The principle behind personal injury compensation is to compensate you for your injury and related suffering. Among the most common injury sustained are ankle Injury, wrist injury, back injury, brain injury, head injury, knee injury, spinal injury, whiplash, crush injury, repetitive strain injury, hand arm vibration syndrome, occupational deafness, asbestos, occupational asthma, dermatitis, farmer’s lung, burn injury, medical negligence, dental negligence, sight injuries, wrongful death, child injury claims, radiation exposure, Brachial Plexus Injury and food poisoning claims.
The ankle is the very strong joint lying between the tibia and fibula leg bones at the top and the talus underneath. The talus is the square-shaped bone which connects the leg bones to the foot.
Common injuries occurring near the ankle are sprains on the inner side involving tearing the internal ligament and fractures of the fibula, called a Potts fracture, on the outer side. Light sprains may only cause mild pain and stiffness. More serious ones may involve a complete rupture of a ligament and severe swelling.
Although perhaps more readily associated with sporting or overuse-type injuries the ankle and surrounding foot area are very susceptible to injury from tripping and slipping as well as road accidents.
Many bony injuries to the ankle do not show up with a conventional x-ray. Sometimes it is necessary to use some form of scan to show up an injury more serious than a sprain. Isotope bone scans involve injection of dye into the bloodstream to reveal fracture sites. Alternatively, scans by computed tomography (CT), combining a computer with x-rays, or by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide cross-sectional body images.
Damaging your wrist can be very painful and can really stop you going about your everyday activities. The wrist is quite complex and has 8 bones connected to each other with ligaments These bones are called:
There are also the two bones from the forearm which are called the radius and ulna.
If you have fractured or broken your wrist then it will be one of these bones which has been damaged.
A sprain is where the ligaments which hold the bones together have been partially torn or severely torn. There will be no broken or fractured bones in a sprain.
Back injuries are very common and, as with other ones, can arise from all kinds of accidents. Nurses are particularly vulnerable to such injury from lifting accidents.
The back is very complex. It is made up of the spinal column containing the spinal cord, the rear parts of the ribs and the haunch bones (iliac) with the sacrum below. Thick, strong muscles cover the bones – at the top enabling the movement and support of the head – and below going round the flanks and into the lower limbs.
The column is made up of vertebrae which are irregularly-shaped bones. An adult normally has some 33 of these. The vertebrae are joined together by the discs which are of cartilage-type material and have a shock absorbent function. A slipped disc occurs when the disc casing splits and the nucleus (the jelly-like centre) spills out.
Back injuries can vary from bruising through ligament tears and muscle ruptures (often through indirect impacts such as seat belt injuries) to full-blown fractures and, in the most serious cases, paralysis.
Some back injuries of the most severe kind can give rise to paralysis. Other back injuries may give rise to particularly unusual features. These may involve very serious consequences not normally associated with back injury such as impotence or double incontinence.
Brain injury needs to be considered as a potential series of events beginning with the first injury and leading possibly to a second and third stage depending on the circumstances. The first injury may be a closed, open or crush one. The most likely is a closed injury where there is no visible sign of damage. This can be quite common in road accidents and likely to be made worse through, for example, failure to wear a seat belt.
Open injuries exposing the brain are less frequent particularly in road accidents. A crush injury occurs where the head becomes trapped between hard objects. This does not happen very often and the person injured may retain consciousness.
The second injury will arise if the first is aggravated, for example by oxygen starvation. It is essential that a person who has sustained brain injury in an accident receives the correct type of emergency treatment as soon as possible.
The third injury will happen if clotting or other damage such as bleeding, swelling or bruising occurs in the days or weeks after the accident. Again correct medical supervision to minimise the likelihood of this is essential.
Obviously brain injuries can vary considerably in degree from a minor one resulting in nausea, giddiness or brief unconsciousness to the thankfully very few resulting in a victim being in a persistent vegetative state. The latter may not need assistance with breathing and may sleep normally and be able to be fed but be unable to understand or communicate.
Head injury is one of the most common reasons why people visit hospital. The most severe involve unconsciousness for six hours or longer. After 5 years only about 15% in this category will have returned to work. Some suffer a moderate head injury involving unconsciousness for up to 6 hours. Others sustain a minor injury with unconsciousness for 15 minutes or less.
