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Psychological Damages and Personal Injury Cases: What Victims Need to Know

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Think of personal injury cases, and it’s easy to imagine someone being hit by a car, slipping in a supermarket or experiencing an injury at work. Broken bones, torn muscles, sudden disabilities, whiplash etc – injuries like these are commonplace in personal injury cases, and while these injuries are debilitating, what many victims fail to value is the damage to their mental health.

Psychological trauma is just as likely when you’ve experienced a frightening and painful event. And considering how debilitating a psychological injury can be, it’s vital that victims like you speak with personal injury law firms about the additional suffering you’re experiencing.

The stigma that still surrounds mental health often makes it difficult for victims to come forward, but when it’s the result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, speaking about your mental health concerns can potentially gain you access to treatment and therapies that may aid your recovery. You’re going to need medical assistance and treatment to get your physical health back on track, so why not do the same for your psychological health?

What are the most common circumstances?

Those who have suffered a psychological injury due to an accident are usually victims of violence, have been involved in near-miss incidents or where life-changing physical injuries have occurred. Of course, mental trauma can manifest for several reasons, but in personal injury cases, you may find that those who have been involved in car, motorcycle or truck accidents are more likely to suffer. In addition, those who have experienced criminal or violent acts against them or those that have
experienced injuries and terror whilst at their most vulnerable (e.g. during birth) also often find themselves struggling mentally.

These kinds of circumstances can cause anxiety, panic attacks, profuse sweating, irritability, mania or strong aversion to particular situations such as getting in a car or visiting the hospital. These kinds of symptoms can severely impact the victim’s quality of life.

Understanding primary and secondary victims

After an accident, there are two kinds of victims. These are defined as primary and secondary:
- Primary Victim: The person who was directly involved in the accident. They have sustained
physical injuries and additional psychological trauma as a result of what happened. Their
injuries/trauma is well documented.

- Secondary Victim: This person was NOT directly involved in the accident, however witnessing what occurred has left them with a psychological injury such as anxiety, depression or other emotional trauma. Secondary cases of psychological trauma are common, however, they will only be considered when the primary victims’ case has been proven. They’ll also need their own evidence and also need to prove a connection to the primary victim.

What kind of psychological injuries are common?

There is a broad spectrum of mental injuries, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, specific phobias, a growing reliance on drugs etc.

Any kind of traumatic injury that impacts your ability to work, provide for your family, enjoy life and just go about your daily life should be brought to the attention of your personal injury solicitor.


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