Besides physical injuries, being the victim of a severe accident can also cause psychological damage. While most people experience fear and distress during and after a traumatic event, you should start to feel better over time. If symptoms persist or worsen and interfere with your daily functioning, you may have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
The symptoms of PTSD usually show within the first month of experiencing a traumatic event such as a road traffic accident, medical negligence or a violent crime. These include disturbing nightmares and flashbacks, extreme anxiety or anger, depression, cognitive difficulties and many other symptoms.
PTSD may severely interfere with the victim’s ability to carry out daily tasks, have relationships and move on with their life. Although numerous treatments are available, such as medication and psychotherapy, severe forms of PTSD will usually affect the victim long-term or even permanently.
If you developed PTSD due to the negligence of another party, you might be able to claim PTSD compensation. If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. This way, you can take legal action regardless of your financial situation and without any risk.
If you feel you may have a valid PTSD claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a friendly legal adviser. The consultation is confidential and provided without any obligation to proceed.
Can I make a PTSD claim?
If you were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic event, you might be eligible to make a PTSD claim. A free consultation with a legal adviser is the most straightforward way to determine if your case has merit. While you may feel uncomfortable talking about your trauma, they will only ask you the necessary questions to understand if you can pursue compensation.
Usually, a claim should be possible if:
- The accident or crime that caused your PTSD took place in the last three years
- The traumatic event was somebody else’s fault
There is no one cause for PTSD claims. Post-traumatic stress disorder may be triggered by a single event, such as being involved in a severe car accident, or by a series of recurring events, such as childhood abuse. Your solicitor will evaluate all the available evidence to assign liability and build a strong case.
You may also be eligible to claim PTSD compensation in the following circumstances:
- As a secondary victim, if:
- You have suffered PTSD due to witnessing a traumatic event.
- You have a close, affectionate tie to the primary victim, for example, if you are their parent, child, sibling or partner.
- You have witnessed the actual event or the immediate aftermath.
- You had a direct perception of the harm to the primary victim.
- As a witness, if you have suffered severe psychological trauma after witnessing a serious crime or accident. For this, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that your PTSD was directly caused by what you saw.
- As a litigation friend, for a child under 18 or an adult who has lost the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings due to the trauma. To become their litigation friend, you must file a certificate of suitability with the court, stating that:
- You can fairly and competently take charge of the claim
- You have no conflict of interest with the victim
What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health and behavioural disorder that could develop after experiencing a traumatic event. It could be due to a very stressful, frightening or distressful event such as a road traffic accident, child abuse, sexual assault, military accident or any other threats to one’s life.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic event, and nearly everyone would have difficulty adjusting and coping. Most people usually get better naturally over a few days or weeks. However, if symptoms persist or aggravate and interfere with your daily functioning, you may have PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD last more than a month after the event and include unsettling feelings, thoughts or dreams related to the event. They also involve alterations in how a person thinks or feels, mental or physical distress due to reminders of the traumatic event and attempts to avoid triggers.
PTSD can occur in all people, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or culture, but women are twice as likely as men to develop it. It is not necessary to have experienced the trauma yourself. You could also develop PTSD after witnessing a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one.
Victims of deliberate violent acts such as rape, kidnapping, stalking, a terrorist attack or domestic violence have a higher probability of developing PTSD than those who experience non-violent trauma, such as a car or workplace accident.
In England, around 3 in 100 individuals suffer from PTSD, which is much more common in certain groups of people. For example, 1 in 2 female rape victims, 1 in 5 firefighters and 1 in 3 teenage survivors of car crashes will develop PTSD.
If you developed PTSD due to the negligent or violent behaviour of another person, you might be able to claim compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim for PTSD, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD usually show within the first three months after the traumatic event but may not begin until years later. In addition to PTSD, trauma survivors often develop other associated medical conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
If you were not responsible for the traumatic event leading to your condition, you might be able to claim compensation for PTSD. To be diagnosed with the disorder, symptoms must last over a month and be severe enough to interfere with daily activities or relationships. You may have PTSD if you experience some of the following symptoms for at least one month:
At least one intrusive memory or re-experiencing symptom, such as:
- Recurrent, involuntary thoughts of the traumatic event
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event in which you relive the trauma over and over, accompanied by physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat or sweating. Flashbacks could be so vivid that you might see the traumatic experience before your eyes.
