You’ve been suffering from mental distress… It might have been as a result of a serious accident — a motor vehicle crash, a boating accident, a severe slip and fall — or it may have been a non-physical intentional infliction of mental suffering. Serious physical injuries can indeed be quite painful, but sometimes, the most catastrophic result of a personal injury event can be totally invisible. Therefore, the question becomes: ‘Can you claim for psychological injuries after an accident’?
What Does Psychological Injury Mean?
A psychological injury can’t be seen in an x-ray, or an MRI machine. But it can be as serious, or moreso, than any physical injury suffered. The legal definition of a psychological injury is any type of mental harm, suffering or dysfunction that is a direct result of another person’s negligent actions. There are several types of psychological injuries that have been recognized by the courts, some of the most common being:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Chronic Pain Syndrome
- Suicidal Ideation
PTSD, perhaps the most common psychological personal injury claim, can actually be brought on not only by physical involvement in a tragic event, but merely by bearing witness to one. Psychological trauma can leave a person distressed, and unable to shake troubling emotions, anxiety and memories.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has identified three elements in the case of “Intentional Infliction of Mental Suffering”:
- Flagrant or outrageous conduct;
- Calculated to produce harm; and
- Resulting in a visible and provable illness.
Any psychological distress, whether caused intentionally or by negligence, can lead to mental anguish that can have a huge and long-lasting impact on almost every facet of a person’s life, including but not limited to:
- The ability to work
- One’s ability to maintain personal relationships
- Ability to carry on with normal daily activities
- Difficulties with Concentration and Focusing
- Maintaining normal sleep patterns
Can you claim for psychological injuries after an accident or an intentional infliction? The answer is unquestionably “yes”, however these types of claims take on a much different, and sometimes more challenging course, and require a personal injury lawyer with not only expertise, but also compassion, understanding and persistence to ensure no stone is left unturned to earn compensation for the victim.
How Do You Prove Psychological Injury?
Convincing a court, particularly a jury, of a non-visible psychological disorder requires multiple expert witnesses, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and others. Your personal injury lawyer should be working with your medical team to ensure that all of these avenues are pursued.
Psychological injuries are not as obvious to an observer as physical injuries. But just because it isn’t a VISIBLE personal injury, does not mean that you haven’t suffered a severe long-lasting impairment that entitles you to compensation.
Brian A. Horowitz has a track record of nearly 35 years as a compassionate, caring, understanding personal injury lawyer, with renowned expertise in psychological-related cases. His reputation and relationships amongst the medical profession is a value you can’t afford to be without. Call Horowitz Injury Law now for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. 416-925-4100.