You may be able to make a Personal Injury (PI) compensation claim for psychiatric injuries even if you have not suffered from any physical injuries.
It is common for accident victims to suffer considerable distress as a result of their accident or injury.
There is a general rule that distress alone is not compensated for unless the injury amounts to a recognised psychiatric illness which goes beyond grief, distress and any normal emotion, such as depressive disorders and post traumatic stress disorder.
However, there are certain exceptions to the general rule where the courts will take such suffering into account for example when someone has suffered physical injury and has also experienced extreme anxiety and distress. So whilst there will be no separate award of compensation for the psychiatric symptoms, the overall award given will include the emotional suffering.
The law becomes very complicated when someone has suffered a psychiatric injury but is physically unharmed. There are two categories of pure psychiatric injury being primary victims and secondary victims.
A primary victim is someone who has suffered psychiatric injury because he was directly involved in a sufficiently shocking (usually life threatening) situation. An example of this is a person who is involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s careless driving and gets mildly injured (or even remains unharmed) as a consequence, but the fright from the crash triggers a serious mental condition.
A secondary victim is a person who suffers nervous shock without himself being exposed to danger. An example of this is a spectator at a car race, who witnesses a fatal crash caused by negligence on the part of the car manufacturers and develops a nervous illness because involved in the crash is her husband.
A secondary victim must witness a shocking event, the shock must be sudden and the incident must involve someone with whom he has a relationship that can be described as a close tie of love and affection.
If you or a loved one would like to discuss the possibility of bringing a Psychiatric injury compensation claim please call one of our Personal Injury (PI) lawyers on 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no obligation chat. Alternatively, you can complete the request a call back form and we will call you.