How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Claim Psychological Injuries


There is increasing awareness about the toll mental illness and mental injuries have in our society. However, those injured in motor vehicle accident still struggle when bringing claims related to the non-physical injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist with making claims for non-physical personal injuries and to obtain compensation for your treatment, loss of income, pain and suffering and other damages.

Non-physical injuries can take many forms: psychological injuries, mental distress, and cognitive difficulties. Of the many types of non-physical injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, there are four conditions that injured accident victims often experience, including:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;
  • Major Depression;
  • Driving Avoidance; and
  • Depression.

There are also a number of conditions that are a combination of physical and non-physical symptoms such as chronic pain syndrome. At McQuarrie Hunter LLP, which serves the Lower Mainland, including Langley, Surrey and South Surrey, we know how these conditions vary and restrict your way of life.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) defines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a mental illness that often involves exposure to trauma from single events that involve death or the threat of death or serious injury. Something is traumatic when it is very frightening, overwhelming and causes a lot of distress and traumatic events may include natural disasters, accidents, war or conflict, or other threats to life or safety. It could be an event or situation that you experience yourself or something that happens to others, including loved ones.

What is Driving Avoidance?

PTSD can cause intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing the traumatic event. Many injured accident victims experience vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere. They often avoid things that remind them of the event, which means someone who was hurt in a car crash might avoid driving.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that affects a person’s mood and the way injured accident victims think about themselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around them.

Signs of depression include feeling sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty, or anxious a lot of the time. Individuals feel irritable or angry and many people lose interest in things they used to enjoy and may withdraw from others. Depression can make it hard to focus on tasks and remember information. It can be hard to concentrate, learn new things, or make decisions.

Depression may result when you are seriously injured or fail to recover and have permanent limitations that prevent you from doing the activities you previously enjoyed. If you are located in the Lower Mainland, including South Surrey, Surrey and Langley, book an appointment with McQuarrie Hunter LLP’s personal injury lawyers to discuss your options.

Compensation for Non-Physical Injuries

In White v. Bysterveld, 2016 BCSC 1952 (CanLII), the plaintiff was stopped at a red light when her vehicle was struck from behind by a pick-up truck. The driver of the truck admitted liability. The plaintiff claimed she suffered soft tissue injuries and a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Most of the physical symptoms resolved, but as result of the accident she continued to suffer from persistent headaches, vertigo, cognitive deficits, depression and anxiety. She claimed non-pecuniary damages, damages for past and future loss of earning capacity, costs of future care and special damages.

Despite the fact that her remaining injuries were largely non-physical, the judge awarded: damages for pain and suffering in amount of $135,000, loss of earning capacity at $288,000, cost of future care at $28,800 and special damages at just over $8,000.

How This Impacts You

It is important to note that even in cases where physical injuries are temporary, you may have longer lasting mental, emotional and psychological injuries. In order to preserve and strengthen your case, during the process you should be mindful of who you discuss the case with. Until the case settles or has been determined in court, do not discuss your case publicly and be mindful of how you conduct yourself in public. Be aware that ICBC has the right to hire a private investigator to follow and video you. Do not post about the case on social media.

Contact McQuarrie Hunter LLP for a Personal Injury Lawyer

As you can see, personal injury cases involving non-physical injuries can be complex. You should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine if you have a case.

At McQuarrie Hunter LLP, we provide an initial free consultation for your personal injury claim in the Lower Mainland including Surrey, South Surrey and Langley. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay legal fees if and when we win a settlement for you. Our lawyers will guide you through the personal injury claim process. We can also help you by dealing with ICBC adjusters in Surrey, Langley and throughout the Lower Mainland. Contact us if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at 1-877-581-7001.


Related Articles