- Nightmares or upsetting dreams about the event
- Frightening thoughts
- Severe emotional or physical reactions to cues related to the traumatic situation
At least one of the following avoidance symptoms:
- Evading places, objects, activities or people that are a reminder of the traumatic episode
- Trying to avoid remembering or thinking about the event
- Resist talking about what happened and how you feel about it
- Steering clear of thoughts or emotions related to the event
At least two alterations in reactivity and arousal, including:
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Irritability, aggressive behaviour or angry outbursts
- Self-destructive or reckless behaviour like drug and alcohol abuse or driving too fast
- Trouble sleeping and concentrating
- Being overly watchful of your surroundings and always on guard for danger
- Feeling tense, nervous or edgy
At least two mood and cognition symptoms, such as:
- Inability to remember essential details of the traumatic event and other memory problems
- Negative thoughts and feelings about the world or themselves
- A distorted sensation of overwhelming fear, guilt or shame
- Losing interest in pleasurable activities you once enjoyed
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Hopelessness about the future
- Feeling detached or estranged from family members and friends
- Hard time experiencing positive emotions
It is normal to feel upset and experience some of these symptoms right after a traumatic event. While for most people, they gradually decrease over the following weeks, in some cases, they persist and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Children under six may develop particular symptoms that include:
- Starting to wet the bed again
- Being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being overly clingy with a parent or another adult
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with PTSD, you might be eligible to make a PTSD claim. To find out if you have a valid compensation claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What type of accidents could result in a PTSD compensation claim?
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after witnessing or being the victim of a single traumatic event. It may also develop during prolonged exposure to a distressful or traumatic situation.
Many events could cause PTSD and might entitle you to claim PTSD compensation, including:
Accidents at work
If you have an accident in the workplace, besides physical injury, you might also experience severe psychological distress. This might keep you from returning to work or to your daily life even after your physical wounds heal. You may also develop PTSD if you witnessed somebody else suffer a severe injury while you were doing your job.
If your employer breached their duty of care to take all reasonable measures to keep you safe at work, you might have a valid PTSD claim for compensation.
Road traffic accidents
Whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, or even a witness to a road accident, it can have a severe emotional impact on you. Every year, thousands of people develop PTSD after surviving an accident. The psychological consequences of a grave incident can severely interfere with your day-to-day functioning.
You may constantly experience anxiety, nervousness, hopelessness and vulnerability. You may also have recurrent nightmares and flashbacks and feel compelled to avoid certain roads or even get near a car. If another person was responsible for the accident, you could make a claim for PTSD.
PTSD is a very common condition among military veterans. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, there is a 7.4% rate of PTSD among UK veterans of all conflicts. For veterans deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in a combat role, 17% reported symptoms of the disorder and 30% were predicted to develop a mental health condition.
Military injury claims through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme include compensation for PTSD, regardless of liability. Military personnel injured during service could also claim for PTSD under civil law when negligence can be proven.
Medical negligence is often the cause of post-traumatic stress disorder following circumstances such as:
- A misdiagnosis of a terminal illness or severe health condition
- Anaesthetic awareness or other anaesthesia errors
- The wrongful death of a loved one due to a medical error
- Stillbirth, cerebral palsy, and other birth injuries
- Cosmetic surgery errors causing scarring and disfigurement
If a healthcare professional offered a substandard level of care, causing you an avoidable injury or the death of a loved one, you might be eligible for PTSD compensation.
Besides suffering a physical injury, being the victim of a violent crime can have severe psychological consequences. A violent crime defines a criminal activity where the victim suffers from or is threatened with violence and includes:
- Rape and sexual assault
- Terrorist attacks
- Mugging and robbing
- Physical assault
- Domestic violence
- Childhood abuse
All blameless victims of a criminal injury could claim compensation for PTSD through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Being bitten by a dog can have a powerful emotional impact on the victim and their family. The victims, especially children, may often experience symptoms of PTSD, such as continuous nightmares, being extremely afraid to be around a dog or even seeing a dog on TV.
If you did not provoke the attack, the owner will be held liable for the accident and would have to pay you compensation. If you were attacked by a stray dog or somebody purposefully ordered their dog to bite you, you could make a PTSD claim through the CICA.
