The number of workers in the healthcare sector who seek compensation for both psychiatric and psychological injury has risen over recent years thanks to the type of work they do. On top of this, the number of employees in the workplace who file harassment and bullying claims has also been seen to rise. You could suffer psychiatric or psychological injuries in a multitude of ways whilst carrying out your work which could result in you suffering from mental issues which includes anxiety and stress.
If you suffered psychiatric and psychological injury at work, you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing a claim against an employer, to find out if your case would be valid, please read on.
What is the Definition of Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries at Work?
You may work in a stressful work environment and as a result you are put under constant pressure, or an employer may frequently ask you to work excessive hours in order to meet deadlines. Whatever job you may do, there could be times when the pressure becomes too much and the result is that you develop psychiatric and/or psychological injuries. This can negatively impact your overall health and well-being both in the work and home environment. Should this be the case, you could have grounds to pursue a claim for compensation against your employer.
When it comes to psychiatric and psychological compensation claims, you would have to prove that the “damage” you suffered was “reasonably foreseeable”. In short, this would be crucial for employer liability to be proved.
What Does Reasonably Foreseeable Mean?
All employers in the UK have a legal duty to keep employees and other workers safe whilst they are in the workplace. As such, your employer is duty bound to assess all hazards and risks that may be present in a work environment. In short, this means that an employer has to set in place all “reasonable” measures to reduce the risk of harm and injury coming to employees and other workers which includes them suffering from psychiatric and psychological damage.
If you were off work due to the stress and anxiety you experience at work, your employer also has a duty to ensure that when you return to work things are appropriately catered for by setting in place measures so you are not put any further pressure.
What Evidence is Required to Prove a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Claim?
In order to prove that a psychiatric and psychological injuries claim against an employer is valid, you would have to show they were in breach of their duty to keep you safe from harm while you are at work. In some instances negligence on the part of an employer may not have been the “entire” cause of you suffering psychiatric and psychological injury at work but that it contributed to the damage you suffered.
As such, an employer could be deemed “partly responsible” which means that you could still claim compensation but the amount you receive would reflect the fact that your employer “contributed” to the injury you sustained which in law is referred to as “contributory negligence”.
How Do I Make a Psychological Injuries Claim Against an Employer?
If you were involved in an traumatic incident in the workplace and as a consequence suffered psychological injury, you should discuss your case with a legal expert who would inform you on how best to proceed with a claim. However, for your case to be valid you would need to prove that the psychological damage you suffered was caused by a “third party”.
Some of the more common workplace incidents that could result in your suffering psychological damage includes the following:
- Being involved in catastrophic accident at work
- Witnessing a traumatic accident in the workplace
The result of being subjected to any of the above in work environment could mean that you develop PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – you could also start suffering from any of the following symptoms:
- Severe depression
- Anxiety disorder
Suffering any of the above could mean that your life is negatively impacted both in a home and work environment. Should your symptoms be extremely severe, psychological damage is often more debilitating than any physical injuries you may have suffered at work.
With this said, psychiatric and psychological injuries are often the result of having been physically injured in the workplace but this does not necessarily have to be the case. You could also make a psychiatric and psychological injury claim against an employer without having suffered a physical injury. Should this be the case, you should contact a solicitor who would offer essential advice on what evidence would be needed to support your claim and whether your employer could be deemed responsible.
Are There Different Types of Psychological Injuries at Work Claims?
There are two types of psychological injury at work claims that you could file against an employer which are detailed as follows:
- Primary victim – if you were directly involved in a traumatic accident in the workplace and as a consequence you suffered from psychiatric and psychological injury which can be attributed to negligence on the part of an employer or a work colleague, you would be considered as being a “primary victim”
- Secondary victim – if you witnessed a traumatic accident at work and as a result you suffer from psychiatric and psychological injury, you would be thought of as a “secondary victim”. However, to meet the necessary criteria to file a psychiatric and psychological injury claim, you must be able to prove that you have a “close tie” to a person who was injured in the accident at work which you witnessed, or because you were at the scene soon after the incident occurred
The Symptoms of Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Explained
If you were a primary or secondary victim of a traumatic incident in the workplace, it could lead to you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As such, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Heart palpitations
- Lack of motivation and/or interest
- Sleep deprivation
- Emotional avoidance
It is noteworthy that if you already suffer from some sort of mental issue and you are thinking about filing a psychological injury claim, you have to prove that things have been made worse because you were involved or were the witness to a traumatic accident at work for you case to be upheld against an employer.
