You could suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if you have witnessed a serious accident at work or been involved in an extremely stressful incident in which you sustained an injury. The condition is a psychiatric disorder that can seriously and negatively impact your life and your ability to work. If your symptoms last for over a month following an accident at work, your condition would be classed as post-traumatic stress disorder and you may be able to claim compensation providing the incident occurred in the workplace in the last three years through no fault of your own.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
Symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder can vary in severity and can affect people in many different ways. The most common post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are listed below:
- Stressful memories of a traumatic work-related accident, near miss or event
- Distressing flashbacks of an incident that occurred in the workplace
- Constant nightmares
- Stress and anxiety
- Emotional stress
- An inability to focus and concentrate
- A feeling of numbness
You may also experience physical effects of post-traumatic stress disorder which could include the following:
- Aches and pains
You may even feel that taking legal action out on your employer could be too overwhelming, but an experienced accident at work solicitor would understand your circumstances and would do their level best to make the process of filing a post-traumatic stress disorder claim that much easier for you to cope with. You may find that your case can be assessed and handled over the phone rather than in face-to-face meetings.
Would My Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim Be Upheld?
Providing you can show that you suffer from PTSD because you witnessed or were involved in a traumatic accident at work and that the incident occurred either through employer negligence or because a work colleague made a mistake, your PTSD claim would be valid. If you were directly involved in a traumatic work accident that left you suffering from PTSD, you would be deemed to be a “primary victim”.
With this said, you may have witnessed an accident at work in which a work colleague suffered a traumatic injury or in a worse-case scenario the incident could have been fatal. In this instance you would be deemed a “secondary victim”. In order to file a PTSD claim, you must be diagnosed as suffering from the condition by a qualified psychiatrist.
If you think that the workplace accident was partly your fault, you may find that you could still file for compensation. An experienced accident at work lawyer would determine whether vicarious liability could be proved. In short, you may find that you and your employer may be liable for the fact you suffer from PTSD following a workplace accident that you witnessed or were involved in.
Who Is Most At Risk of Suffering From Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
Anyone can suffer from PTSD whether they were involved in a workplace accident or witnessed a traumatic event. However, some workers are more at risk than others and this includes the following:
- Ambulance drivers and workers
- People who work in emergency services
- Policemen and women
- Those in the armed forces
With this said, you could witness or be involved in a traumatic accident in any working environment which could lead to you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. If you suffer from PTSD and would like to know if you could seek compensation by filing a claim against an employer, the best course of action to take is to contact a firm of lawyer’s who specialise in this type of complicated personal injury claim.
What Level of Compensation Might I Be Awarded for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
The amount you may receive in post-traumatic stress disorder compensation would depend on many things which includes the following:
- The severity of the symptoms you are experiencing
- How much your life and ability to work has been negatively impacted
- Whether your symptoms are so severe that you are unable to continue working
It is also worth noting that the amount indicated below only takes into account the general damages you may be awarded in a successful post-traumatic stress disorder claim and that you would also be entitled to receive “special damages” if your case is upheld. The amount of post-traumatic stress disorder compensation you may receive in general damages in a successful claim is detailed below:
- Very severe post-traumatic stress disorder where a person experiences constant nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance sleep disturbance, hyper-arousal, suicidal tendency, and mood disorders, you may be awarded between £52,490 and £88,270
- Moderately severe post-traumatic stress disorder which has a better prognosis that severe cases and where professional help can aid recovery, you may receive between £20,290 to £52,490
- Moderate post-traumatic stress disorder where recovery is positive and effects are not too disabling, you may be awarded between £7,170 to £20,290
- Post-traumatic stress disorder where recovery is achieved within 1 to 2 years with only minor symptoms persisting, you may be awarded between £3,460 to £7,170
The amounts provided above are given as a guideline only. The reason being that all personal injury claims are unique and as such the amount of post-traumatic stress disorder compensation you may receive could differ to the amount another person may be awarded.
How Do I Start My Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim Against My Employer?