Sudden loss of a loved one
Losing a loved one is among the most emotionally traumatic things you could experience. If they passed away unexpectedly due to the negligence of another party, this could make the situation even more shocking and distressful.
You might be entitled to claim for PTSD if you witnessed an accident or the immediate aftermath of a fatal injury to a loved one, such as:
- A road traffic accident
- Medical negligence
- A violent crime
- An accident at work
Witnessing a death or severe injury
Due to the nature of their job, firefighters, police, paramedics and military personnel are at significantly higher risk of developing PTSD. They are repeatedly exposed to horrible, traumatic events such as:
- Exposure to details of child abuse cases
- Serious road traffic accidents with fatalities or severe injuries
- Victims of natural disasters and violent crimes
Any person that witnesses a severe or fatal injury can develop PTSD, even if the victim is not related to them.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, you might be entitled to claim PTSD compensation. If you feel you may have a valid claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
What treatments are available for PTSD?
If you developed PTSD after experiencing trauma, it might be challenging to take the first step toward helping yourself. Although some mild cases may need no treatment and the symptoms disappear over time, it is essential to seek medical advice.
The earlier you get treatment, the better your chance of recovery. PTSD is commonly treated with various types of medication and psychotherapy, such as:
- Medication – psychoactive drug therapy is a second-line treatment for PTSD and is reserved for people who do not respond to other non-medicinal cures.
- The two medicines recommended for treating PTSD in adults are paroxetine and sertraline. They are both a type of antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Benzodiazepines can sometimes be prescribed for short-term treatment of severe anxiety, irritability, panic and insomnia.
- Psychotherapy – is the first-line treatment for PTSD. It involves talking with a mental health professional to lessen the patient’s psychopathologies and functional impairment. There are several types of psychotherapy available, also known as talk therapy:
- Exposure therapy involves exposing the victim to trauma-related cues to weaken the connection between triggers and trauma memories. This therapy helps you face situations and memories you find frightening in a safe environment and learn how to cope with them effectively.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions and behaviour. It uses several psychological techniques to help people manage their symptoms by changing how they think and act. Cognitive therapy is often used alongside exposure therapy.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) involves recalling the traumatic event while following a series of guided eye movements. These eye movements can help you process the traumatic memories and change how you react to them.
- Alternative and complementary therapies – refer to any practices that are not considered part of standard medical care or that could be used alongside traditional cures to improve results, such as:
- Yoga promotes a mind and body connection that has shown promise of reducing PTSD symptoms when used alongside other therapies. It can increase affect awareness and help people regulate their emotions, which can be fundamental in overcoming symptoms of PTSD.
- Animal-assisted intervention is any therapy that includes animals in the treatment to improve the social, emotional or cognitive functioning of the patient. The most commonly used form of animal-assisted therapy is canine therapy, which has shown significant promise in reducing PTSD symptoms.
- Group therapy encourages victims of similar past trauma to connect and share their experiences while developing trust in a comfortable and non-judgemental setting. This helps victims acknowledge that they are not alone and many others have experienced similar situations and emotions.
There is no agreement on which therapy is best, and every person might benefit more from one specific treatment than the others. If you have any symptoms two to four weeks after a traumatic event, you should seek medical advice. Your healthcare provider will establish which therapy might be best for you, according to your unique circumstances.
Furthermore, if you developed PTSD because of somebody else’s actions, you might be able to make a PTSD claim. The compensation award could cover the cost of any treatment or prescriptions you might need to aid your recovery, whether available through the NHS or private healthcare.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to claim PTSD compensation and answer any questions you may have.
How do I claim compensation for PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder can have a considerable impact on your daily life and relationships and could stop you from being able to work and function normally. If you have experienced PTSD because of someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to PTSD compensation.
Compensation for PTSD can help you pay for the treatment and support you need and cover your past and future financial losses.
The first step towards making a claim for PTSD is to contact an expert personal injury solicitor. They will give you free advice on whether you could claim and talk you through the future steps before contacting the defendant and beginning your case.
To have a successful PTSD claim, you must be able to prove that another party is responsible for your psychological injury. Your solicitor will help you gather relevant proof to support your case, but you should also try to collect evidence such as:
- Medical reports proving your PTSD, the severity of your psychological trauma, treatments received and recovery prospects. Aside from your PTSD symptoms, you could also claim for any physical injuries you sustained in the accident.
