Some injuries are invisible to the naked eye, but can be just as devastating as physical impairment. Emotional, mental, and psychological trauma may play a key role in a person’s quality of life. Sometimes, psychological injuries can go hand-in-hand with physical injuries, making it harder to heal and becoming a critical issue in many personal injury claims. However, sometimes there is psychological damage without a physical injury, which can add to the complexity of filing a claim for compensation. If you or a loved one is experiencing difficulties of this nature, it is important to seek help from both medical and legal professionals in order to receive the care and compensation that you need and deserve.
Can I Receive Compensation for Psychological Injury Alone?
Occasionally, a situation will arise where an individual will be suffering from emotional trauma absent any accompanying physical injury. In most cases, the person suffering will be able to receive compensation.
Examples of Psychological Injury
Bullying in the workplace is a common cause of these types of injury and usually is due to the failure of management to take reasonable action. In such cases, an employer is required to investigate the circumstances and instigate disciplinary action, even if the employer comes to an incorrect conclusion.
When investigating the employee’s circumstances, an employer must conduct itself in a reasonable manner so as to respect and protect their employees. For instance, an employer will likely be held accountable for conducting disciplinary action over the phone with no notice and with no opportunity for the employee to respond if such behavior results in psychological injury.
‘Nervous shock’ is another type of pure psychological injury that can be caused by witnessing a tragic event or serious accident that causes a fatal injury. Nervous shock may also occur when a family member of a fatal accident victim hears about the accident and has to deal with the aftermath of the death, for instance identifying the body or attending to them in an intensive care ward.
Symptoms of Psychological Injury
Psychological injury can manifest in a broad range of symptoms, including mental, emotional and even physical ones. Diagnosis and treatment of such injuries is not a straightforward process. It can often take a long time to identify a treatment plan that works for the particular circumstances of the injured party. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder can cause an unpredictable number of symptoms including, but not limited to: mood swings, insomnia, irritability, dissociation, difficulty concentrating, difficulty eating, fatigue, chronic anxiety and fear, withdrawal, dissociation, periods of mania, confusion, and more.
Proving Psychological Injury
When fling a compensation claim for psychological injury, not only will you need to prove that there was a duty of care owed, that the duty was breached and that the breach caused your injury, but you will need to demonstrate that you have suffered damage in some way. This can include past and future expenses, lost wages, and even future economic losses. You can show damage through proof of negligence and proof of medical treatment. By seeking medical treatment, you can establish both the existence of your injury, and the cost of the injury.
The amount of compensation you can receive for psychological injury has the potential to be very large, but will depend on both the severity of the injury and the duration of the injury. Unsurprisingly, the worse the effects of the condition and the longer-lasting the condition, the more compensation you will be entitled to receive.
In short, psychological injuries are extremely serious and you may be entitled to receive compensation for your condition. If you or a loved one have experienced trauma at work, it is vital that you immediately seek both medical and legal advice.