Council Compensation Claims

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Council Compensation Claims

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Council Compensation Claims

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We work in partnership with National Accident Helpline, the UK's leading personal injury experts.

Council Compensation Claims

Free, no obligation advice

Not sure if you have a valid claim? Contact us for free advice, with no obligation to proceed.

Council Compensation Claims

No win no fee guarantee

No win no fee takes the risk out of making an injury claim. If you lose your case, you don't pay a penny.

Council Compensation Claims

Talk to the experts

We work in partnership with National Accident Helpline, the UK's leading personal injury experts.

Psychological Injury Claims

If you were involved in an accident or experienced a traumatic event due to someone else’s negligence, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim for compensation. Besides the physical injury caused to you, your claim can also include any psychological damage you suffered as a result. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, anxiety and depression.

Common scenarios leading to a psychological injury claim include road traffic accidents, criminal assaults, medical negligence and sexual abuse. Experienced personal injury solicitors can help you get compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your condition, how it has affected your life and any related financial losses.

To find out if you have a valid psychological injury claim, do not hesitate to call the freephone 0800 678 1410 or request a call back. You will receive a free consultation with an experienced personal injury solicitor who will explain everything you need to know about making a claim.

What is a psychological injury?

A psychological injury, also known as a mental or emotional injury, refers to harm to a person’s mental or emotional well-being. It can be due to various factors such as:

  • Abusive behaviour
  • Stress at work
  • Bullying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Other severe accidents
  • Being the victim of medical negligence
  • Witnessing a traumatic event

Unlike physical injuries that affect the body, psychological injuries impact a person’s mental health and can manifest in a variety of ways. Examples include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD and insomnia. These can cause various symptoms ranging from sleep problems to suicidal thoughts, which are detailed in the section below.

Mental health problems can significantly impact your quality of life and ability to work and engage in daily activities. If you were injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be able to claim psychiatric injury compensation.

Signs and symptoms of psychological trauma

Psychological trauma can manifest in various ways, depending on the individual, the nature of the traumatic event, and other factors. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks. You may experience vivid recollections of the traumatic event, often feeling like you are reliving it. Intrusive memories can pop up unexpectedly and make it hard to focus on everyday things, causing a lot of distress.
  • Avoidance behaviours. People who have experienced trauma may go to great lengths to avoid reminders of the event. They might avoid certain places, people, or activities linked to the trauma. This can get in the way of their daily life and relationships.
  • Hyperarousal. You might feel more irritable, anxious, or on edge. You may find it hard to relax or sleep and might get startled easily, constantly feeling like something terrible is about to happen.
  • Mood changes. Trauma can bring on a lot of negative thoughts and feelings, like guilt, shame, or fear. It can make someone feel hopeless or worthless, and they might have trouble finding pleasure in things they used to enjoy.
  • Emotional numbing. Some people shut down emotionally as a way to cope with the overwhelming feelings tied to the trauma. They might feel disconnected from themselves or others, creating a sense of detachment or emptiness.
  • Sleep problems. You may find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or experience restful sleep due to intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or hyperarousal. Sleep disturbances can worsen other symptoms and make it harder to function throughout the day.
  • Physical symptoms. Psychological trauma can also manifest through physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension, and fatigue. These can be the body’s way of reacting to stress and anxiety.
  • Changes in relationships. Trauma can make it hard to trust or connect with others, straining relationships with family, friends, or co-workers. You might withdraw from social activities or struggle to open up about what you’re going through.
  • Substance abuse. Some individuals may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other substances as a way to cope with the pain of trauma. Substance abuse can further aggravate mental health issues and make it harder to recover in the long run.
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviours. In severe cases, trauma survivors can have thoughts of suicide or self-harm as a way to cope with overwhelming emotional pain. It is essential to take any mention of suicidal thoughts seriously and seek professional help immediately.

Every person may respond to trauma in different ways, and not everyone will develop these symptoms. If you or someone you know manifests any signs of psychiatric harm, it is essential to seek help from a qualified professional for evaluation and support.

psychological injury claims

How are psychological injuries treated?

