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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Claim: UK solicitor explains what you must experience in an accident before you can claim PTSD compensation

Post traumatic stress disorder claim: Discover the two essential criteria which can lead to a diagnosis of PTSD following an accident; examples of road traffic accidents and work accidents which can give rise to a post traumatic stress disorder claim; the importance of independent medical evidence in determining the amount of compensation you can claim for PTSD with a link to a page setting out amounts of compensation you can claim for various different degrees of severity of post traumatic stress.

What must you experience in an accident before you can make a post traumatic stress disorder claim?

Post traumatic stress disorder claim

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The two essential experiences, known as gateway criteria, which you must experience in an accident before you can be diagnosed with a serious psychological PTSD condition and so have a post traumatic stress disorder claim, include:

1. Threat of death or serious injury

The accident event must have involved an actual threat of death or a realistic threat of death, serious injury or perceived threat of death or serious injury.

There are many different types of accident that can lead you to believe that you are about to die or suffer serious injury. The most typical example is a serious road traffic accident in which you might witness an oncoming vehicle and be powerless to prevent the collision. In such an instance as a car accident or other RTA involving large vehicles, such as a truck, it is reasonable for you to experience a belief that you might die or be seriously injured.

Another example of a serious accident – might be a severe work accident involving large industrial machinery. I have had post traumatic stress disorder claims for workers pulled into an industrial machine which is powerful enough to cause death. If that worker survives the trauma will quite likely have given the worker a real belief that he could have been killed or suffer serious injury.

2. You must experience at the time of your accident an intense fear and a sense of helplessness

At the time of the accident you are involved in you must experience intense fear, helplessness or horror. Your mind will tell you that you are being involved in a trauma which could cause your death or cause you serious injury, but you will feel you are unable to do anything to prevent the accident from occurring.

An example of an accident which can give rise to a post traumatic stress disorder claim is a severe road traffic accident. If you are the driver of a car or a passenger in a car which is hit by another vehicle you can experience a horror and helplessness from being unable to prevent the accident from happening – the consequences of which you might perceive could be death or serious injury.

A car driver might be unable to manoeuvre out of the way to prevent a collision or freeze in the situation. Paralysed by fear.

Alternatively, a passenger who has no control of the vehicle will feel helpless to act to preserve their own safety.

Whether a driver or passenger – a serious road traffic accident can cause you to experience the intense fear, helplessness or horror of the impending collision and the consequences of that collision.

What type of accident victim can make a post traumatic stress disorder claim?

Statistically women are more likely to suffer from PTSD than men although it is often dependent on the mind-set of the individual. It cannot be predicted which individual will receive a psychological injury such as post traumatic stress or will be able to cope with a serious accident.

It has been shown that the more severe an accident and the more serious your physical injuries – such as a high speed car accident involving broken bones, severe whiplash, back injuries, etc. the more likely you are to suffer from some form of psychological injury and therefore to have a post traumatic stress disorder claim.

How much compensation is a post traumatic stress disorder claim worth?

The amount you can claim for post traumatic stress compensation should not be considered in isolation from your other injuries as typically you will have received physical as well as psychological injuries in an accident.

The amount of compensation you can claim will depend on the extent of your post traumatic stress.

A principle in law known as the "thin egg shell skull principle" sets out that so long as it is foreseeable that you could suffer injury given the type of accident you experience - the person legally at fault for your accident is responsible for the full extent of your injuries so long as those injuries are verified by an appropriate medical expert, which for a post traumatic stress disorder claim would be a clinical physiologist or psychiatrist..

The medical expert must be independent – in other words should not be your treating doctor, but instead an independent specialist instructed by your solicitor.

For example, in the case of a road traffic accident you might be especially prone to severe PTSD whereas a passenger in the same accident might suffer no psychological injury. If a psychological expert verifies your injury – your post traumatic stress disorder claim would be quite substantial.

To see a page I have written setting out how much a post traumatic stress disorder claim is worth click post traumatic stress claim amounts