Would My Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Claim Against an Employer Be Upheld?
Psychiatric and psychological injury at work claims are complex legal cases. For a case to be valid, you would need to be examined and your condition assessed by a clinical psychiatrist or a consultant psychologist. A detailed report would need to be produced detailing the ongoing therapy and treatment that you would require for your case to be upheld by a judge should your claim go to court. The judge would refer to a psychiatrist’s notes when coming to a ruling on whether your claim is valid or not.
What Compensation Could I Be Awarded in a Successful Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Claim?
The level of compensation you may receive in a successful psychiatric and psychological injury at work claim against an employer would depend on several things which would include the following:
- The severity of your symptoms
- How you life as well as your ability to continue working has been negatively impacted
- Whether you incurred loss of earnings and future loss of earnings
- Whether you underwent cognitive behavioural therapy – CBT – a treatment that is only available in the private healthcare sector and not through the NHS
All psychiatric and psychological injury claims are treated as being unique which means that the amount you may be awarded could differ to that awarded to another person. With this said, the level of compensation provided below is given as ballpark amounts awarded for psychiatric and psychological injury suffered in the workplace:
- If you suffer severe symptoms which negatively impacts your mental health leaving you more vulnerable than prior to you having been involved or a witness to a traumatic workplace accident, you may receive between £43,710 and £92,240
- If you suffer moderate symptoms where the prognosis is positive, you could receive between £15,200 and £43,710
- If you suffer moderate symptoms where the prognosis is positive but where personal relationships have been negatively impacted, you could receive between £4,670 and £15,200
- If you suffer less severe symptoms but which affects your ability to cope with everyday life, you could receive between £1,220 and £4,670
- If you develop post-traumatic stress disorder, you could receive between £3,150 to £80,250 with the higher amount being awarded for extremely severe cases of PTSD
A legal expert would let you know at the earliest opportunity how much psychiatric and psychological injuries compensation you may be entitled to receive in a successful claim against your employer.
What Could Be Included in a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries at Work Claim?
You can claim both general damages and special damages in a psychiatric and psychological injury at work claim against an employer.
- General damages are awarded as a way of compensating your for the distress, suffering, pain and loss of amenity you endured because you suffer from psychiatric and psychological injury which both negatively impacts your personal and working life
- Special damages are awarded to compensate you for all the out of pocket expenses you had to cope with as a direct result of having develop psychiatric and psychological injury at work. You would be compensated for your travel and medical expenses as well as any other costs you incurred as a direct result of the psychological injury you suffered through no fault of your own which would include both loss of earnings and future earnings should you not be able to work again
Do I Have the Right to Sue an Employer for Psychiatric and Psychological Injury At Work?
If you are involved in an accident at work and suffer psychiatric and psychological injury, you have the right to sue an employer and to be compensated for the pain and suffering you endured. Your employer must by law make sure that you are kept safe while you are in their employment and carrying out work you are tasked to do as part of your job. This includes making sure you are kept safe from any sort of psychological harm.
An employer cannot stop you from seeking compensation by filing a psychiatric and psychological injury at work claim against them. If an employer prevents you from doing so or they threaten you with redundancy or the sack, they would be acting unlawfully which means in short, you could take further legal action out against them. However, you should not do anything before speaking with a legal expert which includes resigning from your job.
Do I Have Workers Rights?
All employees have workers rights which are protected under UK law. Your employer is legally obliged to abide by these laws and the Health and Safety Executive legislation that is set in place. Should your employer ignore the law that protects you and as a consequence you suffer psychiatric and psychological injury at work, you have the right to seek compensation from them.
