Understanding Physical and Psychological Harm
After an accident, injuries may be readily apparent. Based upon your description, the results of diagnostic tests and their own observations, your treating healthcare professionals will note any bruises, broken bones, cuts, scrapes and internal injuries, creating a detailed medical record that can then be used to help you seek fair compensation.
The psychological harm that occurs as a result of an accident – which may be as serious or even more so than physical injuries – may be far more difficult to diagnose and treat, and is so misunderstood that seeking compensation can be an uphill battle.
Further affecting your ability to receive proper compensation after an injury is the continuing stigma of emotional distress. But just like any other injury, psychological harm after a trauma is not only normal, but is often expected. Symptoms of psychological distress can include feelings of anxiety, restlessness and insomnia, depression, and even, depending on the nature of the trauma, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These ailments can make it difficult or impossible to work at your previous levels of productivity, and can cause disruptions in your closest relationships. For these reasons, the courts are increasingly willing to recognize and to award compensation for psychological harm, even when physical injuries may be minor or altogether absent.
The threshold test to determine whether compensation is appropriate for psychological injuries which have been suffered limits claims to those that involve injuries that are serious, prolonged and which affect the day-to-day life of an accident victim.
Like society as a whole, the legal system is evolving in its appreciation of psychological injuries arising from an accident. As society’s understanding of emotional and mental illness expands, so too will the rights of accident victims to successfully seek compensation for those conditions caused by the negligence of another person.
If you have experienced profound psychological harm as a result of an accident or trauma – even if you experienced no physical injuries – you may be entitled to compensation under Canadian law.