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Psychological injuries: What you need to know about car accident compensation for pain and suffering


Car accidents affect people in many different ways. There is a lot of focus on the physical trauma of the accident; broken bones, soft tissue injuries, burns or lacerations. What is often overlooked, or harder to detect, are the psychological injuries which can present immediately or over time.

The long-term impact of a psychological injury is difficult to predict and recognise. Read on to understand what signs to look out for and your rights to car accident compensation for pain and suffering.

What is pain and suffering compensation in a car accident?

Pain and suffering compensation is a payment for the damaging impact the injury has had on your life; this covers both psychological or physical injuries. It is also referred to as ‘general damages’ or ‘non-economic loss’.

What is a psychological injury?

Psychological injuries include a range of emotional, mental or behavioural symptoms that adversely interfere with your life because they impact how you think, feel, behave and interact with others.

Car accidents can cause a psychological injury for any of the people involved, as well as anyone who witnessed the accident or lost a loved one in a fatal accident.

Common psychological injuries resulting from a car accident

Click on the picture below to see the warning signs a car accident is impacting your mental health:

Warning signs a car accident is impacting your mental health infographic

Am I eligible for pain and suffering compensation?

You may be entitled to claim for pain and suffering compensation if you are suffering a physical or psychological injury that was caused as a result of the car accident, regardless of who was at fault.

You may also be able to make a claim if:

  • You are a family member of the injured or deceased (e.g. spouse, parent, sibling or child); or
  • You witnessed the accident; or
  • You were otherwise sufficiently close to the person;
    You have suffered psychologically as a result.

How is pain and suffering compensation calculated?

Calculating pain and suffering compensation is not as straightforward as other types of compensation, as the impact of an injury (especially a psychological injury) can vary from person to person.

Psychological injuries can present immediately after a car accident, have a delayed onset or lay dormant unless triggered.

If you suspect that you or someone you know have suffered a psychological injury, it’s best to seek advice from a medical specialist. They will need to diagnose the psychological injury/s, assess the severity and the impacts this has had on you or your loved one’s life. From there your lawyer can help calculate the financial impact as part of the general damages you are eligible to claim for.

Please note that time limits apply to personal injury claims, so it’s important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible if you believe you may be eligible for pain and suffering compensation.

How Shine Lawyers expert personal injury lawyers can help

If you or a loved one have suffered a psychological injury after being involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

Our team of motor vehicle accident lawyers are experts in all aspects of car accident injury claims; whether physical or psychological. We can help you to understand your rights and access your full entitlements on a no win, no fee basis.

You may also be eligible to access benefits through your superannuation; our advice will be tailored to your situation to help you secure the best outcome possible.

To get started, use our free claim checker below or speak to one of our experts over the phone.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 30, 2022.

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