Based on your symptoms, a mental healthcare professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist will diagnose your condition and plan for treatment. The specific therapy approach will depend on the nature and severity of the psychological injury, as well as your preferences and needs. Examples include:

  • Medication. There are different kinds of drugs that can help with your symptoms. These include antidepressants like sertraline, anti-anxiety medication and mood stabilisers. Medication is often used alongside therapy for the best results.
  • Psychotherapy is a primary treatment for mental health problems. Different types of therapy may be used depending on the nature of the injury and your symptoms. These include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR). Therapy helps you process the traumatic experience, learn how to cope better, and deal with your feelings in a healthier way.
  • Self-care. Self-care practices can play a crucial role in managing psychological injuries. These may include exercise, relaxation techniques, eating well, getting enough sleep and engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy.
  • Lifestyle changes. Sometimes, making changes to your daily life can help improve your overall mental health and well-being. This could be things like changing your routine, finding ways to relax more, setting boundaries or spending time with people who make you feel good.
  • Support groups. You may benefit from talking to others who have had a similar experience. They can offer you support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can reduce feelings of isolation and provide valuable insights and coping strategies.

When it comes to treatment, what works for one person may not work for another. It is essential to work closely with your GP or a mental health professional to find a treatment that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Possible long-term consequences of mental health injuries

Long-term effects of psychological trauma vary depending on the person and how severe the injury is. Here are some possible outcomes:

  • Chronic mental health issues. You may develop ongoing problems like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or adjustment disorders. Your symptoms can last for months or even years if they are not treated promptly.
  • Trouble with daily life. Your condition can interfere with daily functioning. Doing everyday things like work, dealing with relationships, or participating in social activities may be challenging. You might also find it hard to focus, make decisions, or handle your responsibilities.
  • Physical health problems. Stress and anxiety from psychological injuries can also harm your physical health. It might lead to things like heart problems, stomach issues, a weaker immune system, or chronic pain.
  • Substance abuse. Some people try to cope with their emotions by using drugs, alcohol, or other substances. But this can make mental health problems worse, lead to addiction, and make recovery more challenging.
  • Relationship struggles. The trauma you have experienced can strain relationships with family, friends, or partners. You might have trouble communicating, withdraw emotionally, or have trust issues, which can lead to conflicts.
  • Lower quality of life. Dealing with ongoing mental health issues and struggling in daily life can make you feel less happy and fulfilled overall.
  • Isolation. Shame or embarrassment about mental health problems might make you want to pull away from others. This can worsen your feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
  • Risk of symptoms coming back. Without proper treatment and support, psychological injuries might flare up again, especially during stressful times. Finding ways to cope and getting help can reduce the chances of this happening.
  • Impact on future relationships. Unresolved trauma can affect how you relate to others in the future. You might find it hard to trust people and form close bonds.

If you are able to claim compensation for psychological injury, your solicitor will ensure that your award includes all the ways in which the psychiatric damage will likely affect your future life.

Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim for psychological damage?

The easiest way to find out if you are able to make a claim is through a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. They will look into your case and will help you start a mental health claim if they can prove the following:

  • Another party, which will be the defendant in your claim, owed you a duty of care legally;
  • They breached their duty of care towards you through negligence or wrongdoing;
  • You suffered some form of psychological injury as a result of their negligence.

Your solicitor will have expert knowledge of the law and will be able to prove a duty of care, so you should not worry about this aspect. Based on your specific circumstances, they will refer to the common law and legislation such as:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 imposes a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. That includes protecting them from risks to their mental health. Employers must provide a safe working environment free from hazards that could cause psychological harm, such as excessive workloads, bullying, harassment, or exposure to traumatic incidents.
  • The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 imposes a duty of care on occupiers of premises to ensure the safety of visitors who enter their property. If you suffered harm due to hazardous conditions or negligent actions on someone else’s property, the occupier may be held liable.
  • The Road Traffic Act 1988 governs the rules and regulations related to road traffic and vehicle operation in the UK. If you suffered an injury as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives buyers legal rights if they buy a defective product or service. If you’re injured in an accident caused by a faulty product, you can bring a claim against its manufacturer or distributor.

