Driving is an essential part of the everyday life of Australians. Whether it is work, meeting up with friends or your weekly grocery shop, the majority of Australians drive a car, ride a motorcycle or bike, or take public transport to arrive at their destination.
Unfortunately, as a result of our dependence on driving, motor vehicle accidents have increasingly become a very common occurrence on our roads. Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
The types of injuries one can sustain from accidents can range from minor injuries such as back pain to serious injuries requiring hospitalisation and, at times, unfortunately, resulting in death.
While physical injuries very commonly arise from motor vehicle accidents, many fail to consider the immense psychological effect that can result from such accidents.
According to the 2021 Motor Accident Insurance Commission’s Annual CTP Scheme Insights report, it was found that more than 27% of claimants in personal injuries claims against CTP insurers experienced psychological injuries.
Furthermore, such claims for compensation for psychological injuries have been increasing since 2015.
Unfortunately, due to the stigma that psychological injuries have, many who are involved in motor vehicle accidents fail to understand that they may be suffering from an adverse psychological reaction as a result. This has become an increasing issue as many may not be obtaining the necessary treatment needed to recover and are failing to obtain adequate compensation from the CTP insurer.
In order to determine whether you can claim for psychological injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, please continue reading our guide below.
How does one suffer from a psychological injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident?
Psychological injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents can arise in various forms and circumstances.
The first way in which one can suffer from psychological injuries is to actually be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Being inside a vehicle when the accident happened, either as the driver or a passenger, may cause one to be fearful of cars and driving. Alternatively, the pain and trauma caused by a motor vehicle accident may result in one experiencing symptoms such as change in mood, feelings, thoughts and/or behaviour, including anxiousness while driving, struggling to focus at work, or a reluctance to socialise.
Symptoms can also be very minor initially and gradually increase in severity over time.
One may also begin experiencing the aforementioned symptoms after witnessing a motor vehicle accident. It is important to realise that one does not need to experience any physical injuries but can solely experience the emotional trauma of witnessing an accident.
If you are uncertain as to whether you are experiencing psychological injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you can read our article, Are you suffering from a psychological injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident?
In addition to the above, families of loved ones involved in motor vehicle accidents can claim compensation upon learning of their death or injury. This is called Nervous Shock, and you can find out whether you can claim this by reading our article, Can You Claim Compensation for the Death or Severe Injury of a Loved One as a Result of a Motor Vehicle Accident?
How to claim for psychological injuries
If you feel like you suffered from a psychological injury arising from a motor vehicle accident, you can claim compensation against the CTP insurer of the vehicle responsible or partly responsible for the accident.
It is understood by all CTP insurers that psychological injuries can have a major impact on one’s life and can cause pain, suffering and loss that is compensable. The loss you can claim encompasses not only the injury you suffered but also the costs of treatment, gratuitous care and financial loss.
Psychological injuries can have the potential to settle for higher costs compared to claims purely for physical injuries.. For example, it has been found that musculoskeletal injury claims with consequential psychological injuries typically settled for amounts four times higher than claims with no psychological injuries reported.
If you would like to make a claim for compensation, you must first complete a Notice of Accident Claim Form and submit it to the relevant CTP insurer. If you need assistance with accessing the necessary forms to commence your claim, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
If you have a current claim on foot, you should contact the relevant CTP insurer and advise them of your current symptoms. Again, we are happy to assist with this if you contact our office.
If you are concerned you are experiencing any symptoms of a psychological injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, it is very important to seek help from your general practitioner and/or a professional, no matter how minor or trivial you believe your symptoms are.
Alternatively, you may like to contact mental health assistance hotlines such as the following:
- Mental health phone service for Queenslanders: 1300 642 255
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
It is important to be aware that once you have started your claim for compensation, CTP insurers can fund reasonable and necessary treatment of the injuries you have suffered as a result of a motor vehicle accident, which includes psychological injuries.
If you are unable to afford treatment for psychological injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, it is worth commencing a claim so that you can have access to the necessary treatment. Your psychological health is important, and accordingly, you should ensure that you have all the necessary treatment to aid in your recovery.
If you need assistance requesting funding for treatment from a CTP insurer, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Psychological injuries can be just as serious and debilitating as physical injuries, if not more. Accordingly, it is important to seek the necessary treatment and assistance so that you can recover from your injuries and be adequately compensated for the losses you have suffered.
If you are experiencing psychological symptoms as a result of a motor vehicle accident or are making a claim for compensation, please do not hesitate to contact our office for support and guidance.