- If you have been the victim of a violent or sexual crime, you should report it to the police.
- If you suffered an injury at work, make sure it gets recorded in the accident report book and ask for a signed copy of the report.
- Get the contact details of any witnesses to the accident. Your solicitor might contact them for a statement if it is unclear who is liable for the accident.
- Take photographic evidence or a video recording of the accident scene. If you can safely do so, take pictures from various angles at the time of the accident.
- Try to secure a copy of any CCTV or dash cam footage that might have captured the accident.
- Keep notes about how the accident happened and how PTSD affected your daily life.
- Evidence of the related financial losses and expenses you incurred due to the PTSD or other injuries.
After you have enough evidence to build a strong claim, your solicitor will contact the negligent party and negotiate your PTSD compensation. If the defendant denies responsibility for your trauma or you cannot agree on a settlement, your solicitor will take the claim to court.
If you have PTSD, claiming compensation and the prospect of going to court may seem more than you can handle. However, if your symptoms do not allow you to conduct legal proceedings, you could have a litigation friend claim on your behalf.
To learn more about making a claim for PTSD and the options available to you, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How much compensation can I claim for PTSD?
The award for PTSD compensation depends on the severity and duration of your suffering, its effects on your life, and any related financial losses. Your solicitor will investigate what happened and calculate a suitable PTSD compensation award for your circumstances.
If your PTSD claim is successful, you can recover two types of damages:
Special damages are the financial losses you incurred as a direct result of your injury and might include:
- Lost earnings, including future losses if you are unable to work for an extended period
- Changes in your ability to work
- Costs of medical treatments and prescriptions
- Psychotherapy and counselling
- Costs of care and assistance with daily tasks
- Travel expenses to and from medical visits or solicitor appointments
General damages cover subjective, non-financial losses such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of prospects
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of amenity, such as inability to enjoy a social or leisure activity
When calculating PTSD compensation for general damages, your solicitor will refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College, a department of the Ministry of Justice. There are four categories of compensation awards for PTSD:
- The compensation award may range from £59,860 – £100,670
- The effects of the trauma are permanent and severely interfere with the victim’s ability to work or function anywhere close to pre-trauma levels.
Moderately severe PTSD
- The compensation amount may range from £23,150 – £59,860
- PTSD is likely to cause significant disability, but some recovery is possible with the help of a professional.
- The compensation range is between £8,180 – £23,150
- The victim has largely recovered, and any long-lasting symptoms of the psychological trauma are not majorly disabling.
Less severe PTSD
- Between £3,950 – £8,180 compensation award
- There is a virtually full recovery in a year or two, but some minor symptoms may persist for longer.
As every PTSD claim is unique and symptoms may differ from person to person, your solicitor will be able to give you a fair estimate of your compensation prospects after a thorough assessment of your circumstances. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or leave your details to receive a call back.
Can I make a PTSD claim using no win no fee?
If you are thinking about claiming PTSD compensation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced injury lawyer. They will be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim and the steps you should take to secure compensation.
At the beginning of the claim, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy in your name. It is a type of legal expenses insurance which provides cover for the legal costs incurred in the pursuit of compensation.
The ATE insurance removes the risk of you having to pay the defendant’s costs if you lose the claim for PTSD. Furthermore, it will also cover your costs and disbursements such as police and medical reports, court fees and the cost of expert witnesses.
If you make a no win no fee PTSD claim, your solicitor will also arrange a free medical assessment with an independent professional. They will produce a medical report stating the type and extent of your symptoms, which serves as essential evidence in your compensation claim.
To sum up, this is what will happen if you reach a no win no fee agreement with your solicitor:
If you win PTDS compensation:
- The defendant will cover most or all your legal expenses
- You will pay the cost of the ATE insurance premium
- Your solicitor will get a success fee, which cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award
If you lose your PTSD claim:
- You do not have to pay anything to your solicitor
- The ATE insurance will cover the legal costs incurred by you and the defendant
- You will not be left with any out-of-pocket expenses
- There are no hidden charges
Due to the unique features of a no win no fee agreement, there are no risks in pursuing compensation for PTSD. Furthermore, your solicitor will provide free advice and support at every step, take care of collecting evidence and negotiate with the other side so you can focus on your recovery.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a no win no fee PTSD claim and answer any questions you may have.