The most severe injuries involve some form of brain damage. Even minor and moderate injuries can cause some degree of, what is normally called, Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. Minor head injuries may otherwise occur with minimal or no brain damage. Epilepsy (fitting and seizures) – either grand or petit mal – is a possible consequence of a head injury. About 1 in 200 of the population suffer from it in one form or other and for various reasons although this is not always connected to an accidental injury. It is a disorder of the brain not a disease. More than one fit will be necessary to establish its existence. One year’s complete absence from day time fits will be necessary to be able to continue to drive although those with a three year history of fits only while asleep may also drive.
The knee is a tough, very complex joint that has to support virtually the whole body weight when walking, running or climbing. It has to be able to bend and straighten, rotate and pivot. It relies on three sets of structures for its stability – the four ligaments, the two menisci and the tendons. The ligaments are cord-like tissues connecting the bones of the upper and lower legs. The menisci are crescent-shaped, pieces of cartilage between the thigh and shin bone. The tendons join the muscles of the upper and lower leg and hold the patella (kneecap) in place.
In a car accident injury to the patella is likely where an occupant hits the dashboard. Fortunately fractures of the patella are not common.
Of the two ligaments the anterior cruciate is the one most frequently injured in road accidents. Injury to the posterior cruciate ligament often occurs in motorcycle accidents when a knee is struck at 90 degrees of flexion although this kind of injury is otherwise quite rare. Sometimes correct initial diagnosis can be difficult because of pain and swelling and examination under anaesthetic may be needed. If the injury is confined and surrounding areas have not been affected a lot of people manage to make a good recovery without radical treatment being necessary. Otherwise if more areas are affected some form of reconstruction of the ligament may be required.
The spinal column, also called the spine, backbone or vertebral column, acts as a support for the upper parts of the body and protection to the spinal cord and related nerves. The backbone of an adult human of most heights is about 28” long. Within the column lies the spinal cord.
Spinal cord injury is damage to the cord which results in a loss of function; eg movement or feeling. Severing of the cord is not necessary for this to happen. Often it remains intact but ceases to work properly. Surrounding bones may be broken but if the spinal cord remains intact paralysis is not inevitable.
The cord is about 18” long and runs from the base of the brain centrally down the back to the waist. Nerves within the cord transmit messages from the brain to the spinal nerve on the spinal tract. Nerve impulses are carried by the cord from the brain to and from other parts of the body.
Vertebrae or bone rings surround the cord. These make up the spinal column or back bone. In the neck there are 7 cervical or neck vertebrae and in the chest 12 thoracic vertebrae. There are 5 lumbar vertebrae in the small of the back and 5 fused vertebrae forming the sacrum. This is rounded off by four vertebrae fused together to form the coccyx which is the nearest thing we get to having a tail.
Injuries are either complete – no function below the level of the injury – or incomplete. In general the higher the injury the greater the likely loss of function. Cervical injuries usually result in quadriplegia ie loss of function of all four limbs. Those at the highest level may require the use of a ventilator for breathing. Thoracic injuries normally affect the chest and legs and can result in paraplegia ie loss of function of two limbs. With an incomplete injury some degree of functioning below the injury level is retained perhaps more on one side than the other.
Whiplash is a term which describes a number of conditions suffered particularly in road traffic accidents where injuries are caused by the violent movement of the head in relation to the neck or lower spine. It usually arises from a sudden, forcible backwards and forwards (or forwards and backwards) bending of the neck and occurs for example when very rapid deceleration of a vehicle is involved.
Ladies with their smaller, more delicate necks are generally more susceptible to the injury than men, particularly those who have thicker, bull necks. Symptoms, which do not always appear immediately, may worsen after a day or two. The most frequent complaints are headaches and stiffness in the neck or back of the head and, sometimes, dizziness.
Whiplash cannot be detected by scans or x-rays. Unless a fracture or dislocation is also suspected diagnosis will usually be made on the basis of the injury and a patient’s description of the symptoms.
No single treatment for whiplash is widely accepted among doctors. In some cases a collar will be prescribed. If there is no fracture or dislocation exercising and pursuit of as normal a routine as possible is encouraged. Indeed there is some evidence that those who wear a collar and rest for several weeks may actually recover more slowly than those who are able to quickly resume a normal routine. Physiotherapy is sometimes necessary.
