Understanding Compensation Claims For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") have been known for centuries, mainly recognised as arising in a combat situation. Identified by varying names from shell shock and battle...
UK Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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The consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") have been known for centuries, mainly recognised as arising in a combat situation. Identified by varying names from shell shock and battle fatigue to vent du boulet (cannonball wind) in the Napoleonic wars and soldiers-heart in the American Civil War.

In the modern world this serious mental health condition is far better understood. There are many extreme situations that can deliver PTSD as a consequence. In the majority of cases the individual endures a violent incident such as a major accident whilst travelling by road, sea or air, a violent assault or a life-threatening event. Even witnessing such an event can cause this debilitating condition, especially in children and young people.

An important factor when considering taking legal action to obtain compensation for PTDS is the time limits under The Limitation Act (1980). Claimants in personal injury wishing to make a claim must start legal proceeding within three years of when the traumatic event occurred or the date that the claimant became aware of their PTSD attributed to the event. The case does not have to conclude within three year and matters can and often do continue beyond three years.

A survivor of traumatic event may eventually recover from any physical injuries but if PTSD manifests itself, in some cases it can life-limiting. Giambrone & Partners' personal injury lawyers have a wealth of experience in assisting clients to obtain compensation in complex personal injury cases where the event resulted not only in physical injuries but has also caused PTSD.

Alessandra Paduano commented "to some extent, despite greater knowledge related to PTSD, it still remains a little-understoodcondition in some quarters, especially if the sufferer witnessed rather than experienced the ordeal. This can make claims against the perpetrator or organisation challenging to pursue. Compensation claims for PTSD are typically pursued through the civil court system, the eligibility criteria requires the claimant to be able to demonstrate that their condition has a clear link to the event". Alessandra further points out "also, that the event was caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another party."

There are various contingencies to be met when considering a claim for compensation, depending on the nature of the event.

Duty of Care

The claimant must be able to demonstrate that an accident was caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another party.

  • Workplace accident

An accident at work would nearly always place the employer in the position of having been negligent, particularly if the hazard was clear, as they would have failed in their duty of care, unless the injured party did not comply with safety regulations.An employer that fails to provide a safe working environment by acting negligently or recklessly would be liable.

  • Vehicle accident

If a vehicle is poorly maintained, especially in circumstances where any kind of weakness in its structure or in the fabric of the vehicle would almost always result in a catestrophic accident, for example an aeroplane, the liability is clear. Also, if the operator of the vehicle, a sea captain, pilot or train engineer, was reckless in their control of the vehicle.

  • Medical Negligence

Healthcare professionals have a duty to provide a high level of care to their patients. Medical accidents can arise from misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, or failure to obtain informed consent. The actions must amount to neglect and have been avoidable.

  • Product Liability

Manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe for consumers. Accidents may occur due to defective products, inadequate warnings, or failure to provide proper instructions for use.

  • Sporting Accidents

Organisers of sporting events, coaches, and the owners of the facilities owe a duty of care to participants.Inadequate supervision, poor maintenance, lack of safety equipment or a slack attitude to rules aimed at safety.

  • Environmental Risks

Entities and Authorities with responsibility for environmental safety owe a duty to prevent harm to the environment and to public health.Pollution, hazardous waste spills, or industrial accidents can occur as a result of breaches of duty.

Once the defendant's breach of duty directly has been established as the cause the claimant's PTSD, the process of pursuing a compensation claim for PTSD can begin. Central to a successful PTSD compensation claim is expert medical evidence. This involves obtaining assessments and reports from qualified psychiatrists or psychologists who specialize in PTSD. These experts can provide valuable insights into the nature and severity of the claimant's condition, as well as its causal relationship to the traumatic event. Their testimony carries significant weight in establishing the claimant's entitlement to compensation.

If liability is established, the claimant may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical expenses including psychological treatment.

Giambrone & Partners' well regarded personal injury lawyers often attempt a negotiated settlement to avoid the ordeal of a court case for the victim. Pursuing a compensation claim for PTSD can be emotionally challenging, as it often involves reliving the traumatic event and discussing sensitive personal details. Our legal experts experienced in handling PTSD claims and are proficient in assessing the full extent of the claimant's losses and advocating for fair compensation. Our lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the delicate nature of PTSD and will advise, guide and stand by the sufferer throughout the entire procedure.

Alessandra is an associate in our Manchester office. She's a solicitor in England and Wales, and a New York attorney. She completed her LLB (Hons) at the University of Abertay Dundee, Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the Robert Gordon University, and LLM at the University of Dundee. Alessandra's expertise extends to a variety of areas. She specialises in personal injury and has extensive experience helping clients who have had accidents at work that have resulted in suffering serious life changing consequences. Alessandra has a meticulous eye for detail and strong analytical skills, which coupled with her personable approach, allow her to work efficiently and to a high standard. She believes in establishing a good relationship with clients and strives to exceed their expectations. Alessandra understands each client has different needs and ensures that she tailors her advice and approach in acknowledgement of this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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