In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident victims and health professionals immediately focus on the physical injuries sustained during the crash. From minor scrapes to major injuries, the physical impacts of an accident can be life-altering and usually attract the most attention.

However, motor accidents can cause severe psychological injuries that may have serious ramifications on a victims quality of life and wellbeing.

The traumatic experience of the crash itself can have deep psychological impacts. But it’s not just the crash that can cause psychological harm.

The ongoing stress of rehabilitation and navigating the legal system during police reports and any criminal processes can have an ongoing impact on your mental health.

These psychological injuries can have major impacts on your quality of life. Often they can be more debilitating long term than physical injuries.

As such it’s important to understand your rights for compensation for psychological injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, so you can continue to receive the support you need to heal.

What to look out for:

Psychological injuries can vary widely and manifest in a huge variety of symptoms. It’s vital to seek support from your doctor and mental health professionals to ensure you’re receiving the support you need, and to maintain a formal record of your injury.

While psychological injury and conditions will vary widely from person to person, there are some common conditions that frequently arise in the aftermath of an accident.

These include, but aren’t limited to:


Although many people suffer from anxiety in their day to day lives, after a car accident it is common for mild or occasional anxiety to worsen or develop into Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Again the symptoms of this disorder will vary widely, however some commonly reported symptoms include:

– Restlessness
– Sense of dread
– Panic attacks
– Trouble concentrating

This type of anxiety can be severely debilitating and stop you from completing day to day functions.


Much like anxiety many of us experience some level of depression at different stages throughout our lives. If you already have depression it needs to have worsened in severity after your accident for it to be recognised as a psychological injury.

While symptoms of depression again vary widely from one person to the next, common indicators include a feeling of deep sadness, lack of motivation, hopelessness, anxiety and negative self-talk.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is triggered by the experience of a traumatic event. The ongoing effects of PTSD can range in severity and can have major impacts on your ability to go about day to day life.

PTSD commonly involves experiencing flashbacks, the feeling of ‘re-experiencing’ the accident, nightmares, anxiety and depression. PTSD can have a huge impact on your ability to form and maintain relationships, function in social settings and participate in daily activities.

How to claim compensation for psychological injury

To include psychological injury in your motor vehicle injury claim it is first essential that you seek professional assessment and support from relevant medical and mental health professionals.

This is vital for your own recovery and will be required by insurance companies to validate your claim and calculate the costs of compensation. This is applicable for both primary and secondary victims, as defined below:

Primary victims are those who are directly involved in the crash.

Secondary victims are those who witness a crash and suffer psychological injury as a result.

To claim as a secondary victim you must meet one of the following criteria:

– Have a close tie with the primary victim
– Have been present at the scene of the crash either at the time of the accident or immediately following
– Be able to prove negligence on behalf of the primary victim

Psychological injury claims are very complex and require a nuanced approach to each and every case. To ensure you have the best chance of success and receive the compensation you deserve it’s essential to have representation from a compensation expert.

If you’ve been in an accident or have been a secondary victim and would like to claim compensation for a psychological injury contact our team at Marocchi Law.

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