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.
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.
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 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.
A: If you’ve had a motor car accident, stop your vehicle and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure nobody is injured, and if so, call emergency 000 and remain at the scene of the accident. If it’s a minor incident you don’t need to call the police, but move the damaged cars if possible. Never admit responsibility even if you think you were at fault. Collect name, address, registration number and insurance details from the other parties and get witness details if possible.
A: Motor accident compensation claims are normally finalised after you’ve recovered, or your injuries have stabilised. It can take some people longer to recover than others – from days to years – which determines the length of time it can take to finalise a claim. Also, your injuries may not always appear immediately after the accident and can take some time to appear, in some cases, years.
A: In a carpark, anyone driving in the lanes has the right of way, so if you’re the one pulling out of the car space and hit another motor vehicle, you are likely to be the majority at fault in the accident. However, since both cars are moving, both drivers might hold some responsibility. But if you hit a parked car, you are likely at fault.
A: When lodging a claim for compensation after a motor vehicle accident it’s best to do it as soon as possible. However, it isn’t always feasible if you were severely injured and couldn’t file a claim straight away. There are time limits, however, so get someone to call a lawyer at PK Simpson for you to lodge a claim at least within six months of the crash.
A: The length of time you have to make your claim depends on the jurisdiction.
TPD claims – these may be commenced up to 10 years after you’ve stopped work. TPD claims are very technical and you may have more than one TPD claim.
Car accident claims – A personal injury claim form should be filled in and sent to your CTP insurer as early as possible, but must be no later than six months from the date of your accident. HOWEVER, out of time claims may be made. New NSW CTP laws have made it difficult for injured people and many law firms still do not understand how to run new claims under these laws – so call us at PK Simpson Sydney as soon as possible.
Workers compensation claims – You should contact a lawyer within six months of the accident. But remember, out of time claims can be handled by PK Simpson Sydney. We can help you get the treatment required to build your claim.
Slip ‘n’ fall/occupiers liability claims – Your claim must be lodged usually within three years of the date of your accident.
Medical Negligence – within three years of the date of when the cause of action was discoverable to our client OR 12 years from the time of the act or omission which caused the injury through negligence.
A: At PK Simpson compensation lawyers we operate on a no-win, no-fee basis. However, for detailed information on the legal costs that can be charged for statutory benefits CTP Insurance car accident claims in NSW click on this link.