What if My Psychiatric Accident Happened a Long Time Ago?

At Henry Carus & Associates we are creating a series of presentations to help explain ideas within the law – especially personal injury law – which may be very difficult for the average person to understand. To begin this informational series, we will start with an example of a recent jury verdict and judgment that our firm was very happy to achieve for one of our clients. The subject is “what if my accident occurred a really long time ago?”

Time Is Your Friend

We have countless discussions with our clients about the process of litigation and the process of trying to achieve a great result for them when they’ve been injured. During these conversations, we constantly remind them that “time is their friend.” Many times, it’s difficult for our clients to understand this because they think that if they can rush through the process and get their settlement, the entire process will be over. They often believe that their suffering will come to end, and everything will be normal again. This is rarely the case. The truth is that the litigation process and the claims process stop, but their injury and the consequences that come along with it, remain.

Over the course of his 33 year career, Henry Carus has had a chance to watch what happens to injured persons over time. In his experience, time is a great aid in allowing to see the full consequences of an injury and how much it changes the quality of a person’s life. If you rush through your case and get it resolved really fast, you’re not giving a chance for time to have its impact.

Personal Injury and Psychiatric Disorders

To bring this into perspective, let’s talk about what happened this past week. One of our clients received a judgment that we obtained after trial. It entailed 8 days in a WorkCover jurisdiction where our client came to us 13 years after her work incident. She was in a store and was the victim of an armed robbery. The traumatic incident left her with ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder. The woman tried to manage it as best she could. She moved on with her life and got another job someplace else. She tried as much as possible to leave the event behind but the post-traumatic stress was too much, and the effects lingered. Eventually, it led to a total collapse of ability to deal with her world.

In her case, we asked WorkCover for a serious injury certificate for her and it was rewarded. We asked for compensation and they refused. We chose to take the matter to court and litigated it in front of a jury. As a result, the jury had a chance to see the terrible consequences that this woman has had to deal with 17 years after her traumatic event. This was a very unique scenario. Usually, we don’t get the chance to present a distressed person this late after their accident.

Compensation for a Psychiatric Injury

If your incident occurred in a work environment or dealing with the TAC in a motor vehicle environment, you generally have six years from the date of your injury. Unless you are a minor, and then we can discuss that differently. Assuming you are an adult, you have six years. Is the law that strict? No. The law always will look at your circumstances and if there is a reason, it will give you extra time to bring proceedings and seek compensation.

In this woman’s case, we thought a reasonable amount to ask the jury for was 200 thousand dollars. The jury decided that this amount was in fact, not enough. The quality of this woman’s life had been so devastated, the jury awarded her 550 thousand dollars. This is incredibly more than anyone else has received in Victoria for a psychiatric injury of this nature.

The statutory maximum that you are able to receive in a WorkCover matter of this type is $598,360. Her reward was pretty close to being the maximum. We believe this result will change the way people with psychiatric injuries will be treated and change the way that compensation is awarded. We are not aware of anyone else who has received this amount of compensation for a psychiatric injury in Victoria.

At Henry Carus & Associates, we hope that news of this event spreads far and wide. We hope that everyone who has a psychiatric injury, or family members who have to deal with someone with a psychiatric injury arising from a work event, will feel support that juries will come to their aid when they seek compensation.

Contact Henry Carus & Associates for Legal Advice

We hear of other firms in town that speed matters along. We also hear of insurance companies that are happy to resolve matters quickly. We are not confident that speed is always to the best benefit of an injured person. Time can be your friend, time can let things develop. If you have patience in your case, incredible outcomes may come about. If you are in a situation where your accident happened many years ago and you think you’re out of time, rethink it. Come see us at Henry Carus & Associates. Let us have a chance to look at your case and determine whether or not we believe compensation is available for you. Contact us today.