Can I claim compensation for psychological trauma?

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Lawyer Rachel Thain answers a commonly asked question, ‘Can I claim compensation for psychological trauma?’

The law does not treat psychological trauma in the same way as it treats physical injury following an accident. This often results in a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal position and problems in relation to access to justice.

When we are asked, ‘Can I claim compensation for psychological trauma?’ the most important issue to consider is what is the cause of that trauma.

Compensation is not available to all trauma victims, even if the trauma arose as a result of another party’s carelessness or negligence.

Eligibility for claiming compensation for psychological trauma arises where the claimant is classified as either a ‘Primary Victim’ or a ‘Secondary Victim. Only if the claimant falls within one of these definitions will they be able to claim compensation for psychological trauma.

Primary Victims claiming compensation for psychological trauma

A ‘Primary Victim’ is someone who was directly involved in an incident or accident and suffered psychological trauma as a result. Psychological trauma is often suffered along with physical injury. However, a Primary Victim can claim compensation for psychological trauma even if they did not suffer physical injury, as long as it was a threat of serious injury which caused the psychological trauma.

Secondary Victims claiming compensation for psychological trauma

Secondary Victims are those who suffer a psychological trauma as a consequence of witnessing first hand a serious accident (or a near-miss) involving someone close to them. For a Secondary Victim to claim compensation for psychological trauma the following requirements must be satisfied:

  • The Secondary Victim must have a close tie of love and affection with the Primary Victim. The relationship will usually be that of a parent, a child, a spouse or partner;
  • The Secondary Victim must have been present at the scene of the incident or accident or the immediate aftermath; and
  • The injury to the Primary Victim must have been caused by the defendant’s negligence.

How we can help

If you have been left wondering, ‘Can I claim compensation for psychological trauma?’ then give our Free Legal Helpline a call. We will assess your case and consider whether we can pursue it on a No Win, No Fee basis. Call 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]