If a negligent act has caused psychological harm, the person who sustained the psychological harm may be eligible for compensation. Claims for psychological harm are often referred to as “nervous shock claims” and there are two basic situations where they are appropriate. The first is when a person sustains psychological harm due to a physical injury. The other, known as “pure psychiatric injury,” is when a person sustains psychological harm with no physical injury.
In the case of a motor vehicle accident, compensation for pure psychiatric injury will only be awarded if the person witnessed the accident as it occurred, or if they are the child, spouse or parent of someone who was endangered, injured or killed in the accident.
One of the more stringent requirements of compensation for pure psychiatric injury is that the damage must consist of a recognised psychiatric illness. The illness must be assessed and diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist. Two common examples are post traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorder.
The requirement of a recognised psychiatric illness unfortunately precludes two common conditions: the grief of losing a loved one and the physical or psychological strain of being a caregiver for a disabled accident victim.
There are four issues that will also be considered for any pure psychiatric injury claim. First, the psychological harm has to have been caused by sudden shock. Also, the issue of whether or not the claimant witnessed the accident is taken into consideration, along with any relationship between the claimant and the person who was put in peril, injured or killed. The last consideration is whether or not there is a pre-existing relationship between the defendant and the claimant.
Always Talk to a Qualified Legal Professional
If you think you have suffered psychological harm and may be entitled to compensation, contact Bradford Legal today. The issues involved are complex and it is often difficult for a layman to sift through them all. It takes someone with knowledge and experience to navigate the legal maze and determine whether or not your case is worth pursuing.
Call our compensation lawyers on (08) 9316 2299 for a free consultation. We will discuss your situation and assess how strong a case you have and your chances of receiving compensation.