Accidents are primarily associated with physical injuries. This could involve broken bones/fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, ankle injuries, etc. While these wounds cause severe pain, they are diagnosable and treatable. So, in most cases, the victim makes a complete recovery.
There is another class of injury that is not physical or detectable by imaging tests. These are emotional injuries that affect a person’s mental health and ability to function in society. One of such is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD has severe and life-altering impacts on personal injury victims. As a result, the law allows them to file compensation claims against persons or organisations responsible for the event that led to their condition. But how much can a person get for post-traumatic stress disorder, and what does the compensation process entail?
This article answers this question and more. In it, we also cover PTSD claims/compensation calculator. But first, let’s discuss post-traumatic stress disorder and the different ways it develops.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event. Usually, the person with PTSD either experienced or witnessed it. Most people who undergo traumatic events develop PTSD and have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping.
However, with medical treatment and excellent self-care, people living with post-traumatic stress disorder can get back the life they had before the horrific event. PTSD manifests in several ways. For example, for a car accident victim, especially one who survived a ghastly incident, it could be an ability to ride in a car or drive one.
There are different symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, if left untreated, it could last for months or even years and affect your day-to-day functioning. Therefore, get immediate treatment when you notice the PTSD signs.
The symptoms could start within a month of the traumatic event or weeks later. They are broadly classified as intrusive, avoidant, negative changes in thinking, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. When broken down, the signs include:
- Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
- Avoiding discussions about the occurrence
- Relieving the traumatic event as if it were happening again
- Feeling detached from family and friends
- Difficulty feeling positive emotions
- Trouble sleeping
- Being easily startled or frightened, etc.
What Are the Causes of PTSD?
Before commencing a PTSD claim, you must first understand the causes. According to the National Health Service, severe post-traumatic stress disorder develops in 1 in 3 people. The events that result in this condition are:
- High-impact car accidents
- War or conflict
- Physical or sexual assault
- Getting exposed to a traumatic work event, including remote exposure
- Serious health problems that result in being admitted to the intensive care unit
- Abuse, either childhood or domestic
- Childbirth experiences
Not every cause of PTSD would give rise to a compensation claim. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder from childbirth would not give rise to legal action. It would only result in a civil case if the victim can show that medical negligence caused the event that led to the PTSD.
Who Is Liable to Pay Compensation for PTSD?
A post-traumatic stress disorder falls under personal injury law. As such, liability in PTSD cases falls on the person or the organisation that caused the event that led to the condition. So, suppose you were in a high-impact crash caused by a drunk driver.
The drunk motorist would be liable to compensate you for physical injuries and mental damage. In addition, if you suffered property damage, you will also get a settlement for it. However, note that the fact that a person drove under the influence does not make them instantly responsible for an accident.
The investigation must link a particular action performed by the driver to the accident. So, if mechanical failure or a defective brake caused the accident, the impaired driver will not be liable. In this case, the company that manufactured the car or the defective part will be responsible.
Similarly, if your PTSD is from a violent act or assault, the person who assaulted you will be the liable party. If there was an instigator, be it an individual or organisation, they would also share responsibility.
The bottom line is that different people or organisations could be simultaneously responsible for your post-traumatic stress disorder. So, you need to correctly identify them before commencing a PTSD claim or using a compensation calculator.
This way, you know how many people to bring a case against and the amount you’re likely to get.
What Happens After You Identify the Liable Party?
After identifying the party responsible for the incident that caused your PTSD, the next step is commencing the claim process. Again, let’s use the car accident case as an example. You file PTSD claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in this instance.
The insurance company should pay the claim. However, even with evidence, they won’t place much premium on your words or your version of events. Instead, the insurance company’s in-house adjuster will investigate the claim to ascertain the fact.
They do this for two reasons. The first is to avoid paying fraudulent claims, and the second is to find loopholes that will exonerate their policyholder or reduce the amount they give you. Also, since the claim is for post-traumatic stress disorder, they need to ascertain that you have the condition.
So, even if you present testimony from your treating physician, they will hire another to examine you. If the insurance company’s doctor finds you have PTSD, you will receive a settlement. But if their result is inconclusive or they say you do not have post-traumatic stress disorder, the insurer will outrightly deny your claim.
If you have a case denial, the next option is filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, the court process is complicated, and you can’t navigate it alone. So, hire a solicitor’s services at this time. Doing this increases your chances of getting fair compensation.
What Will the PTSD Claims Compensation Cover?
Ordinarily, the compensation amount awarded by the insurance company or the courts should consider the effect the PTSD has on your life, family, and work. It should also consider the predicted success of treatment and future medical needs if treatment fails. Therefore, PTSD claims compensation should cover:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Medications, e.g., antidepressants
PTSD claims are under a type of compensatory damages known as non-economic damages. It means that post-traumatic stress disorder does not have a fixed value. However, it is possible to ask for economic damages (losses with a fixed value) when filing a PTSD claim.
This is possible if the condition leaves you unable to work and earn a living. As a result, you can request a settlement for lost wages and loss of future earnings. You can also ask for other non-economic damages like loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
What Is the Worth of PTSD Claims?
This is the most critical question claimants ask. After getting the preliminary discussions out of the way, the one thing they want to know is how much they can get if they start the claims journey. Unfortunately, however, no universal compensation calculator applies to everyone.
There is no fixed sum that all PTSD claimants get. Why?
The answer is no two cases are ever the same. Two persons may have PTSD, but the effect and impact on their lives would differ. As a result, each case is treated solely on its merits. Therefore, victim A can have PTSD and get thousands of pounds as compensation, while victim B will receive tens of thousands of pounds.
So, what is the difference between these two victims? Why does one get more money than the other?
The one thing insurance companies and courts consider is the severity of PTSD. If victim A can still minimally function in society, keep a job, and have the semblance of a ‘normal’ life, their PTSD rating might be minor, hence the little compensation.
If victim B cannot do any of the above and has a severe post-traumatic stress disorder rating, their compensation would be higher. The rationale is that victim B suffered more, and their condition affected their life more adversely than victim A.
So, a PTSD claims/compensation calculator based on the severity of the condition would look like this:
- Mild PTSD £3,710 – £7,680
- Moderate PTSD £7,680 – £21,730
- Moderately severe PTSD £21,730 – £56,180
- Severe PTSD £56,180 – £94,470
These numbers are not definitive. The facts and circumstances of your case determine how much you’ll get.
What Should You Do Next?
If you or a loved one have a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis after witnessing a traumatic event, you may be eligible for financial compensation. However, before commencing a PTSD claim, find out how much you stand to get. We will help you determine your claim’s worth to begin your journey to receiving a fair settlement.
Every claim is unique so it’s impossible to say how much your claim is worth. You can find out more about typical payouts on our Personal Injuries page or discover more by reading our personal injury blog articles.
For a personal estimation on how much your claim is worth please complete our enquiry form and one of our specialist legal partners will contact you.