The silent psychological impact following a personal injury accident

3rd Dec 2019
Lisa Boyle

The silent psychological impact following a personal injury accident

Whether it’s depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or even sleep deprivation, the emotional damages after an accident can be just as bad – if not worse – than the physical injury.

Many of our clients are left suffering an array of what can often be silent psychological conditions following a road traffic accident or workplace injury, and these conditions can have a seriously detrimental impact on their lives.

In 2019, our solicitors noticed a spike in compensation claims when it came to psychological injuries.

We believe that it’s extremely important for clients to understand the necessity of seeking legal help in order to acquire a successful case.

Many psychological conditions can cause injury victims to lose their jobs or have to fork out thousands of pounds in cash for private counselling sessions to help them recover from their ordeal.


Neck Injury

At Watermans, we understand the importance in seeking the right advice and recommended treatment commenced as soon as possible.

Heather Tierney, one of our senior solicitors, said: “Psychological injuries must be treated as seriously as physical injuries when it comes to claims for compensation.

“Every individual is different in terms of how they deal with a traumatic event. In some instances, the psychological impact of an accident can last a lot longer than physical injuries.

“It is important to monitor this and ensure that adequate medical evidence is obtained.

“This is both with a view to ensuring an accurate valuation for the claim but also to obtain expert advice on any recommended treatment which might assist the client in their recovery.”

Another reason why psychological injuries must be monitored carefully is in respect of the timing of treatment.

This assists greatly with the client’s recovery. We often notice that our clients can physically improve much better when their psychological symptoms are also being addressed.


“For those who suffered psychological and physical symptoms, it must be a two-pronged approach to ensure the swiftest recovery time,” Heather continued.

“Take the case of one of our clients. This was a road traffic accident. She was a pedestrian struck by a vehicle whilst she was standing on the pavement.

“The client had an extensive number of physical injuries but also psychological symptoms. The first offer was £30,000 inclusive of treatment costs.

“Having taken full instructions I came to the view that she had no recovered in line with the previous prognosis and further psychological medical evidence was required.

“It also appeared that her loss of earnings claim was more extensive as a result of her psychological symptoms which were sadly ongoing.

“After obtaining further medical reports and loss of earnings evidence, I managed to negotiate settlement at £60,500.

“This was a fantastic outcome for the client who had suffered considerable psychological injuries as a result of the accident.

“Had these symptoms not been investigated, she would have received far less compensation and she also would have been unlikely to receive the treatment which she needed to assist with her recovery.”

There are so many things to think about in the aftermath of an injury or accident. That’s where we can help; we work tirelessly to get you the best compensation possible to help you recover. This can cover things such as counselling costs and any other long-term effects.

Dr. Fraser Morrison, clinical director at Alba Psychology, the firm used by Watermans Solicitors to help our clients, said: “I am certainly seeing more cases of psychological injuries. I think this is perhaps due to better identification but also a willingness for people to discuss mental health more openly.

“People can develop a range of symptoms after an injury. Examples include depression and low confidence in their appearance due to scarring from an industrial accident, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including nightmares due to being involved in what they conceive as being threatening or near-death event and situational anxiety from an RTA.

“Some psychological symptoms resolve spontaneously however this normally takes much longer and the evidence suggests that provision of treatment (e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – CBT) is more effective than doing nothing.

“A person’s perception of pain can be influenced by anxiety and low mood. Provision of psychological treatment can help people adjust to physical injuries and recovery, in line with whatever physical treatment they are having (e.g. physiotherapy).

“Better identification of psychological injuries is the first step; that can be in general terms from their solicitor and more detailed assessment by a psychologist.”

If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our experts at Watermans Solicitors as soon as possible. Our accident solicitors can help you achieve the best compensation possible after an accident and advise you on how much compensation you may be entitled to.

Find out how much compensation you are entitled to via our personal injury calculator.