Other worker’s rights that you have include the following:
- That your job is safe and that you cannot be dismissed because you file a psychiatric and psychological injury at work claim against your employer
- That you can seek medical attention
If your employer attempts to stop you from doing any of the above or they choose to threaten you or treat you unfairly, you should contact a legal expert who would offer essential advice on whether you could be entitled to file other compensation claims against your employer. This could include a detriment claim and an unfair dismissal claim if your employer decides to fire you.
Does an Employer Have Responsibilities Towards Me in the Workplace?
As previously mentioned, all employers have a duty of care towards the people who work for them. This includes ensuring the following:
- That a work environment is safe for you to work in
- That you were provided with adequate training to carry out the work you are asked to do safely
- That you are provided with ongoing training on a regular basis
- That you are provided with detailed working practices and procedures
- That you are made aware of accident at work protocols and who is the designated first aid officer or officers
- That you were provided with adequate industry standard personal protective equipment
Should you be involved in a workplace accident and as a result you suffer from psychiatric or psychological injuries because your employer failed in any of the above, you have the right to seek compensation from them.
What is the Time Limit to Making a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries at Work Claim?
You would have to lodge a psychiatric and psychological injury claim against your employer within 3 years of having been involved or a witness to a traumatic accident at work. However, this time limit would start at different times depending on several things which are detailed below:
- The statutory 3 year deadline would begin from the date a medical professional diagnosed you as suffering from psychiatric and psychological injuries that can be linked to the traumatic workplace event
- The 3 year time limit would start from the day you turn 18 years old if the traumatic workplace event occurred when you were under the age of 18
Could I Lose My Job If I File a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Claim Against My Employer?
As previously mentioned, you cannot be dismissed from your job if you choose to make a psychiatric and psychological injury claim against your employer who cannot treat you unfairly or detrimentally because you do either. Should an employer act in this manner or they fire you, they would be breaking the law. As such, if you believe that your employer may be acting unlawfully, you should discuss your concerns with a legal expert before you decide to do anything else.
What Benefits Would a Legal Expert Offer If I File a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries Claim?
There are many benefits and advantages of having a solicitor represent you when you make a psychiatric and psychological injury claim against an employer. The reason being that this type of claim can be complex and employers often deny liability. A legal expert has vast experience when it comes to proving that an employer could be deemed negligent in their duty to keep you safe in the workplace. They also have the legal expertise needed to deal with an employer’s liability insurance provider.
Other advantages of working with a lawyer when filing a compensation claim includes the following:
- They can access legal libraries which allows a solicitor to refer to cases that have already been judged and settled. A solicitor can then base your claim on these “precedents”
- A solicitor would offer you No Win No Fee terms if they are satisfied that you have enough evidence to prove employer negligence
- A solicitor who specialises in psychiatric and psychological injury at work claims would ensure that an independent medical professional examines you so they can provide a detailed report on your mental health issues which would include a prognosis and whether you would require ongoing treatment and therapy
- The solicitor would inform you at the earliest opportunity of the amount of psychiatric and psychological injury compensation you are likely to receive
Would a Solicitor Offer Me No Win No Fee Terms if I Make a Psychiatric and Psychological Injuries at Work Claim?
For a solicitor to work with you on No Win No Fee terms, your psychiatric and psychological injuries claim against an employer would need to meet specific criteria. The solicitor you contact would determine whether this is the case by offering a free, no obligation, initial consultation and once they are happy that your claim against an employer is strong, they would offer you No Win No Fee terms when representing you.
This means that any financial worries and stress of paying for essential legal advice is avoided because you would not have to pay an upfront fee for a No Win No Fee lawyer to commence work on your claim. As your case progresses, you would not have any ongoing fees to pay either. You only pay for the legal representation you receive when you are awarded psychiatric and psychological injuries compensation in a successful claim. The amount that would be due is deducted from the money you are awarded. Should you lose your case, you would not have to pay anything at all when you work with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis on a psychiatric and psychological injury claim.
If you would like more information relating to liability for psychiatric illness in the workplace, please follow the link provide below:
If you would like more information on how stress in the workplace is defined, please click on the link provided below:
To find out more about primary and secondary victims relating to psychiatric damage, please follow the link below:
Psychiatric damage – primary and secondary victims