In many cases the likelihood of sustained after-effects is small with good prospects for a complete recovery.
A crush injury is where a part of the body is crushed between two objects. Some of the symptom of a crush injury include swelling and bleeding in the area, damaged skin, pain or numbness or, in the more severe accidents, a deformed or mangled body part.
Crush injuries are mainly the result of an accident, the most common being getting a finger caught in a door. The more serious injury occurs when there is a large force or collision, for example where a car drives into a pedestrian and crushes that person up against a wall. This type of strong force may cause the skin to crack or scrape. In extreme cases the loss of function or blood flow may occur in the area. This area will be increasingly at risk of infection so will need to be seen by medical experts as soon as possible. The worse scenario is amputation where a surgeon is required to remove the body part which was crushed. This can be extremely traumatic and can lead one to having physiological and emotional distress.
Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injury is a name used to describe many different types of soft tissue muscles and tendons injuries. This type of injury is caused from repetitive physical work and can affect any part of the body. It is commonly caused by poor posture whilst sitting at a computer desk for more than a few hours a day. People doing certain sports can suffer at a result of repetitive movement and from playing a musical instrument or working on a factory production line. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include: a dull ache, throbbing, numbness, tingling and tightness. It is not a life threatening injury but it has the potential to cause crippling pain and disability. Some of the repetitive strain injuries are as follows:
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Constant muscle spasms
- Calf injury
- Tendon damage
- Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is an industrial injury which mainly affects people who operate vibrating power tools. Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome was more commonly referred to as Vibration White Finger or VWF in the past until it was realised that there were many more symptoms connected to the illness than just having white fingers. The illness is now more accurately referred to as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS.
People most at risk from developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS are those who use vibrating power tools or machines such as chainsaws, concrete breakers, grinders, hammer drills, hedge trimmers, mowers, pedestal grinders, pneumatic drills and sanders for long periods of time.
Symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome include a cold sensation in the fingers, a feeling of numbness in the fingertips, a tingling sensation in the fingers or a whitening of the skin on the fingers.
The above symptoms may prevent the victim from sleeping properly and may prevent him from being able to feel things with his fingers or pick up small or heavy objects. The victim may also find that some of the symptoms are worse in cold weather. If an employee notices these initial symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS and then continues to work with the vibrating tools or machines, the condition can get worse resulting in the numbness and pain being permanent.
Occupational Deafness, Industrial Deafness or Noise Induced Hearing Loss, as it is sometimes referred to, is a deterioration of a person’s hearing over a prolonged period of time as a result of their working environment. In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland many people have been affected by industrial deafness. Employees can be put at risk in many different industries particularly shipbuilding, coal mining, metal manufacturing and engineering (factory environments) where noisy machinery is used. Health & Safety legislation has put in place rules relating to health and safety in the workplace which must be adhered to. Those rules, combined with advances in technology, have created quieter workplaces and incidences of industrial deafness are now much rarer.
Asbestos is the name given to a naturally occurring mineral which was frequently used during the 1960’s and 1970’s in mining, construction and shipbuilding. Asbestos was widely used because it was non-flammable, flexible, virtually indestructible and low heat-conducting. It was considered to be perfect for use in insulation, brake linings, and cement and fire-proofing.
There are three different types of asbestos. The first is called Crocidolite and is more commonly known as Blue Asbestos – this was used mainly in the textile industry. The second is called Amosite and is more commonly known as Brown Asbestos – this was mainly used for insulation. The third is called Chrysotile and is more commonly known as White Asbestos – this was used in both the textile and building industries. Use of the substances have been banned for many years.
Although asbestos was very useful, it was very dangerous too. Asbestos is made up of millions of fibres which, when inhaled into the lungs are very dangerous.
Asbestos Related Diseases
Asbestos related diseases take many years, usually at least 30 to develop. If an employee worked with asbestos, even if it was many years ago he may be affected. Asbestos related disease also occur among the wives and children of those who come into contact with the relative’s overalls worn whilst working with asbestos.
There are many different types of asbestos related conditions and they each vary in severity. The conditions include Pleural Plaques, Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and Asbestosis. Asbestosis is often misused as a term for any asbestos related disease.
