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An often over looked part of an injury claim is the psychological impact of the accident and subsequent injury. The focus at the outset is understandably on healing the physical injuries. The psychological injuries can however have a significant impact long after the physical injuries have healed.
In some cases it is clear there will be psychological trauma for example where there is a life changing injury. It is not always so obvious in cases where the injuries may be minor. For example a slip/trip injury can easily lead to a loss of confidence in going out, avoidance of certain areas, anxiety and depressive symptoms as a result of missing out on social activities.
We find that our clients feel they should just get on with it. This is not always possible even with support from friends and family. Symptoms can quickly escalate and work, social and family relationships can all suffer.
It is important that you seek help at an early stage to give you the best chance of a full recovery.
As part of your claim we will arrange for you to be seen by a fully qualified psychologist. They will assess your symptoms and may suggest treatment to help you. We can often fund this treatment recovering the costs directly from the Defendant’s insurers. This means you get access at a much earlier stage to give you the best opportunity of a full recovery.
Whilst understandably it can be daunting to think about undergoing a psychological assessment it should not put you off. Generally assessments take the format of a discussion about you, the accident and how it affects you along with completing an assessment usually by way of a questionnaire. The psychologist will use the results of this assessment to assess your symptoms. They will then make suggestions as to therapies which may assist.
The two most common treatments suggested are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
CBT is a talking therapy designed to help manage problems by changing the way you think and behave when confronted by the problem. This is often used to treat anxiety and depression.
EMDR involves recalling the distressing event whilst making certain movements such as side to side eye movements or hand tapping. It is thought to be less emotionally distressing to recall distressing events when your attention is diverted. This means over time the strong psychological response associated with traumatic memories will be lessened. This treatment is often used when you are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
We suggest that you keep a diary noting down activities you can and can’t do, how you feel and where you have avoided doing things. It also worth asking those around you if they have noticed any changes in your behaviour such as mood swings and a reluctance to socialise. These notes are useful to take to any medical appointments and assessments so that your symptoms can be documented.
If you have been the victim of an accident and sustained injury you should not overlook the importance of the psychological impact. Please make sure that you do mention your symptoms to your medical and legal teams.
Georgina Coppenhall is a Solicitor within the Personal Injury team at Poole Alcock. She has over 13 years’ experience of helping people recover compensation for accident claims. Please feel free to contact Georgina at our Sandbach office on 01270 762325 or Georgina.Coppenhall@poolealcock.co.uk Alternatively you can visit our Personal Injury services page or contact us through this form.
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