you can call our team, explain how your injuries affected you and we’ll be able to provide an estimate of what compensation you might be entitled to.
The amount of compensation you could receive for a psychological injury will depend on the severity of the injury. Also, remember that you’re able to claim for multiple injuries caused by the same incident if you’re able to prove that your injuries were caused by third-party negligence.
How Is Compensation For A Psychological Injury Calculated?
As discussed briefly in the last section, a personal injury lawyer can us a number of elements to claim compensation. Legally, these are known as ‘Heads of Loss’ – some examples include:
When you are injured by an accident that was caused by somebody else, general damages compensate for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the accident. As such, what you could receive is dependent on factors including the severity of the psychological injury and how it has impacted your everyday life.
Any financial losses you suffer because of the accident can be claimed back under the head of loss known as special damages. There are many special damages your solicitor can use, including:
If your psychological injury leaves you in a position where you require professional care, either in your own home or in a medical environment, then the costs incurred could be claimed back. It would be advisable to seek clarification from a personal injury solicitor before committing to these costs to ensure they are claimable.
If the psychological injury leaves you in a position where a doctor will sign you off from work, but your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay, then you could claim back any lost earnings. The same is true if you lose pay to take time off to visit a doctor or for therapy. Loss of earnings claims could be made for loss of future earnings too.
The cost of travelling to and from doctors’ appointments of therapy can build up, so you can claim back these costs if you provide evidence of where you went and how much it cost you.
The idea behind special damages is that you’re financially no worse off than you were prior to the accident. This is why it’s important when claiming financial losses from a psychological injury, that you provide sufficient evidence. This tends to include receipts, invoices and bank statements. You need to prove the value of the financial losses you’re looking to claim for.
Your solicitor will calculate current financial losses and future losses too. For instance, if you can prove (with medical evidence usually) that you’ll need more time off work to recover, or you can’t return to the same job again, then you can claim for future lost earnings also.
Psychological Injury Statistics
According to a Mental Health Foundation report in 2016, nearly 50% of adults believe they’ve suffered from some sort of mental health problem in their life.
These don’t all occur because of accidents or trauma caused by them but it’s a good indication of the size of the problem within the UK. Nearly a fifth of male respondent cases and a third of female cases have been assessed and confirmed by medical professionals.
Common Ways Psychological Injuries Are Caused
There are some accidents which more commonly cause psychological problems than others, these (in no particular order) include:
- Violent acts against the victim (assault, rape, sexual abuse)
- Road traffic accidents
- Other criminal activity (armed robberies, burglary for instance)
Psychological Injuries Caused By Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault, historical sexual abuse, incest, unwanted touching, grooming and sexual bullying can all lead to serious and ongoing psychological issues for the victim.
Victims may suffer from conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, severe anxiety, lack of trust, inability to form relationships, sleeping difficulty, flashbacks, self-harm, sexually transmitted infections and disassociation amongst many others.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted and would like to begin a personal injury claim then please get in touch with one of our professional staff who will advise you on how to proceed with your claim. You can contact us at a time that works for you to see if you can claim compensation for emotional distress.
Psychological Injuries Caused By Car Crashes And Road Traffic Accidents
As with any road traffic accident, if the collision was caused by the other driver involved then you could claim compensation against them. This can be if you were driving, a passenger, a cyclist or pedestrian hit by the other car and you can even claim compensation if the other driver was uninsured or didn’t stay at the scene (hit and run).
Psychological Injuries Caused By An Accident At Work
As all employers owe a duty of care to their employees while in the workplace, if you’ve been involved in a workplace accident and you believe it was caused by negligence of the company or another employee, then you could seek compensation for your injuries whether they are psychological or physical.
The types of accidents that could lead to psychological injuries at work include:
- Falling from height
- Objects falling on to the victim from height
- Assaults in the workplace
- Explosions or fires
- Faulty machinery related accidents
Any of these accident types, as well as others, can lead to psychological problems for a long time after the accident and so, if you believe your employer could’ve prevented the accident in some way, you should contact us to begin a claim for compensation as soon as possible following the accident.