What evidence do I need to support a mental health claim?

If you developed a mental health problem following an accident or another traumatic event, you might be entitled to make a psychological injury claim. To secure compensation, you must be able to prove how the injury occurred, how it has affected your life and who is to blame. Your solicitor will help you gather all the proof you need to support your claim, which may include:

  • Medical records. Although a psychological injury is unlikely to be present immediately after an incident, it is essential to seek medical care for any physical injury as soon as possible. Your solicitor will also use your medical records to prove your mental health condition before and after the traumatic event. These can include doctor’s notes, diagnoses, treatment history, and any changes in symptoms or functioning.
  • Expert testimony. Your solicitor will arrange a free medical exam with a specialist like a psychiatrist or psychologist. They will assess your condition, its causes, the effects of the incident on your mental health and your recovery prospects.
  • Visual evidence. If possible, and depending on the type of accident, take pictures or a video of the accident that caused your trauma. It would help to take them from various angles before anything is moved or repaired. This type of evidence can help to prove what happened.
  • Incident reports. If you have an accident at work or in a public place, you should report it as soon as possible to the responsible party. Make sure they register the events in the company’s accident book and ask for a signed copy of the report. If you are the victim of a violent crime, you should report the incident to the police within 48 hours and get a crime reference number.
  • Witness statements. Ask for the names and contact details of anyone who saw what happened. Witness testimonies can be essential to clarify the events and prove liability if the defendant denies it.
  • CCTV footage. If the traumatic event that caused your injury was caught on CCTV, you can ask for a copy of the footage from the owner.
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports. If your injury was caused by an accident at work, this was likely reported to the HSE. Your solicitor could obtain a copy of the investigation report to prove your employer breached their duty of care towards you and how this led to mental suffering.
  • Write a diary. You should write a detailed account of your experience, including how the incident occurred, its impact on your mental health, and how it has affected your daily life, relationships, and ability to work.
  • Financial losses. You should also keep proof of all the financial losses you incurred due to the injury, as you may be able to claim them back. These could include medical bills, invoices, receipts and payslips.

What situations could lead to a psychological injury claim?

There are many situations that could lead to a claim for psychological injuries, including:

  • Road traffic accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, which can have a severe impact on the victim’s mental health, as well as their loved ones.
  • Accidents at work. Severe workplace accidents, such as falls from a height or crush injuries leading to amputation, can lead to PTSD, anxiety or depression. If your employer failed in their duty of care towards you, you may be able to start an accident at work claim.
  • Accidents in public. Slips, trips, falls, and other accidents in public places can lead to emotional and psychological distress.
  • Assaults. Besides physical injuries, assaults and other violent crimes can have a profound emotional impact. If you were the victim of an unprovoked assault, you could make a mental health claim for compensation.
  • Abuse in care homes. Vulnerable individuals who suffer mistreatment in care homes can develop anxiety, depression and other psychological trauma.
  • Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse and harassment often result in long-lasting trauma for the victim, such as PTSD and feelings of shame and guilt. Victims may struggle with low self-esteem, difficulty forming intimate relationships, and a sense of worthlessness.
  • Stress at work, either due to excessive workloads, unreasonable demands, bullying or harassment, can lead to various mental health conditions.
  • Serving in the military can pose unique challenges and lead to traumas associated with combat and military life. The demands of military service can result in PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
  • Facial scarring due to accidents or other events can impact the victim’s self-esteem, body image and confidence. This can lead to depression, anxiety and other conditions affecting their overall well-being and quality of life.
  • Medical negligence. Surgical errors, misdiagnosis, anaesthetic awareness, and other types of negligence from medical professionals can have a profound psychological impact on patients.
  • Neglect or abuse, especially during childhood, can result in profound psychological damage. The trauma can impair emotional regulation and affect interpersonal relationships throughout life.

Claims for assaults, abuse and other violent crimes are typically made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a non-profit organisation established by the government to compensate blameless victims of violence, regardless of whether the perpetrator has been identified, prosecuted, or convicted.

