The second type of claim that immediate family members of the deceased can and often do bring is a Personal Injury Claim arising from the shock of learning of and losing their loved in such unexpected and tragic circumstances.
These claims, often referred to as ‘nervous shock’ claims, are brought on the basis of the adverse psychological response a family member may have to the circumstances in which their loved one was killed.
In order to be entitled to bring a claim for compensation for nervous shock, a person needs to be diagnosed as having suffered a recognisable psychiatric illness in response to the shock of witnessing or learning of the death of their loved in the motor vehicle accident.
Often it is difficult to know whether a persons response to the death of loved one in these circumstances is a normal grief reaction, or whether it has or will manifest into something more severe and long term.
There is a six-month limitation period for lodging a claim form in respect of claims arising from a motor vehicle accident. however, the law does recognise that in the case of psychological injuries arising from the loss of a loved one, the symptoms and diagnosis may not be immediately apparent. This is particularly so when a person is in shock or denial of what has happened. We often find that it can taken many months for the reality of their loss to truly ‘hit’ our clients and start to have a destructive impact on their lives.
It is for this reason we keep a close eye on how our clients progress over the months following the accident and, in circumstances where a persons reaction to the loss of their loved one continues to have a impact upon their ability to engage in every day activities, to function within the context of their other relationships, to go to work and the like, we will recommend they see a professional for treatment (if not already) and that they obtain a diagnosis as to the extent of their reaction to their loss. In the event they are diagnosed as suffering a psychiatric condition, such as depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder and so on, we will assist them to lodge a Personal Injury Claim From with the insurer of the vehicle at fault.
If you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 251 800, or alternatively make and online enquiry.