If an employee has developed any asbestos related condition (with the exception of pleural plaques) and, if it can be proven that he were exposed to the asbestos due to someone else’s fault, then he would be entitled to bring in a personal injury claim for compensation.
In the vast majority of cases, asbestos related diseases develop after several years of inhaling asbestos dust and fibres. The main point to remember is that the earlier an asbestos related disease is diagnosed, the better the condition can be monitored or treated.
X-Rays, scans and lung-function tests can diagnose an asbestos related disease and monitor its progression.
Asthma is a condition which causes the sufferer to encounter breathing difficulties as a result of their airways narrowing. In some cases, the asthma can subside over time. However, in other cases a person may need to take medication to treat the asthma for the rest of their lives. Common symptoms of asthma are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness across the chest. Common triggers known to worsen asthma are colds and flu viruses, cigarette smoke, dust, pollen or animal hairs. Asthma can start at any time of life and as well as being a hereditary condition, it can also be caused by a person’s lifestyle and environment.
What is Occupational Asthma?
If a person develops asthma later on in life, then it may have been caused by something in their environment rather than as a result of a hereditary condition. In many cases, asthma is caused by a person’s working conditions. Some causes of asthma are as a result of exposure to various occupational substances such as flour, grain, isocyanates, laboratory animals, latex, enzymes or colophony.
However, many other irritant substances can have the same affect, such as dust or smoke. The asthma may not develop until several weeks or months have passed after the initial exposure.
There are detailed regulations in place which are designed to protect all workers from exposure to chemicals and other substances in the workplace. If a person believes they have been exposed to a hazardous substance at work which has caused them to develop asthma, then they may be entitled to make an asthma compensation claim.
Dermatitis means “inflammation of the skin” and is a term used to describe many different skin conditions. Dermatitis is probably more commonly known as eczema and the two most common types are Irritant Contact Dermatitis and Allergic Contact Dermatitis.
Eczema or Dermatitis is a common childhood condition which often vanishes by the time a person reaches adulthood. However, in some cases a person can suffer with eczema or dermatitis for their whole life. If a person only develops eczema or dermatitis later on in life or if his condition significantly worsens later in life then there is a chance that it could have been caused by his working conditions.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
A person suffering from Allergic contact dermatitis or eczema is likely to suffer from very sensitive skin which reacts to certain foods and other allergens such as dust, enzymes or animal hair. Their skin will become inflamed, itchy and red in colour when they come into contact with the allergen and if they scratch their skin until the skin is broken, it is then open to bacterial infections. Allergic Contact Dermatitis or eczema can affect a person’s whole body but the most common areas tend to be behind the knees or inside the folds of the elbows.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
A person suffering from Irritant Contact Dermatitis will probably develop the skin condition on their hands as it is caused by coming into direct contact with an irritant such as glue, cleaning products or other chemicals.
Information about Work-Related Dermatitis
Conditions within workplaces have been known to cause dermatitis or make a person’s condition worse who already suffers from dermatitis or eczema. For example, a person who comes into contact with dust, chemicals or enzymes at work without the proper protective clothing may go on to develop dermatitis or eczema on the exposed body parts such as the face and hands.
Some common causes of dermatitis include coolants, oils, dyes, plants and fungi as well as frequent contact with water. Some of the professions thought to be most at risk of contracting work-related dermatitis include kitchen workers, hospital staff, manufacturing or factory workers, hairdressers, cleaners, printers and engineers.
If an employee is working with hazardous substances at work, his employer should already be aware of the harm any substances with which he is working can cause you. As the first priority, the employer should evaluate whether an alternative substance could be used instead which is safer. If this is not a possibility, the employer should then arrange for you to have the minimal amount of contact with the substance by using, for example, splash guards or extractors.
As a final resort, the employer should provide you with protective clothing to wear, such as gloves or overalls which prevent the substance from coming into contact with the employees skin. Provided this protective clothing is made available to the employee, it is the responsibility as the employee to wear the clothing at all times and protect himself.
Farmer’s Lung is the common term used to describe the illness. However, the medical terms are extrinsic allergic alveolitis, hypersensitivity alveolitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It is a condition caused by breathing in dust and mould from crops such as straw, hay, corn or tobacco. Similar conditions exist for workers in other industries and these conditions are called Mushroom Worker’s Lung, Malt Worker’s Lung and Bird Fancier’s Lung.