Examples of psychological injuries you could claim compensation for

You could claim compensation for various types of psychological injuries, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It causes symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and hypervigilance.
  • Anxiety disorders. Examples include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. These are characterised by excessive worry, fear, and avoidance behaviours.
  • Depression. This involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. It can impact mood, energy levels, and overall functioning.
  • Acute stress reaction. Acute stress reaction involves intense psychological distress following a traumatic event. This can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and emotional numbness.
  • Phobias. Specific phobias involve irrational fears of particular objects or situations, causing significant distress and avoidance behaviours.
  • Substance abuse disorders. Some individuals may develop substance abuse disorders as a maladaptive way of coping with trauma.
  • Sleep disorders. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, nightmares, and disrupted sleep patterns, can occur as a result of psychological trauma and stress.
  • Psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic disorders involve physical symptoms or illnesses that are influenced or exacerbated by psychological factors, such as stress or trauma.

Can I still claim compensation if I wasn’t injured directly?

Yes. Psychological injury claims can be brought by two types of trauma victims:

Primary victims are those who directly experience the traumatic event or its immediate aftermath. For example, this could be a pedestrian hit by a car on a zebra crossing or a victim of an unprovoked assault in a nightclub.

Secondary victims are those who suffer psychological harm as a result of witnessing or learning about a traumatic event that happened to someone else, typically a close family member or loved one. For a secondary victim to be entitled to compensation, they must fulfil the following criteria:

  • They have a close tie with the primary victim, which is usually their parent, child or spouse;
  • They were at the scene or witnessed the immediate aftermath of their loved one’s accident;
  • The accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

If you believe these apply to you, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible by calling free on 0800 678 1410. An experienced solicitor will know your rights and legal options and will answer any questions you may have. They will help you prove how the accident happened and how you suffered and secure the maximum compensation on your behalf.

Can I make a claim if I have a pre-existing psychiatric illness?

Yes. You may be eligible to start a psychological injury compensation claim even if you have been previously diagnosed with a condition such as depression or anxiety. This does not disqualify you from making a claim, but it might affect the amount of compensation you receive.

If you have a pre-existing mental illness, you must be able to prove that it has been exacerbated by the incident in question and your symptoms worsened. Your previous medical records and therapy sessions will determine the extent of your condition before the accident. Once this is established, your solicitor will consult with a mental health specialist to determine:

  • How your accident has exacerbated your pre-existing condition
  • The additional impact on your quality of life and ability to function daily
  • Whether you suffered any other additional injuries
  • Whether the accident caused setbacks in your treatment or worsened your prognosis

If your accident caused your pre-existing condition to worsen or you developed another condition that you otherwise would not have, you will be able to make a mental health claim.

Can I make a psychological injury claim on behalf of a loved one?

If someone you love suffered a psychological injury due to someone else’s negligence and cannot handle a claim, you could represent them. This is most often the case if the injured person is a child under 18 or an adult who lacks mental capacity under the Mental Health Act 1983. In these situations, a suitable adult can apply to the court to be named as their litigation friend.

If you want to make a claim for a loved one as their litigation friend, a solicitor can help you file all the necessary documents with the court. You must be able to conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently and have no conflict of interest with the claimant. Once appointed, you will have several responsibilities, such as:

  • Act in the best interests of the one you represent
  • Work closely with your solicitor and take legal advice
  • Make decisions on legal matters, such as whether to settle the claim or proceed to trial
  • Carefully consider any compensation offers from the defendant
  • Keep the claimant informed about the progress of the case
  • Ensure your loved one attends all medical appointments and therapy sessions
  • Deal with correspondence and sign legal documents
  • Pay any fees required by the court
  • Help your solicitor gather the necessary evidence to support a psychological injury claim

If you secure compensation for your loved one, you will typically have to go to court. That is because a judge must approve the awarded settlement and confirm that it is fair and suitable based on the available evidence. The funds are typically kept in a personal injury trust or, in the case of children, in a court bank account until their 18th birthday.

How much compensation for psychological injury could I receive?