If you were a witness to a traumatic accident in the workplace or you were involved in the incident and now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, you should seek medical help. When you are strong enough, you should then contact a solicitor who specialises in PTSD claims for employees who would understand what you may be going through and would therefore, be sympathetic to your situation.
A solicitor would provide essential legal advice on the type of evidence that would be needed to file a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against an employer and would help when it comes to gathering all the documentation and proof required to ensure that your claim is successful.
What Can I Include in My Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim Against an Employer?
As previously mentioned, you would be awarded both general damages and special damages in a successful post-traumatic stress disorder claim. General damages are awarded to compensate you for the pain and suffering you had to endure as a result of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in the workplace. Other factors that are taken into account when calculating the amount of compensation you may be awarded in general damages includes your ability to work ever again.
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for all the expenses you had to pay out as a direct result of suffering from the condition. When it comes to special damages, these cover travel and medical expenses which means that all receipts must be kept as proof of the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred which could also include care costs and other expenses other than travel and medical expenses.
The more evidence you can provide that you suffer from PTSD due to having been involved in a workplace accident or because you witnessed a traumatic incident in the workplace, the stronger your claim against an employer would be and the more in the way of PTSD compensation you may be awarded.
Should I File a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Against My Employer?
If you were involved in a serious accident at work in which you were injured or you witnessed a horrific workplace incident that left you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, under UK law, you have the right to seek compensation from an employer. You would have to prove that the incident that led to you suffering from the condition occurred through no fault of your own and it happened in the workplace in the last three years.
With this said, even if you think that you may be responsible for the workplace accident, you should still discuss your case with an accident at work lawyer who would establish whether vicarious liability can be argued when filing a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against an employer.
Your employer must, by law, have current liability insurance which has to be issued by a recognised provider. The insurance cover must also meet the legal requirement which is currently £5 million. When you file a personal injury claim against an employer, the insurance company who issued the policy would handle your case from the outset to when a post-traumatic stress disorder compensation settlement is reached. It is noteworthy that 95% of all personal injury claims are negotiated out of court and these negotiations are best left to accident at work lawyers with vast experience in communicating with insurers.
It is also worth noting that post-traumatic stress disorder under the Equality Act 2010 is deemed to be a disability if the condition is such that you are left with long-term issues that affect your daily life and ability to work. If this is the case, the amount of PTSD compensation you may be awarded would reflect whether your condition prevents you from working and negatively impacts aspects of your daily life.
Do I Have Worker’s Rights If I Suffer From PTSD?
All employees in the UK have rights which are highly protected. These rights cover many aspects of your working life and includes when you are injured or suffer harm in the workplace. Your rights following a workplace accident that leaves you suffering from PTSD include the following:
- To seek compensation from your employer
- To file a personal injury claim against an employer without the fear of losing your job or being discriminated against
If your employer objects to you filing a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against them, you should discuss your concerns with a lawyer who would provide essential advice on how best to deal with the situation. You should never resign from your job should your employer make your working life very awkward before contact a solicitor unless you feel that you have no other option. A solicitor would establish whether you have grounds to file further legal action against your employer because of their actions and behaviour towards you.
Does My Employer Have Responsibilities in the Workplace?
All employers have a duty of care towards the people who work for them. These responsibilities are set in place to protect you when you are in the workplace. There are many laws and Health and Safety Executive regulations in place which both employers and employees must adhere to in the workplace. An employer’s responsibilities towards you when you are in their employment are as follows:
- You are given adequate training to carry out your job and ongoing training is provided at regular intervals
- The machinery, equipment and tools used in the workplace are in good working order and serviced according to a manufacturer’s guidelines
- That risk assessments are routinely carried out in the workplace to identify dangers and risks that may be present before setting in place all reasonable measures to reduce the chance of an accident occurring
- That you are provided with detailed working practices and procedures
- That you are provided with the correct personal protective equipment which must be kept in good condition and readily available
If an employer fails to keep you safe while you are in their employment and you witness or are involved in a traumatic accident at work that leaves you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, you would have the right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against them.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Against an Employer?