Depending on the level of exposure to the dust containing mould and bacteria, the symptoms can vary greatly. If only a mild exposure occurs, the victim may suffer from shortness of breath, a persistent cough or a feeling of generally being unwell. If exposure is constant over a long period of time, the lungs may become permanently damaged and the condition could be fatal.
If Farmer’s Lung is diagnosed in the early stages and exposure is discontinued, you may fully recover and suffer no further symptoms. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if the victim thinks he may have developed Farmer’s Lung.
Burn and scald injuries are very common and fortunately most are minor and can be treated effectively at home without the need for hospital treatment. There are more serious types of burn injuries which are caused, for example, by the exposure to fire flames and hot objects like ovens, kettles, heaters, chip pans and saucepans. The most common form of burn injury is as a result of sipping of hot drinks and also burns caused can the radiation from the sun. Serious burn injuries can be quite complex. They can affect muscles, bones nerves and blood vessels.
As well as the physical damages caused by burns there are also the psychological and emotional problems to be taken into consideration.
Medical Negligence or “clinical negligence ” is where an injury or death was caused by the negligence of a medical professional. Doctors, nurses and dentists are expected to act professionally and ethically at all times. Sometimes however medical professionals, like anyone, make mistakes. They may make poor judgments because of being tired and overworked or in a situation where they are under-qualified.
(For more information, visit our section on Medical Negligence)
Having dental treatment can be a very unnerving experience. Dental negligence is where the victim has experienced problems with dental work carried out by his dentist. He may have had a crown fitted but fitted so poorly that he cannot bite his teeth together properly, thus making eating a problem. The dentist may have failed to recognise a serious dental disease, as a result of which the victim suffers persistent pain and permanent damage to his teeth.
Sight injuries can be very devastating. Injuries to the eyes and the sight can be caused by many different variables. It could be by an object being forced into the victim’s eye, or by chemicals that react badly to the eyes. With minor eye irritations the victim can treat the eye by cleaning the eye with water but the more serious injuries may require medical attention. Injuries to the eyes are one of the most common causes of blindness.
In an eye injury compensation claim damages will be for your pain and suffering but would also be for his loss of earnings. Damages are also recovered for emotional distress and mental distress if the victim must prove that the eye injury he incurred is responsible for his distress. The most devastating injuries where an injured person has total loss of sight.
Eye Injury Type
The way the structure of our face was designed is to protect our eyes from injury. Our eyeballs are set into a protective socket, known as the orbit. We are all given a protective barrier for our eyes in the form of eyelids, which close at a high speed to stop anything getting into our eyes.
Personal injuries to our eyes can range from incidents such as scratches, cuts to chemical burns. If the victim sustains a scratch / cut to his eye eye, he is in danger of damaging the conjunctive, the delicate lining of the outside of the eye or the iris, the coloured part of the eye and the lens, the clear part of the eye, which focuses light onto the retina.
Eye injuries can range from being a less series issue, such as getting soap in your eye to more major injuries such as the loss of sight to one or both eyes or worse the removal of an eye.
Chemical burns can cause damage to the structure of the eye, sometimes resulting in impairment of vision.
Wrongful death claims can be made by family members on behalf of their loved ones. If the death was the result of another’s negligent actions then the next-of-kin have a strong case for compensation. The results of suffering such loss can affect the whole family and the suffering can be enormous. If a spouse or family member died because of another party’s negligence then the next-of-kin are legally entitled to claim for compensation and the amount could be quite substantial depending on the circumstances. A surviving family member may be able to claim for “bereavement damages” or financial losses due to the loss of a loved one through a fatal accident.
Child Injury Claims
Many children have minor accidents and most are by their own misconduct. But on some occasions the injuries which a child receives are quite severe and are caused by the negligence of a third party, which means the child, may be entitled to some compensation. Some accidents can have a lasting psychological effect on the child’s wellbeing and also affect the child in the future. These issues will need to be addressed in order to get an understanding of the severity and long term needs of the child. Some child injury claims often involve road accident either as a pedestrian, passenger or cycling, accident through a defective product, school playground accidents from an uneven pavement, animal bites, sports injury, dangerous park equipment, school outings, poisoning, sexual molestation.
