Personal Injuries: Psychological Impacts & Compensation

by | Dec 13, 2017 | Personal Injury | 0 comments

Personal Injuries: Psychological Impacts & Compensation

When a person suffers an injury, the wounds aren’t always visible. Personal injuries can take a psychological toll and cause emotional distress. In addition to being liable for the actual accident that caused your injuries, the person responsible for your injury could also be liable for any psychological impacts directly related to the accident.

Emotional Distress

Victims of a personal injury can be compensated for emotional distress. The distress can stem from the stress of financial burden, sleep loss, depression, fears or phobias developed because of a personal injury.

Suffering a personal injury can be a profound experience, and in some cases, even life changing. If the injury was not your fault, then there’s a strong chance that you deserve to be compensated for any emotional distress or lasting psychological impact.

If an injury was foreseeable by the defendant, the victim has grounds to sue for the emotional distress caused by that injury. In addition, a certified mental health professional must recognize the distress and connect it to the original injury.

Legal Precedence

In 1978, Andrews v. Grand & Toy Alberta established the precedent for how much compensation can be paid for pain and suffering, including for psychological distress. In this case that went before the Supreme Court of Canada, the victim was struck by the car of a negligent driver and rendered a quadriplegic. How could the court fully compensate a young man whose life was destroyed by a personal injury of this magnitude? He would never work again and require care for the rest of his life.

The court capped awards for pain and suffering at $100,000. With inflation, the amount is now $350,000.

Anyone Can Sue for Anguish

In Canada, urging the courts to award compensation for psychological damages has been common for some time. Despite the regularity, it is still a challenge for a plaintiff to prove. As with any litigation, there are always two sides with opposing opinions. When the topic is mental health, it makes coming to a reasonable decision that much harder.

A 2014 article published in Maclean’s, illustrates how claiming psychological impact has become part of the strategy for both plaintiffs and defendants. The author focuses on several egregious claims made by defendants against the victims whom they had wronged. For instance, a motorist sued the family of a young boy she hit with her car. Another case involved a woman who sued a grocery co-op for defaming her character after they banned her when she was caught shoplifting.

As awareness of mental health increases, the courts will follow suit.

Do You Have a Case?

Under Canadian tort law, a person can sue another for bodily harm or property damages. Psychological impact falls under bodily harm, therefore if you have endured emotional distress from the actions of another person, you might have a case. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand if it is in your best interest to proceed.

The psychological impact caused by an injury can be tough to prove, and can involve elements that are invisible to the untrained eye. In the aftermath of a personal injury, try documenting your distress and how it is affecting your life. Working with a mental health professional can help you deal with your distress and help strengthen your case.

Be thorough, document everything and seek the assistance of medical and legal professionals.


The psychological ramifications from a personal injury can be:

  • General anxiety
  • Mild or severe depression
  • Insomnia
  • Emergence of a phobia
  • Inability to focus
  • Negative side effects from medication

In the aftermath of a personal injury, experiencing any of the above means you could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

It’s hard to assign a dollar figure to psychological damages. If successful, you could be compensated for:

  • Therapy costs
  • Loss of wages
  • Home maintenance

Having a personal injury lawyer in your corner, means having a partner who will fight for your right to be compensated for any psychological impact you endured.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you’ve experienced psychological trauma based on someone else’s actions or negligence then you are protected by the law. You are just as entitled to compensation for the emotional impact caused by a personal injury as you are for the physical impact.

At Mackesy Smye, our personal injury lawyers have worked tirelessly to get compensation for many who have suffered the psychological impact following a personal injury.

Contact us for a free consultation using our confidential online form, or call 855-315-9837.

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