The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
It is common for accident victims to suffer considerable distress as a result of their accident or injury, particularly if the accident itself was very serious or if a fatality occurred. Generally speaking, such distress will not entitle them to bring a claim for psychiatric injury as a separate head of loss unless that injury amounts to a recognised psychiatric illness.
As such, whether or not a claimant has suffered a recognised psychiatric injury is a particularly important issue.
There are two benefits to resolving this question quickly: firstly, it allows the claim to proceed on the correct basis and the claimant to be compensated in full; and secondly, it means that the rehabilitation code can be used to help a claimant who will benefit medically from psychological or psychiatric intervention to receive it as soon as possible.
For further information on the most recent Rehabilitation Code, see Practice Note: Rehabilitation Code 2015.
The different factual situations where a claim for psychiatric injury or illness may succeed are as follows:
a claimant suffers physical injury with accompanying psychiatric injury
a claimant does not suffer any physical injury but suffers psychiatric harm as a result of being a participant in a dangerous event (a primary victim), provided injury of some kind was foreseeable
note that neither of the above
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