Traumatic Experiences Leading To Psychological Injuries
Any traumatic event can lead to short-term or long-term psychological injuries even after physical injuries have fully recovered. Ove the next few sections we’ll cover some of these experiences in more detail.
Break Ins And Criminal Acts Against You Causing Psychological Injuries
Being burgled can lead to a long period of insecurity and the feeling of being unsafe in your own home, especially if you caught the burglar in the house or it happened while you were sleeping.
The same is true for other criminal acts against you or your family, especially violent acts, and leave you with feeling such as the fear of not being able to protect yourself.
In any of these instances, you could make a compensation claim using a scheme called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if you reported the crime to the police. The CICA will compensate victims of crime in England, Scotland and Wales for both physical and psychological injuries.
Psychological Injuries Caused By PTSD In The Armed Forces – Can You Claim For Psychological Damage At Work
Possibly one of the most traumatic experiences is being on a battlefield and either killing others or witnessing friends and colleagues being killed as part of their job.
PTSD is common amongst military veterans and can make everyday life very difficult. Examples of when a military employee could claim for PTSD or related injuries include:
- When they are instructed to return to duty (when the employer knows you are suffering PTSD).
- When the diagnosis for PTSD was delayed or assessment didn’t take place.
- You haven’t received any treatment despite presenting or being diagnosed with PTSD.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Psychological Injury?
As you’ll have seen from this guide so far, there are many types of psychological injury that can occur. Most symptoms can be categorised as:
- Anxiety symptoms (including worrying, sleep disorders, restfulness etc)
- Depression symptoms (including feeling tearful, lack of motivation and interest, low mood, disturbed sleep etc)
- PTSD symptoms
Living with any type of psychological injury can be incredibly difficult to deal with, which is why you may want to claim compensation for emotional distress.
Making A Personal Injury Claim For Depression And Anxiety
While anxiety and depression may seem like interchangeable words describing the same conditions, but they do have different symptoms. Both can lead to compensation claims but its important to understand the differences.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Heart palpitations or panic attacks
- Stomach pains or chest pains
- Aches in muscles
- Breathing difficulties
- Irrational fears
And the symptoms of depression include:
- Sense of guilt
- Struggling to concentrate
- Loss of interest in things you usually like to do
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of appetite
- Cramps, aches and pains
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of energy.
Examples Of Different Types Of Psychological Injury
There are many types of psychological injury that can happen following an accident including:
- Self-harm – this is usually a mechanism to help cope with anxiety and distress and involves the person intentionally injuring themselves
- PTSD – As covered elsewhere in this guide, PTSD is caused by very frightening events that have occurred in the past and cause anxiety disorders.
- Mood swings and disorders
- Fears and phobias
Assessments And Finding Out The Severity Of You Psychological Injury
As part of any psychological assessment, a psychologist will be asked to provide their opinion on:
- The psychological suffering that has been caused by the accident.
- The effect on the victim’s ability to work
- The overall prognosis for the victim’s injuries
- What treatment they recommend is required
- And the longer-term affects of the accident (such as ability to work in the future and the future mental health)
These are ascertained following an interview between the claimant and a medical professional who’ll provide the medical records to the personal injury solicitor to use as part of the compensation claim.
Primary Victims Of Psychological Injuries
The primary victim is somebody who was directly involved in an accident or incident which caused a psychological injury and the accident was caused by somebody else.
Secondary Victims Of Psychological Injuries
Secondary victims of psychological injuries can be trickier claims to make but are possible when:
- Firstly, the primary victim must have successfully proven that a third party caused their accident (i.e. they’ll have settled their own claim successfully).
- There must also be a direct relationship with the primary victim such as a parent, partner or child.
