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Compensation for psychologically injured driver as a result of a motor vehicle accident

Our client was a young female driver from the Hills District when on or around January 2014 who was driving along Galston Road, Galston when an oncoming vehicle crossed onto the incorrect side of the roadway collided into her vehicle. The force of the impact was quite severe and resulted in the car being turned over and her being trapped in the vehicle until the rescue services came to her assistance.

After being escorted to hospital our client recovered from her physical injuries but was left with a severe psychological injury which required her to take medication to manage her ongoing psychological symptoms. She was prescribed medication and also referred to a psychologist for treatment.

A motor accident personal injury claim form was lodged with the relevant insurer. After undertaking investigations with respect to the issue of liability, liability for a breach of duty of care was admitted by the insurer on behalf of their insured driver. We needed to obtain medical treatment evidence and an assessment from a psychiatrist to determine the nature and extent of her injuries and continuing symptoms.

We arranged for our client to be assessed by a psychiatrist who certified that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and a specific traffic phobia and he provided her with a high percentage of whole person impairment under the relevant guidelines.

The client was then sent to the insurer’s psychiatrist who determined that she was suffering from situational phobic anxiety associated with driving which was resolving. He certified her as suffering from 0% whole person impairment under the relevant guidelines. Our client rejected that medical evidence and we took the insurer on to dispute her impairment.

As a result of the medical dispute the matter was referred to a medical referee being the government consultant MAS Psychiatrist. The outcome of that assessment was to reject the insurer’s medical evidence and certify that our client was suffering from an ongoing psychological injury arising from the accident.

Even though she had not had time off work and continued to work after the accident, she still required medication which was prescribed to address her panic attacks and traffic phobia conditions which flared up from time to time.

After providing detailed further and better particulars to the insurer, we were invited to participate in an ISC with the insurer for the purposes of resolving the matter now that the government assessment certificate was provided to the parties.

The insurer accepted that the client was suffering from a psychological injury and that there were ongoing consequences of that particularly with respect to her past and future treatment expenses. She was awarded substantial damages in respect of her psychological injury and the ongoing cost of her treatment requirement in the future.

Psychological injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents are very difficult to establish and prove.

But with the relevant medical treatment evidence from a treating psychologist and psychiatrist, and with an independent medico-legal assessment from a psychiatrist certainly provides the necessary evidence to establish the ongoing nature of the injury and the client’s injuries, losses and damages flowing from the accident.

Our client was pleased with the outcome and resolution of the claim noting that she had fully recovered from her physical injuries and the government medical assessment certificate found that she has a permanent psychiatric impairment caused by the motor vehicle accident.

Conclusion:-

If you are a driver, passenger or pedestrian who suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident such as our client including psychological injuries, you may still be entitled to be compensated in respect of your psychological injury and the consequences of that in terms of your permanent impairment and pain and suffering, past and future treatment expenses, past and future loss of wages, past and future loss of superannuation, past and future care and legal costs.

In matter such as these, it is critical to obtain medical treatment evidence from the treating doctors and specialists including psychologist and psychiatrist to assist with the diagnosis of the psychological injury and connecting it with the circumstances the motor vehicle accident. We can assist you in marshalling that medical evidence with your treating doctors and specialists.

Drivers, passengers and pedestrians are still entitled to be awarded compensation for psychological injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact us on our toll free number, 1300 768 780 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend to protect your legal rights in the matter. 

© 2021 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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