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How to Prove a Psychological Injury in a Personal Injury Claim

When someone is injured through an accident or negligence, it often results in a personal injury claim. 

Most of us probably associate the idea of personal injury law with physical injuries. However, traumatic accidents can produce psychological damage as readily as they produce physical damage.

In Canada, you can seek compensation for these psychological injuries in the same way you might seek compensation for physical injuries: through a personal injury claim.

Let’s take a look at the details.

Types of Psychological Injuries Caused by Accidents

Any traumatic experience has the potential to produce psychological injury. This injury can manifest itself in any number of conditions or symptoms, of which a person may experience one or multiple after the accident.

Some of the most common psychological conditions and symptoms experienced as a result of psychological injury include:

  • Depression: Depression can often present itself after suffering a loss, a physical injury, or in the wake of a stressful or traumatic event. Depression can significantly reduce a person’s ability to function in day to day life, compromise their enjoyment of their life and hobbies, and lead to severe changes in behavior.
  • Anxiety and Stress: Anxiety can often accompany recovery from an injury, or simply manifest as a result of the circumstances of an accident, Anxiety can make it difficult to function in daily situations and cause undue stress.
  • Sleeping Disorders: Sleeping disorders can often present themselves after an accident. They may be related to increased stress and anxiety, be related to pain and soreness from an injury, or be associated with other psychological issues.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD can trigger extreme emotional episodes involving intense emotions, irritability, or inability to be excited. Other symptoms often include flashbacks, nightmares, aggressive behavior, and disturbing or uncontrollable thoughts. 
  • Phobia: Some of us develop a phobia (an intense fear) as a result of an accident. This could be a fear of traveling by highway after an automobile accident, or a fear of going to stores after being injured in an accident in a supermarket.

Proving a Psychological Injury in a Personal Injury Claim

Where a physical injury can be simple to prove with the aid of physical evidence, psychological injuries are invisible. They lurk beneath the surface, making the burden of proof more difficult.

To establish that someone has a psychological injury that another party is liable for, not only must the injury itself be proven, but it must also be demonstrated that the injury was the result of the accident in question.

In order to prove your psychological injury claim in Canada, you will need to:

Establish that the injury is significant 

You’ll need to show that the injury is a serious one which has a real impact on your life. 

The criteria for a significant injury include:

  • Severity: The injury must be severe enough to have a serious impact on your life, either ongoing or in the past.
  • Duration: The injury must be shown to have persisted for an extended period of time, and be “beyond the normal annoyances” experienced by most people.

Establish a causal connection

In order for another party to be liable for your psychological injury, you must demonstrate that the psychological injury was the direct result of the accident for which the other party is liable.

This means that you need to demonstrate that your symptoms presented themselves after the accident, and that they were not the result of other factors (such as drugs or disease.)

Obtain an Expert’s Opinion

Although a 2017 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada decided that expert evidence is no longer required to establish psychological injuries, the opinion of a psychiatrist or mental health expert can still provide a valuable piece of evidence in establishing psychological injury.

It’s a good idea to get in contact with a psychological expert who can help assess you and potentially diagnose your condition. This information can later be used to establish your psychological injury as part of your personal injury claim.

Gather Testimony from Friends, Family, and Colleagues

In key cases such as Saadati vs Moorhead, the testimony of friends and family proved instrumental in pivoting the psychological injury claim. 

Your friends and family, as well as any associates and colleagues who you work with regularly, can provide testimony to changes in behavior or psychological symptoms which manifested in you after the accident.

This testimony must be consistent from all parties, with no witnesses offering contradictory testimony.

Personal Injury Cases That Might Also Involve Psychological Injuries

Accidents are traumatic both physically and psychologically. It’s not uncommon for psychological injuries to accompany personal injury cases at all.

Some of the most common types of accidents which result in both psychological injuries and personal injury claims include:

A psychological injury can be every bit as debilitating as a physical injury. Don’t leave the compensation you deserve sitting on the table. Consult Diamond & Diamond today to get the best in the business working on your psychological injury claim.

Contact a Psychological Injury Lawyer at Diamond & Diamond Today

At Diamond & Diamond, we understand that a psychological injury is a very personal and complicated matter.

We want to work closely with you to provide you the legal support necessary to assist you in recovering from your injuries — both physical and mental.

With a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of experience in personal injury claims, Diamond & Diamond is equipped and ready to assist you with your psychological injury claim.

Want to find out exactly what we can do for you? Your initial consultation is completely free!

You can schedule today by visiting our website and using our online contact form.

Or you can call us toll free at our 1-800 number.

Prefer doing things in person? Visit any of our offices across Ontario. 

PRO TIP:

After an accident, something as simple as talking to your loved ones — or a counselor — can help preemptively counter any psychological issues.”

FAQ's

How to hire a Spinal injury lawyer?

When you sustain an injury in an accident in Canada, you need to be prepared to hire a lawyer. Ask around for recommendations first or you can use the Internet to do a search of reputable spinal cord injury law firms in your area.

When should I hire a Spinal injury lawyer?

As soon as possible after you are injured you should schedule a consultation with a spinal cord injury lawyer. This is because there are so many things to think about before you formally file a case. You want to do your research to find the right spinal cord injury lawyer sooner rather than later. It can take a long time to recover compensation after you start a case, so it is better to set up a time to speak with and potentially hire a spinal cord injury lawyer now.

If a person has a pre-existing mental disorder that got worse after the accident, can that person file a psychological injury claim?

If it can be demonstrated that the mental disorder was exacerbated as a direct result of the accident, it may be possible to pursue a psychological injury claim for a pre-existing condition. However, it would likely be scrutinized more closely than a claim which did not involve a pre-existing condition.

I have recurring nightmares after the accident — does that count as a psychological injury?

This could potentially qualify as a psychological injury, if it can be shown to be related to the accident. It may also be a symptom of a condition such as PTSD, which can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Get in touch with Diamond & Diamond for a free legal consultation to discuss the specifics of the situation.

If a person’s PTSD led to substance abuse, how will that affect the personal injury claim?

Specific details about each case are best answered in the form of a free consultation. Contact Diamond & Diamond today to schedule your free consultation.

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