Personal Injury

Compensation for ‘secondary victim’ due to psychological impact of son’s serious accident

police road closure sign following an accident

Steve Whiteside

Senior Solicitor

5 min read time

A father who witnessed his son undergoing life-saving treatment on the roadside after a traffic accident has been awarded compensation for the impact it has had on him psychologically.

More than three years on, an expert psychiatrist has confirmed the man to still be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is likely to last a total of five to eight years and leave him disadvantaged in terms of being able to secure work for another two to five years.

Hudgell Solicitors supported the man by submitting a personal injury claim on his behalf as a ‘secondary victim’, against the insurers of the driver who caused the accident.

It has paved the way to cover the cost of vital therapy sessions, and a settlement which helps fill a financial void given he is currently unable to work.

‘My resilience has been shattered’

“I can’t really explain it, but I’ve not been the same man since the accident,” he said. “In the initial days and weeks after the accident I think the adrenalin kept me going as the focus was of course just being there at hospital to support my son, who was seriously injured and lucky to survive.

“Then, as time went on, I realised I just wasn’t right. The phone would ring and I’d be afraid to answer, or I’d go into panic if somebody knocked at the door. I realised I really struggled when I wasn’t around family. I knew I needed help.

“My resilience to the daily demands of life were shattered. I had to leave work, and I’ve had to accept that I may not be in a position to return to work for some time.

“Thankfully my son survived and we’re very lucky to still have him, but as a parent I can’t help but worry about how it has impacted on his life and his future. I worry every day about him every day, and a day never passes without flashbacks to seeing him with all the emergency crews around him, with his life in the balance. I’d say it is still in my mind 50 per cent of the time.”

Having had to quit work, the compensation settlement has given him some time to continue his therapy, in the hope he can cope better in the future.

“The therapy has been really helpful. It has certainly taken the edge off the flashbacks, and that makes a big impact as they can just turn a positive day into a difficult one,” he said.

“I can’t thank Hudgell Solicitors enough. An accident like this changes everything for everybody involved, and there is no magic wand to be able to put it behind you. You need specialist support.”

Secondary psychiatric victim damages claims

Solicitor Steve Whiteside, part of Hudgell Solicitors’ specialist personal injury team, led the case for compensation for the man as a ‘secondary psychiatric victim’ of the accident.

He said: “It is hard to imagine the psychological impact of seeing a loved one fighting for their life on a roadside following such a horrific accident, particularly when it is your son.

“Life dramatically changed at that moment for all involved. My client has struggled with flashbacks, panic attacks, anxiety and worry for his son.

“In such cases compensation can sometimes be claimed as a secondary psychiatric victim. This is a compensation payment for people who have close ties of love and affection to the injured party, and crucially who were in or around the immediate aftermath of the incident, suffering direct psychological damage as a result of the event.

“It is only right that people in this situation are offered the help they need, and there is no clearer example than this one. We hope this compensation gives him more valuable time to continue his own rehabilitation from the impact of what happened that day.”

Personal Injury Compensation Claims

Personal injury is the term used for an injury or illness that has been caused or made worse by someone else’s negligence. In basic terms, negligence means that another party owed a duty of care and ‘breached’ that duty of care resulting in some foreseeable injury being sustained.

Personal injury includes both physical and psychological injuries. The majority of negligence cases involving personal injury arise from accidents at work, in public places, or on the road.

Hudgell Solicitors’ specialist personal injury lawyers have been successfully supporting clients in recovering compensation for over two decades and they are here to help you too. Our personal injury experts will discuss and review your situation, give you the time and space to talk to us, and make the claims process simple to understand.

The first thing you need to do to make an injury claim is to get in touch with us using our online personal injury claim form.

Read more: Personal Injury Compensation Claims

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