Experiencing a traumatic car accident or being a close family member of a victim involved in a car accident, even if they didn’t witness the accident or death, can be highly distressing. This is especially true if the accident resulted in a fatality and can lead to psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety. In such situations, individuals can make a “nervous shock” claim and seek compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages.
Who qualifies as a close family member?
a) The victim’s parent or any person with parental responsibility for the victim.
b) The victim’s spouse or partner, including husband, wife, or de facto partner.
c) The victim’s child or stepchild, or any other person for whom the victim has parental responsibility.
d) The victim’s brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.
If a close family member (meeting the above definitions) suffers a psychiatric injury, they may be eligible for compensation even if they didn’t witness the accident or death.
What can be claimed?
The following items can be claimed for compensation:
- Medical and treatment expenses.
- Loss of wages.
- Domestic and personal care expenses.
- Pain and suffering, as well as loss of enjoyment of life (if psychiatric injuries are assessed to be greater than 10% whole person impairment).
Medical expenses, care expenses, and some loss of wages are paid periodically, known as “statutory benefits.” Pain and suffering damages and certain loss of earnings, known as “common law damages,” are paid as a lump sum.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation and damages you can claim depend on the severity of your injuries and whether they are categorized as “threshold” or “non-threshold” under the law. A ” threshold ” injury is defined as an injury that isn’t a recognized psychiatric illness, such as acute stress disorder or adjustment disorder. Examples of recognized psychiatric illnesses and “non- threshold” injuries include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.
Your entitlement to benefits is also influenced by the cause of the accident and whether the victim had any contributory negligence.
We can provide guidance on the extent of your injuries and your entitlements. If we believe the insurance company has wrongly classified your injury as “minor” or has made an incorrect liability determination, we will take all necessary steps to challenge the decision and have it overturned in your favour.
A statutory limitation of three years from the time of the date of the incident applies in which to commence court proceedings for personal injury, including for nervous shock claims. Thus, it’s crucial to seek legal advice immediately.
Proving nervous shock cases can be more challenging compared to cases where a person is physically involved and injured in a car accident. It’s necessary to demonstrate that the injuries were directly caused by the traumatic accident. Assessing the losses resulting from the event and determining the appropriate amount of damages can also be difficult. Establishing negligence and collecting medical evidence are crucial in this regard.
If you believe you have a nervous shock claim, it’s recommended to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the complex process and help you achieve the best possible outcome. We offer assistance with your claim on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. Contact Jameson Law today for a free initial consultation.