The Prominence of Psychological Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

When people think of the types of injuries sustained as a result of motor vehicle accidents, they typically think of physical injuries, such as whiplash injuries, neck and back injuries, and broken bones. However, physical injuries are not the only type of injuries that can arise from motor vehicle accidents.

what is a psychological injury?

Psychological injuries are another significant type of injury people can suffer from as a result of motor vehicle accidents, either from being directly involved in or witnessing a motor vehicle accident. 

Symptoms of psychological injuries can be simply a change in mood, feelings, thoughts and/or behaviour, such as feeling anxious while driving, struggling to focus at work, or a reluctance to socialise. These feelings may also be linked to physical injuries, where one feels frustrated or depressed due to the restrictions the physical injuries have caused to their day-to-day life. 

Despite the significant impact psychological injuries can have on one’s life, many people are unaware of how common of a symptom it can be and that the suffering and loss it may cause to one’s life is compensable against the CTP insurer. 

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.[1] 

Indeed, the Queensland CTP Market Briefing Review report for 2021 confirms that claims for psychological injuries have been increasing since 2015.[2]

It has also been discovered that claims for psychological injuries have typically settled for higher costs compared to claims for physical injuries.[3] For example, musculoskeletal injury claims with consequential psychological injuries settled for amounts four times higher than claims with no psychological injuries reported.[4]

However, while the prominence of psychological injuries has been increasing for quite a number of years, claiming a psychological injury does have its difficulties. 

One of the main problems pointed out by the 2019 Motor Injury Insight report is that psychological injuries are “based on subjective criteria and self-reporting symptoms”.[5] 

Unfortunately, psychological injuries still have a stigma that they are not as serious or debilitating in comparison to physical injuries as there are no physical indications of the difficulties and limitations being faced. It is easy for many to sweep their symptoms “under the rug” and “pretend” like they are fine, causing their symptoms to worsen. 


Despite the stigma, it is important to seek help from a general practitioner or professional if you begin to experience psychological symptoms following a motor vehicle accident. 

Alternatively, you may like to contact mental health assistance hotlines such as the following:

  • Mental health phone service for Queenslanders: 1300 642 255
  • Lifeline: 131114
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Most importantly, it is important to be aware that there are avenues by way of CTP claims to seek compensation for the effects your psychological injuries may have on your day-to-day life and ability to work. There are pathways under CTP claims which may allow you to obtain funding and financial support so that you may receive the necessary treatment to assist you in your recovery.

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.