What is nervous shock? Can I claim compensation?

What is nervous shock? Can I claim compensation?












What is nervous shock? Can I claim compensation?

Someone who has witnessed the sudden and tragic death of a loved one, work colleague, or even a stranger, may end up developing a psychological injury in response to the trauma. This type of injury can also occur in someone who did not actually witness the death but was simply informed about it. In Queensland, these claims are referred to as “Nervous Shock Claims”. The sufferer's life can be severely impacted by things like an inability to work resulting in lost income and added expenses for medical treatment such as psychological counselling. These losses and added financial burdens are taken into account in a compensation claim for nervous shock.

What type of incidents can cause a claim?

A claim can arise when someone witnesses an accident involving a fatality or someone who has been critically injured. This may have been a car crash or other form of road accident, like a pedestrian accident, a death or accident at work, or an accident in a public place, for example on a footpath (public liability).
Nervous shock is not only triggered by witnessing a death or someone’s critical injuries. In some cases, it has been the manner in which the person has been informed about their partner's or family member's sudden death or critical injury, that has caused severe, emotional trauma giving rise to a compensation claim.

Criteria for a nervous shock compensation claim

When pursuing a nervous shock claim the psychiatric damage suffered must extend beyond normal or reasonable grief or emotional distress, to a “recognised psychiatric injury”, such as depression, adjustment disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or anxiety. Further, the death of the person critically injured must have been as a result of negligence by another party, for example the driver of the vehicle who caused the car accident, or the employer who provided an unsafe system at work which resulted in the fatality.

Financial relief can be sought

If you are worried about a friend or family member who may have been affected by nervous shock, please contact us on 07 5532 5222 to discuss a possible claim. It is important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible so that the timing deadline to lodge a claim in Queensland is not missed.

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