We are all exposed to natural radiation everyday from food, air and even naturally occurring elements found in our body. A more dangerous type of non-ionizing radiation exposure is due to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). We are all aware of the dangers of the exposure to the sun and if we are sensible we can protect ourselves from the dangers.
Ironizing radiation is a type of radiation that can affect people working in the nuclear industry or the medical field in laboratories where x-rays are a regular occurrence. Because the body is made up of organs that are made up of specialised cells, Ionizing radiation can potentially affect the normal operation of these cells. This can increase the risk of cancer and hereditary effects. Workers and especially pregnant women should seriously limit their exposure to radiation in their workplaces if they want to protect their unborn child.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Brachial Plexus injuries quite often occur due to a difficult delivery of a baby. Sometimes this could be due to the baby being born through breach or a prolonged labour. Sometimes the midwife or whoever is assisting in the birth may be obliged to force the baby out of the birth canal, which can cause brachial plexus. The symptoms are that the newborn baby may not be able to move one arm. This is a symptom of an injury to the brachial plexus which is a network of nerves which provide movement and sensation to the arm hand and fingers. Most babies born with this injury make a full recovery without any need for surgery. Some are left with more serious injury which affects them for the rest of their lives.
What causes brachial plexus?
The arm hand and finger nerves leave the spinal cord between the bones of the neck (vertebrae) and travel into the arm below the collarbone (clavicle). The nerves to the arm leave high in the neck, the nerves that go to the hand and fingers leave just above the check, below the neck. All these nerves branch together near where the neck joins the shoulder and this area is called the brachial plexus.
In adults the mechanism for a brachial plexus is similar. This can occur when an excessive force is placed on the brachial plexus area for an excessive amount of time. For instance a patient being left on their back during surgery with their arm left dangling off the table for a long period of time.
There are four major types of brachial plexus injuries. These are:
The first type, an avulsion means the nerve is torn from the spine. A rupture is where the nerve is torn from the spine but is still attached. A neuroma is where the nerve has tried to heal but scar tissue is putting pressure on the injured nerve praxis. Neuropraxia one of the mildest form of nerve injury and most common. It is found quite often in babies born and normally recover within 4-6 weeks.
Food Poisoning Claims
Contamination of food and drink, which often leads to food poisoning, is extremely hard to spot as the look, taste and smell of the food and drink may be unaffected. Food poisoning can affect individuals or a group of people, depending on how much of the contaminated food/drink each person has consumed. Food poisoning is common and, on extreme occasions, fatal. Bacteria are the major cause of food poisoning. In the right conditions; that is, warmth, food and moisture, bacteria can multiply at a fast rate. Campylobacter, E.Coli and salmonella are the main culprits to cause food poisoning.
The symptoms of food poisoning range from the very common, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramp to the exceedingly serious, damage to the nervous system, paralysis and even death. Other symptoms include fever, bloody stools, dehydration and weakness/exhaustion.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning. It is most often found in raw poultry, unpasteurised milk, red meat and untreated water. Salmonella is found in unpasteurised milk, eggs and raw egg products, raw meat and poultry. E. coli is usually harmless but particular strains such as E157 can cause severe illness, kidney failure or blood damage.
Food poisoning usually occurs if the person handling the food hasn’t washed their hands or if the bacteria weren’t eradicated, due to the food not being cooked properly.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.
PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.
People with PTSD may startle easily, become emotionally numb (especially in relation to people with whom they used to be close), lose interest in things they used to enjoy, have trouble feeling affectionate, be irritable, become more aggressive, or even become violent. They avoid situations that remind them of the original incident, and anniversaries of the incident are often very difficult.
Most people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they sleep. These are called flashbacks. Flashbacks may consist of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, and are often triggered by ordinary occurrences, such as a door slamming or a car backfiring on the street. A person having a flashback may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic incident is happening all over again.
Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but occasionally emerge years afterward. They must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.
In legal Claims issues arise on the proximity of the event to the person who has suffered PTSD. In particular, it is generally required that the person who suffered the PTSD would actually have witnessed an event where, for instance, another person was injured. Furthermore, it would generally be required that the victim would suffered from a recognized psychiatric illness.
*Because we undertake Accident and Injury Claims in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, under the Republic of Ireland Advertising Regulations we are obliged to advise that in contentious claims, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.