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

3 minute read

Motor vehicle accident

Car accidents affect people in many different ways. There is a lot of focus on the physical car accident trauma; broken bones, soft tissue injuries, burns or lacerations. What is often overlooked, or is 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. But when you do suffer psychological impacts from motor vehicle trauma, you may have rights to compensation. Read on to understand what signs to look out for and your potential rights to compensation for pain and suffering.

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. Sometimes referred to as ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ or ‘PTSD’, car accidents can cause 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 trauma

Some signs that you might be suffering from PTSD or psychological injury could be: 

  • Intrusive memories, such as unwanted and recurring memories of the traumatic event 

  • High levels of stress, anxiety or panic attacks 

  • Depression 

  • Developing new fears or phobias 

  • Troubles with sleep 

  • Severe mood swings and difficulty enjoying life 

  • Withdrawal from social events, friends or things that you used to enjoy 

  • Trouble concentrating 

  • Being on guard or easily startled or frightened 

You may experience some of these, or other symptoms. And they may begin shortly after the traumatic event, or not until years later. But if they are interfering with your ability to live a normal life, you should seek help and speak to one of our expert lawyers. 

What is pain and suffering compensation in a car accident? 

Pain and suffering compensation is payment for the damaging impact an injury has had on your life. It could cover both psychological and physical injuries. In a legal context, it is also referred to as ‘general damages’ or ‘non-economic loss’. 

Am I eligible for pain and suffering compensation? You may be entitled to a pain and suffering settlement from a car accident if you are suffering a physical or psychological injury that was caused as a result of that 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). 

  • You witnessed the accident. 

  • 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 also present immediately after a car accident, have a delayed onset or lay dormant unless triggered, so the connection to the event may not always be immediately evident. 

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 and 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. 

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 psychological injury lawyers can help 

If you or a loved one have suffered a psychological injury after being involved in a car, motorbike or truck accident, or in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian or cyclist, 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. As psychological injury lawyers 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

*Conditions apply

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