If you are suffering from PTSD, you may be considering making a post-traumatic stress disorder claim against your employer.

Here are 12 things you should know…

  1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder caused by a frightening, stressful or distressing event. It is an anxiety disorder.
  2. PTSD is caused by being involved in or witnessing a horrific event.
  3. An accident at work claim arises when your employer is in breach of his duty of care to do all he reasonably can be expected to do to keep you safe at work. If as a result of that breach of duty you suffer an injury in an accident that takes place at work, you may have grounds for bringing an accident at work claim against your employer. You  would claim compensation for the pain and suffering  caused by the injury, as well as an amount to cover the financial losses incurred or yet to be incurred, such as:
    • Loss of earnings
    • Medical expenses
    • Rehabilitation costs t4. Your employer’s duty to protect your health at work, is not just limited to taking care of your physical health. He must also take all reasonable precautions to look after your mental health too.

If you were exposed to traumatic events at whilst at work, the effects could trigger PTSD. For example, this might happen if you:

    • were involved in a serious accident whilst at work, or
    • you witnessed an incident in which someone else was badly injured, whilst you were doing your job
  1. PTSD is a recognised, defined, diagnosable psychological condition. It isn’t mere ‘shock and shaking up’.
  2. Symptoms of PTSD vary, but some of the more common ones are:
    • Flashbacks to the traumatic incident: known as ‘Re-experiencing’
    • Nightmares about what you saw and the aftermath
    • You keep seeing distressing images of the incident
    • Getting negative thoughts about the experience they have been through
    • Unable to come to terms with what has happened: known as ‘Avoidance’
    • Avoiding people and places that remind you on the traumatic event
    • Unable to talk about what has happened
    • Getting distracted in order to block out thinking about the experience
    • Deliberately trying to become emotionally numb
    • Isolating oneself
    • Becoming withdrawn
    • Unable to relax and always anxious: known as hyperarousal
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Exhibiting difficult behaviour (particularly in the case of children with PTSD)

Stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms, as well, including:

    • Sweating
    • Feeling sick
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart attacks
  1. Workers particularly at risk of getting PTSD include:
    • Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other medical personnel
    • Firefighters
    • Armed forces personnel
    • Police
    • Professional drivers
    • Journalists

Those people in any of the occupations listed above are at risk of experiencing hugely upsetting incidents, more frequently than the rest of us. All the same, any of us, in any job, could become involved in a serious accident at work, be a witness to one and/or have to deal with the aftermath of such an event.

  1. When would my employer be liable to compensate me if I developed PTSD whilst doing my job?

Your employer must do whatever is reasonably practicable to ensure your health, safety, and welfare, whilst you are at work. He owes you a duty of care. If he falls down in that duty of care, he is being negligent. If as a result of your employer’s negligence, you end up being involved in, or a witness to, a horrifying accident or incident at work, and it results in you developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you may be able to bring a PTSD compensation claim against your employer.

  1. Your employer could be in breach of his duty of care to keep you safe, if he fails to:a) carry out a risk assessment on what could harm you in doing your jobb) take precautions to stop any risk of harm to you happeningc) explain to you how the risk will be controlled and the person who will be responsible for controlling the risk

    d) consult and work with you to prevent you and your colleagues from coming to harm

    e) provide you with the training you need to be able to carry out your job safely

    f) provide you with the tools and PPE to allow you to do your job safely

    g) maintain your tools and PPE equipment in good order

  2. How would I prove that I got PTSD as a result of an accident or incident at work?

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of PTSD. We have already described the many types of symptoms that could indicate you may have PTSD, after experiencing a terrible event at work. If you experience any of the symptoms outlined, your first call will be to your GP.

If your GP thinks you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,  they will refer you to a consultant psychiatrist or psychologist, who will carry out a mental health assessment.

The assessment will focus on your:

    • Physical needs
    • Mental needs
    • Social needs
    • Risk

A decision will be made as to whether you need to be referred to the community mental health team or CMHT for short. If your symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks, you should be referred to the CMHT, which is part of the NHS.

  1. How do I make a PTSD claim against my employer?

PTSD therapy

PTSD accident at work claims can be complex. For that reason alone, you should seek out the services of an experienced accident at work solicitor to help, as follows:

  • Advise you on the prospects of making a successful PTSD claim in your case
  • If you have reasonable prospects of making a winnable PTSD claim against your employer, an expert personal injury solicitor will have the know how to navigate through the process of getting the right kind of medical reports, proving your PTSD, knowing the right amount of compensation to fight for and to do all this using a No Win No Fee Agreement to protect you from having to pay legal costs if your claim isn’t successful.

You are more likely to pursue your claim to get the best compensation settlement possible if you aren’t constantly worried about legal costs. A No Win No Fee PTSD claim will help you achieve that result.

  1. How much will I get for a PTSD claim at work?

Every case is judged on its merits when it comes to valuing a PTSD claim. In addition, it should be remembered that in a personal injury or psychological trauma case it is rare to claim only for the injury or trauma you suffer. There will also be a claim for special damages. Claims for loss of earnings, medical fees, travel expenses, rehabilitation and care costs and all other ‘money’ claims come under the heading of special damages. It goes without saying that the amount and types of special damages vary in every case.

The following table provides guidelines as to how the court will assess the value of the claim for PTSD, depending on the severity of the psychological trauma.

Severe PTSD :                                                         £56,180 to £94,470
every aspect of the injured

person’s life will be affected

with permanent effects

 

Moderately Severe PTSD                                         £21,730 to 56,180
Some recovery with

Professional help

Moderate PTSD

 

£7,680 to £21,730

 

Largely recovered:

continuing defects not

not grossly disabling

Less Severe

 

£3,710 to £7,680
Virtually full recovery

Within 2 years

  1. Can PTSD be treated?

There are three main types of therapy for  PTSD.

  1. Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT)
  2. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  3. Group therapy

Your personal injury solicitor will help you arrange appropriate treatment in conjunction with your medical experts and look to recover the costs from your employers insurance company.

Accident at work claims for PTSD should be carried out by specialist personal injury solicitors. Mooneerams solicitors only handle personal injury claims and only act for clients like you – we don’t act for insurance companies or employers.

Our team of lawyers have over 100 years of experience in personal injury claims litigation. Most accident at work claims including PTSD claims are handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 for a free initial consultation with one of our team of personal injury experts.

Further reading:

NHS Website – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Rethink Mental Illness – PTSD

NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – PTSD Diagnosis

PTSD at Work – Supporting Employees With PTSD