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PK Simpson Blog

Psychological injuries and compensation after a car accident

Car crashes are unfortunately a common feature on Australian roads, despite attempts to improve driver awareness and the safety features available on cars. Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show transport crashes remain one of the most common causes of injury across the nation.

Mental disorders can arise from car accidents.

Mental disorders can arise from car accidents.

The AIHW’s ‘Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2012-13’ report shows that 12 per cent of injuries were caused by transport crashes during the 2012-13 financial year. These were most common among the 15 to 24 age group, while men were shown to be more vulnerable than their female counterparts.

Although there is undoubtedly a risk of physical injury in a car accident, there is also a threat of psychological harm. Many victims face mental disorders in the immediate aftermath of the event, and it is possible that this will persist for many years afterwards.

Here are some of the most prominent types of psychological injury faced by those involved in car accidents, which compensation solicitors may be able to pursue a claim for.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be diagnosed through a number of symptoms. It usually occurs in people who have been through an especially harrowing event – including those involved in car accidents – although this is not always the case. Sufferers may be reluctant to return to the scene of the incident, or constantly relive it in their minds.

Figures from beyondblue show as many as one million Australians experience PTSD over the course of a year. For 12 per cent, this is a condition they contend with for the rest of their lives. The charity also identifies serious accidents as one of the primary causes of PTSD throughout Australia.

Anxiety

Another relatively common outcome of a car accident is experiencing anxiety. Signs include feelings of irritability, an inability to properly relax and concentrate, and confusion.

Lynda Matthews, the head of the Rehabilitation Counselling Unit at the University of Sydney, told the Roads and Maritime Service as many as 30 per cent of car crash victims will experience a negative psychological response.

“It’s not so much the severity of the crash or the severity of any resulting injury that counts – it’s how someone perceives it,” commented Dr Matthews.

Depression

Depression can likewise emerge in anyone who has experienced a car accident, particularly if someone was seriously or fatally injured. This can lead to panic attacks and a reluctance to open up about the mental impact of the event.

The Black Dog Institute reveals depression is the third-highest burden of disease in the entire country. Sufferers also face the condition for longer than those with other non-fatal disabilities.

Coupled with physical injuries which may stay as a niggling injury for the rest of your life or change the way you live your life day to day, the aftermath of a car crash can be longstanding and have impacts on your family and your wellbeing. NSW has compulsory thrid party insurance coverage which protects those injured in a car accident in anyway, shape or form, even as a pedestrian or bikerider, or as a forklift driver or some other vehicle which requires registration for road usage. The insurance is paid out in accordance with the severity of your injury and the economic loss suffered (ie. if you are now unable to work).

For those who have suffered injuries due to a car accident, we are here to help you make a compensation claim against an insurer. If you’ve been injured and the insurer is already paying for your medical treatment, you should still contact us because we will be able to maximise your claim and make sure you receive the full payout you deserve.

For accidents and on the road injuries all over New South Wales contact us on 02 9299 1424.

We also make sure to look into other claim avenues which may be available to you such as Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) which is a separate claim not available to all Australians in the unfortuante situation when they are unable to work due to an injury or illness.

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