The amount of compensation you could receive will be based on various factors, including the severity of the psychiatric illness and its impact on your daily life. Your solicitor will work hard to help you claim the maximum level of compensation possible, which will include two types of damages:

General damages. These are subjective losses that compensate you for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the psychological injury. The amount awarded for general damages is based on the severity and duration of your symptoms, as well as the impact on your quality of life. Examples include:

  • Physical and mental pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship or consortium
  • Loss of prospects
  • Loss of ability to participate in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy
  • Loss of independence or autonomy
  • Reduced quality of life

Special damages. These are quantifiable financial losses or expenses you have incurred due to the injury. They are based on evidence such as receipts, invoices and pay slips and could include the following:

  • Loss of earnings if you are unable to work during recovery
  • The cost of therapy and prescriptions
  • Cost of care and assistance during recovery, even if provided by a loved one
  • Loss of earning capacity if you cannot work for an extended period
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments and therapy sessions

The psychiatric injury compensation award for general damages will be based on the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. According to our compensation calculator, you could receive:

  • £1,220 – £4,670 for mild psychological trauma that does not affect your ability to cope with everyday life
  • £4,670 – £15,200 for a moderate psychological injury that has a good prognosis but might affect your relationships during recovery
  • £15,200 – £43,710 for more severe psychological trauma that affects your relationships, ability to work and cope with life
  • £43,710 – £92,240 for severe traumas that have a significant impact on your life and a poor prognosis
  • £3,150 – £80,250 for post traumatic stress disorder, based on its severity

What is the time limit to start a psychiatric injury claim?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to start a personal injury claim for psychological damage. Depending on the specifics of your case, the time limit could begin from the date you were injured or the date your condition was diagnosed (also known as the date of knowledge). If you do not start legal proceedings within this time frame, your claim will likely be statute-barred, and the court will no longer accept it.

There are a few exceptions to the three-year limitation date:

  • With child injury claims, there is no time limit until their 18th birthday, from which they will have three years to claim compensation if nobody represented them in a legal case beforehand.
  • If you or a loved one do not have the mental capacity to handle a claim, the time limit is put on hold. In this case, a litigation friend could seek compensation on your behalf. The three-year time limit only begins if you regain mental capacity.
  • If you suffered physical or psychological damage due to a violent crime, you have two years to start a claim through the CICA.
  • If you have suffered psychological damage, such as PTSD while serving in the military, you have seven years to claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
  • If you lost a loved one due to severe psychological issues, you can start a claim within three years of their death.

It is always best to start a claim as soon as possible. This will usually make it easier for your solicitor to collect evidence and put together a strong claim, strengthening your chances of success.

What are the benefits of using a No Win No Fee solicitor?

If your psychological injury compensation claim has merit, your solicitor will happily offer you a no win no fee service. This is an excellent opportunity to start a claim with legal representation, regardless of your financial situation. Your solicitor will agree to take on your case without charging any upfront fees. They will take on the risk that if your claim is unsuccessful, they will not be able to recover their costs.

Under this agreement, you only pay your solicitor if they get the compensation you deserve. In this case, they will be entitled to a percentage of your settlement, known as a success fee. This compensates them for the risk they took by offering you a no win no fee agreement. The success fee is agreed upon before starting legal proceedings and is capped at 25% of your psychiatric injury compensation.

With this service, you also benefit from After the Event (ATE) insurance. This type of insurance is typically purchased before starting a personal injury claim and offers you complete financial protection if you lose the case. The ATE will cover all the litigation costs, including:

  • Court and counsel fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • The cost of medical and police reports
  • Travel expenses
  • The cost of printing and copying documents
  • The defendant’s solicitors and legal costs

The policy is self-insuring, which means you only pay for the ATE premium if you make a successful claim. Otherwise, you will not owe anybody a single penny, so you have no financial risk.

If you would like to learn more about the no win no fee service or start a psychiatric injury claim, please call 0800 678 1410 today or enter your details into our contact form to request a call back. You will get a free consultation with a friendly legal adviser who will explain all the steps of the claims process and answer any questions you have.

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