Psychiatric and Psychological Injury
We all now belong to a society which has finally taken a progressive view on mental health, there is a large amount of encouragement (even from the Royal Households) to see and interpret mental health issues in the same way that we would issues in physical health. This is rightly because, our histories are clad in negative imagery and inappropriate labeling of those who were in the grip of a mental illness. These efforts are an attempt to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues and they are to be applauded.
Mental Health Solicitors are a rare breed but they do exist and they cover most parts of England and Wales (albeit there may be some travel). We are not Mental Health Solicitors, we do not appear in the Mental Health Tribunal and we do not represent your interests at a Mental Health Appeal. We would advise you to look to the English / Scots / Irish Law Societies for up to date lists of appropriate practitioners of those seeking this kind of representation (usually those who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act).
However, it is fair to say that many people who have suffered life changing injuries as a consequence of medical, surgical or dental negligence have an associated psychological injury and therefore wish to make a psychological claim or psychiatric claim for damages. In many cases it is the impact on mental health that carries the largest (sometimes very large) amount of compensation and this can be greater than the physical injury.
Ultimately the degree of suffering and the extent of the medical damage has to be assessed by a professional who can comment on the injury and how best this can be combated. Sometimes the issues are complex and multi-layered and this can be a real challenge evidentially for the courts.
Treatments can range from talking therapies to medication or even a combination of both (increasingly so) and there are of course, support groups and networks for nearly every persons circumstances. Some examples of psychiatric harm that accompany physical harm are:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD - is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. People suffering with PTSD often relive the event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. The condition has indistinct levels of impact and in most individuals is a chronic condition that may take years to properly confront and heal.
Nervous Shock - A peculiarity of English law, a nervous shock is a psychiatric / mental illness or injury inflicted upon a person by intentional or negligent actions or omissions of another. Often it is a psychiatric disorder triggered by witnessing an accident, for example an injury caused to one's parents or spouse.
Behavioral / Personality Adjustment Disorder - A person with an adjustment disorder or stress response syndrome develops emotional and or behavioral symptoms symptoms as a reaction to a stressful event. ... In an adjustment disorder, the reaction to the stressor is greater than what is typical or expected for the situation or event.
Depression - feelings of severe despondency and dejection, often associated with reduced sense of self worth or direction. An utterly debilitating condition.
There are of course, a spectrum of disorders and resultant compensation. If you feel that you do have a claim for psychiatric or psychological injury then by all means get in touch and we can discuss the way forward without any obligation.