- And the secondary victim must’ve been present when the accident happened or arrived during the immediate aftermath. Seeing the injuries in hospital or hearing about the injuries via somebody else would not constitute being a secondary victim
Psychological Injury Claim Time Limits
When you make any type of personal injury claim in the UK, there are strict time limits which mean you must claim on time, otherwise you will be denied compensation that you may well have been entitled to.
The current time limits are:
|Claim Type||Time Limit|
|Personal Injury Claim for psychological injury||3 Years|
|CICA claim for criminal injury||2 years (but can be flexible for cases such as historic sexual abuse, please call)|
|Accident at work||3 years|
|Road Traffic accident||3 years|
There may be some flexibility for making a claim in certain circumstances so please call our team if you’re not sure where your claim fits in to the table above.
How To Start A Psychological Injury Claim
The simplest way to begin a claim would be to pick up the phone and call Advice.co.uk, explain what happened during your accident, the injuries you sustained and who you believe was responsible the accident.
No Win No Fee Claims For Psychological Injuries
Making a personal injury claim can be costly if you use a solicitor who charges an hourly rate for their service. You usually have to pay them some money up front. You will keep 100% of any compensation though, but if they lose the case, you still have to pay them their fees (but receive no compensation).
The alternative to this example is a No Win No Fee solicitor. They do charge a fee, but it is a fixed percentage of your compensation and you don’t have to pay them until they receive compensation. If they lose, you don’t pay them anything at all.
How Our Team Can Help You Make A Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage
The team at Advice.co.uk are dedicated and committed to ensuring that our clients receive the full amount of compensation that our clients deserve. They’re friendly, professional and can offer free legal advice, even if you’re not sure how to proceed.
We will always follow the process below when you make contact with us.
|You contact us||We make an initial assessment of your claim with you||If you're happy (and we agree you claim is valid), we'll begin your claim|
Contact Us To Make A Psychological Injury Claim
To contact us now you can either:
- Call us on 0161 696 9685 and be connected straight away to one of our specialist advisers.
- Email us details of your accident to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.
- Contact us using our online form and we’ll begin your claim.
We are personal injury specialists and can help with any claim for injuries sustained anywhere within the UK.
Advice And Resources Relating To Psychological Injury Claims
Hopefully, you’ve now read all of the information you need to begin your own claim or to know what you need to do next. For further information, we’ve included some useful information:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – More information on PTSD from the NHS including symptoms, causes and treatment.
Self Harm – Another NHS guide regarding self-harm and the ways victims can receive help.
Broken Tooth Injury Claims – Even a broken tooth could cause psychological damage. Find out how to claim here.
FAQs On Making A Personal Injury Claim For Psychological Damage
Are you considering making a personal injury claim for psychological damage due to medical negligence?
We put our trust in doctors and other medical professionals to provide us with a safe, effective standard of care. However, sometimes, something could go wrong, and if you suffer medical negligence, this could cause you to lose trust in the medical profession. It could also leave you worse off physically and psychologically.
When you make a claim for clinical negligence, you could include psychological injuries in this. If, for example, medical negligence during childbirth led to something going drastically wrong, you could suffer birth trauma. This could be included in your claim for medical negligence as you seek compensation for emotional distress.
Could I claim psychological damage from the NHS?
The NHS pays out significant sums in compensation relating to clinical negligence claims. The graph below shows the total payouts (including legal fees and costs) paid out by the NHS in 2020-21. These statistics come from NHS Resolution.
Could I make a personal injury claims for psychological damage on behalf of a child?
If your child suffers a psychological injury due to someone else’s fault, they would not be able to claim for themselves until they turn 18. However, as a parent, you could make a claim instead. You could act as your child’s litigation friend to arrange their claim for them. However, the parent in such cases wouldn’t receive the compensation. It would normally go into a trust for the child.
Other Useful Compensation Guides
- Accident At Work Claims Guide
- Damaged Nerve Injury Claims Guide
- Burn Injury Compensation Claims Guide
If you have any further questions about making a psychological injury claim for depression, PTSD or anxiety, or want to know what to do next to start a personal injury claim for psychological damage at work, please contact one of our friendly team.