You would have 3 years from the time you were diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to file a claim against an employer. However, because the nature of the condition is so complex, you may not experience any of the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder for months or years following a traumatic accident in the workplace whether you were a primary or secondary victim. If this is the case, you may be entitled to file a PTSD claim even if the 3 years has passed and the best course of action is to contact an accident at work lawyer who specialises in this type of claim.
It is far better to begin a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against an employer sooner rather than later. The reason being that it can take a long time to gather all the proof and evidence that is needed to ensure that a claim is upheld. This is especially true should your employer deny liability for the fact that you suffer from PTSD.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim Against Them?
If your condition does not prevent you from working and you feel that you can return to work whether you were involved in a workplace accident that left you suffering from PTSD or because you witnessed a serious accident at work that led to you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, an employer must allow you to do so. You cannot be fired because you sought compensation from an employer and if you are, you could take further legal action out because your employer would have broken the law.
As such, if you find that you are being threatened with redundancy or the sack because you seek post-traumatic stress disorder compensation from your employer, you should discuss things with a lawyer before doing anything else. A lawyer would offer crucial legal advice on how best to proceed when it comes to filing any other claim against your employer.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim?
Filing a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against an employer can be a complex legal process that is best left up to a lawyer with vast experience of handling this type of sensitive case for employees. As previously mentioned, suffering from PTSD can make life very hard, more especially if you find yourself in any sort of stressful situation. As such, having a solicitor handle your case and represent you legally, can alleviate any anxiety you may be feeling about filing a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against your employer.
Other advantages and benefits of having the expertise of an experienced accident at work lawyer represent you include the following:
- Personal injury lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of law and can access legal libraries when necessary
- You would be provided with crucial advice on the type of evidence that would be needed to prove your PTSD claim against an employer
- Lawyers who specialise in post-traumatic stress disorder claims can arrange for you to see a mental health expert who would be able to provide a crucial report that would support and strengthen your PTSD claim
- PTSD claims, as previously mentioned are complex legal processes where pre-action protocols have to be respected. Having an experienced lawyer represent you can help speed up the process and would ensure legal pitfalls are avoided
- A personal injury solicitor would communicate with your employer’s liability insurance provider once they are satisfied you have a strong case against an employer. This takes all the pressure off your shoulders
- An experienced lawyer who handles this type of complex claim would ensure that you receive interim payments prior to a final settlement being reached
- A personal injury solicitor would work hard on your behalf to ensure that you are awarded a level of compensation you would be entitled to having developed PTSD following a workplace accident
- The lawyer would also ensure that you receive ongoing therapy should this be necessary
Having an expert lawyer represent you when making a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against an employer takes all the pressure off your shoulders. This is especially important if you suffer from this type of condition which could be deemed a “disability” and as such you may be entitled to receive PTSD benefits.
Would a Solicitor Work on My Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Claim on a No Win No Fee Basis?
When you contact a solicitor about a post-traumatic stress disorder claim, you would be offered a no obligation consultation which allows a lawyer to determine whether you have a case against your employer. This first consultation is free of charge whether you talk on the phone with the solicitor or arrange to meet them face-to-face in their offices. Once the lawyer is happy that you PTSD claim is valid, they would agree to represent you without you having to pay them an upfront fee.
No Win No Fee agreements are legally binding contracts that are known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) because you only pay for the legal representation you receive when you are awarded the PTSD compensation you seek from an employer. With this said, it is your employer’s liability insurance provider who would deal with your claim and they would pay out the compensation settlement that is reached. Should you lose your PTSD claim against your employer, there would be no “success fee” to pay because the accident at work lawyer undertook to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you would like to know more on the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed, please follow the link below which takes you to the NHS website where you will find a lot of useful information:
To find out more about treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder, please click on the NHS link below:
If you would like more information on whether PTSD is considered a disability, please click on the link below: