Claiming Compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


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By Crispin Bateman

on Wednesday 16 January 2019


PTSD written on paper

Can you make a mental health claim for compensation?

At Accident Line Direct, we receive calls from people unsure if it’s possible to claim compensation for a non-physical injury.

In the past few decades, the world has begun to understand how an emotional or psychological injury is every bit as debilitating as a physical condition and, respect is given to making a mental health claim for depression, anxiety or stress.

One of the more serious mental health conditions, and one that can often rise after a trauma such as a car accident, is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Can you claim for PTSD?

Medical experts have a good understanding of the condition and a concise PTSD definition. The NHS states that it is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

In broader terms, PTSD occurs when you have been subjected to a terrible event in your life and your mind struggles to cope with the aftermath. Often the brain conjures up images of the event, replying it in the mind, or causes you to become withdrawn.

Thankfully, financial help is on hand if you have been the victim of an event that has caused you PTSD. The courts take the condition very seriously and PTSD compensation payouts are no longer rare, as a greater understanding replaces ignorance.

What situations can cause PTSD?

Although there is no singular or common situation that will cause PTSD, the general situations that can trigger the condition have similar components: serious and life-threatening events are among the most usual causes, where the victim often finds that they have a strong sense of guilt for surviving a situation where others might not have been so lucky. Often, those suffering from PTSD have lived through a situation where someone else might have died or otherwise suffered in a significant way.

There are many natural causes for PTSD, for example having to care for someone through the final traumatic weeks of their life or surviving a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.

It is unfortunate that sufferers of PTSD where there is no institution or organisation to blame, are typically denied the financial compensation that others are grateful to receive.

Examples of PTSD which will often lead to a successful claim for financial recompense include:

  • Experience of war
  • Involvement in the violent death of another
  • Fatal road traffic accidents
  • Abduction or hostage situations
  • Being a victim to violent crime
  • Witnessing or being inured as part of a terrorist attack
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • A long period of abuse or neglect

What is complex PTSD?

Most cases of PTSD can be tied to a single traumatic event, such as those described above, however, there is a version of the condition which comes about due to repeated trauma, such as childhood neglect or an extended period of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

In these cases, diagnosing the PTSD can be a lot more complicated. Symptoms often do not surface until years after the trauma ended, as the brain does what it can to repress the memories. When those symptoms do show, they can include additional issues, such as self-destructive behaviour, shame and depression.

In order to successfully file a compensation claim for complex PTSD, you will need the help of a compassionate and understanding quality legal team. At Accident Line Direct, we have the finest PTSD lawyers in the UK, who will undertake your case with respect and make sure you receive the level of compensation that you deserve.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder usually begin within the first few weeks following the traumatic incident.

As with any mental health disorder, however, there are many cases that don’t follow this guideline, and everyone is different – some people will go a much longer period before exhibiting any symptoms whatsoever.

Medical experts have defined PTSD symptoms into three groups:

Re-experiencing

Reliving the experiences that they are trying to recover from is a common effect of the condition and one of the most distressing.

Though they are desperate to get away from the events that caused their illness, part of the mind simply will not let go and forces PTSD sufferers to experience the memory of the event time and time again.

This can be through daytime flashbacks where other events can trigger memories to resurface, vivid nightmares preventing proper sleep and causing additional anxiety at the end of the day, and the inability to shake images or sensations from the mind.

Coupled with these mental re-experiences can come significant pain, sweating, trembling and feeling sick in the stomach.

Avoidance and numbing emotions

It is typical that victims will do everything they can to avoid reliving their experiences and they build a system of avoidance – finding ways to distance themselves from the trauma and anything that might trigger a memory.

One of the easiest ways to do this is not to go near any people or places which may have a connection to the event and can lead to the victim seeming withdrawn or anti-social, preferring to stay at home rather than visit once-favoured locations. It can also lead to a general avoidance of conversation or careful direction to try to steer any chatting away from anything too sensitive.

Burying themselves in an intense task is another common avoidance technique, leading to a near-obsessive interest in a hobby or a new ‘workaholic’ attitude.

