Psychological Injury From Witnessing An Accident

Witnessing a serious accident where people are seriously injured or even killed can be so traumatic that you suffer psychological injuries yourself.

If you are not involved in the accident you witnessed then you will not be able to pursue a claim for psychological injury as a “Primary victim” but you would be classed as a “secondary victim”.  A secondary victim has been defined as someone who suffers injury as a consequence of another injury (or fear of injury) to a Primary Victim, ie someone involved in the collision, such as the Claimant’s Husband or other close relative.

For a secondary victim to recover in damages certain criteria must be met:

  • There must be a close tie of love and affection between the Claimant and the primary victim (proximity of relationship)
  • The Claimant must have been present at the scene of the accident or at least in the immediate aftermath(proximity of time/distance)
  • The injury to the secondary victim must have occurred as a direct consequence of them seeing the accident or its immediate aftermath (ie not by hearing about it from another person)
  • The Claimant will be assumed to be a person of “reasonable fortitude” (ie they must not have had pre-existing psychological vulnerabilities or illness).
  • The Claimant must be suffering not merely grief, distress, or other bereavement emotion, but a positive psychiatric illness.

Our Success

We have successfully recovered damages for psychological injuries caused to witnesses of accidents. Our team offer a sensitive service to anyone having to live with the horror of having seen their loved ones injured or killed. As difficult as it is to even contemplate pursuing a claim after a bereavement, we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible as your claim will not be capable of being pursued beyond the expiry of the time limit applicable. We have taken on claims with only days left before limitation expired but it is far preferable for us to be involved at an earlier stage than this.

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