Psychological injuries may arise as a result of an injury, either directly, such as in the case of Post Traumatic Stress following a frightening accident or emotional dysfunction accompanying a brain injury, or, psychological injuries can arise indirectly, in the weeks, months and even years following an accident stemming from the loss of enjoyment of life or inability to return to normal functioning as a result of ongoing limitations from physical injuries. Either way, if you suffer from a psychological condition that was caused by someone else’s negligence, or if you had an existing psychological condition that was made worse by an accident, you may be entitled to compensation in the same way you would for physical injuries.
Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or anxiety, are common psychological conditions that can manifest following a traumatic experience.
Symptoms of depression often include feelings of hopelessness, lack of self worth and/or thoughts of suicide. Depression is a common outcome following an injury. Depressive symptoms often occur when individuals suffering from injuries are unable to work, socialize and participate in their regular recreational activities. As well, aggravated physical pain often results in poor sleep patterns, which in turn, can lead to depression. When psychological injuries arise in conjunction with long lasting physical pain, a person may develop what is referred to as “chronic pain syndrome.”
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often manifest as flashbacks, nightmares of the traumatic event and the avoidance of any person, place or experience, which may remind you of your trauma. You may have trouble sleeping or concentrating, and be easily startled.
Symptoms of anxiety include chronic debilitating worry, restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and muscle tension, and in some cases, panic attacks. Anxiety symptoms may be situational, which in the case of an accident victim might mean they occur when the person passes by the place where their accident happened, or being in a car or other situation that reminds the victim of the accident.
Often, psychological injuries will require long term treatment, including medication and psychological counseling or therapy. Depression that occurs in conjunction with chronic physical pain can lead to a cycle of symptoms that are very difficult to treat.
Compensation for psychological injuries resulting from negligence is a fairly new concept in Canadian law. Both the subjective nature of the conditions and their relative social stigma led to skepticism about the authenticity of psychological injuries resulting from trauma. Improved medical assessment and research on the economic and physical health consequences of psychological illnesses has resulted in increased compensation.
Cases involving psychological injuries can be complex and difficult to prove, especially if the claimant has been treated for depression or anxiety prior to their accident, no matter how briefly or remotely in time. MacIsaac & Company lawyers have handled many personal injury claims involving all types of psychological injuries. We have access to experts in the field of psychology and psychiatry who can provide medical evidence to support your claim and help us maximize your compensation.