Hyperarousal

Hyperarousal refers to the feeling of being extra sensitive. PTSD sufferers are often easily irritated and can exhibit very short tempers, which when combined with their need to avoid triggers can lead to a significant level of withdrawal from friends and family.

Those suffering from hyperarousal also find it difficult to relax and often avoid sleep. It can lead to concentration issues and affect their lives in many ways as a side effect – making them slip up at work or cause social complications.

Hyperaroused victims of PTSD can often be seen as reacting in an extreme, over-the-top way to smaller situations, often seemingly ‘making mountains of molehills’.

While financial compensation doesn’t eliminate any of these issues, it can help victims get the help they need to move on with their lives and get the treatment they need.

If you know anyone who is showing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, we are here to help. Fill in our contact form and someone from Accident Line Direct will call you at a convenient time.

Is PTSD considered a disability?

Some cases of PTSD do qualify as a disability, especially if you can show that your condition prevents you from working, and you will be entitled to benefits under these terms.

For many, however, there is little financial support for suffering from PTSD and you may find yourself under significant financial pressure in addition to the difficulties from living with the disorder.

By contacting Accident Line Direct, you can get help from a team of legal experts with a history of successful personal injury claims. We will work with you on a No Win No Fee basis to provide you with top quality legal support to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available.

How much compensation do you get for PTSD?

As with all personal injury claims, there is a great deal that goes into the calculation of a financial compensation award for PTSD.

The courts use a set of guidelines to help them make a fair final judgement in line with other courts across the UK. The values dictated by these guidelines are:

Severity Compensation
Less severe- full recovery within two years with minor persisting symptoms£3,150 to £6,520
Moderate- will have largely recovered with minial continuing effects£6,520 to £18,450
Moderately severe - better prognosis for recovery with professional help£18,450 to £47,720
Severe- Permanent effects - all aspects of life will be badly affected£47, 720 to £80,250

Note that these are rough guidelines, and every claims case differs. It could be that your potential payout may fall within or outside of these.

When making that final calculation, the court will consider many factors including:

  • Your pain and suffering
  • Loss of earnings due to your condition
  • Expenses incurred due to your condition
  • Cost of future help and care
  • Changes to living conditions

Can I claim for PTSD from the army?

Post-traumatic stress disorder rose to infamy due to its association with the military. While clearer understanding of the condition in recent years means it is no longer directly tied with the armed forces, it is unfortunate that still many soldiers return from active duty with the disorder.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme exists to properly compensate those who have served in the military for PTSD and any other personal injury. At Accident Line Direct we have specialists who have experience working with the AFCS to secure the maximum possible award. For more information on the AFCS and how it can help you, read our article on armed forces compensation claims.

Can I claim compensation for PTSD after a car accident?

Outside of the military, serious road traffic accidents are one of the highest causes of PTSD. At Accident Line Direct, we are experts at dealing with complicated car accident claims, especially those with both a physical and mental health component.

If you have been part of a major car incident that has left you with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder then let us help you obtain the rightful compensation claim.

How much will it cost me to start a compensation claim for PTSD?

At Accident Line Direct, we believe that everyone has the right to top-quality legal representation no matter their background. To meet that ethos, we work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means that if you do not receive a compensation award, then we will not charge you a penny.

There are no hidden costs or pages of confusing small print – we tie our success in with yours and only take a success fee as a percentage of your final award, so when you win, so do we.

Our expert personal injury lawyers have years of experience dealing with PTSD claims from all avenues of society and can deal with your claim with professionalism and care. From the initial contact with our compassionate advisors, to the final compensation award, you will receive the best quality representation available in the UK.

Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder requires expert levels of counselling and help and without the right financial backing, it may be hard to get that aid in the long term. By securing a full payout, we can help ensure that you get all the assistance you need to manage your condition fully and live the fulfilling life you deserve.

For more information on our services for mental health claims, or any personal injury compensation, give us a call today. Or, if you prefer, fill in our contact form and one of our trained advisors will call you back at a time that works for you.

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