According to UK law, any person who has been the primary victim (the person directly affected by an event) of a fire accident can claim compensation not only for the physical injuries that he or she has sustained during that unfortunate event, but also for the associated psychological complications. In certain circumstances, the secondary victims (those who have witnessed the suffering or death of the people involved in an event) can also file a compensation claim against the individuals responsible for that fire accident. In addition, you can claim compensation for psychological and emotional harm if you are a close relative of a person injured in a fire accident. Thus, regardless of whether you are a primary or a secondary victim, you should stop wondering, ‘Can I get counselling for a fire accident?’ and approach Accident Advice Helpline to find out more about your legal rights.
Are you eligible for compensation?
To include counselling in your claim, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as:
- Your psychological trauma should have been ‘reasonably foreseeable’ (this means that anyone who goes through a disastrous experience could develop a similar psychiatric condition).
- You have not caused the fire or contributed to that event in any way (if you are found partially responsible for what has happened, your claim may be rejected, or you may receive a smaller compensation award).
- As a secondary victim, you were a close relative of a primary victim (parent/child) who sustained severe injuries or died in that fire accident.
- As a secondary victim, you have suffered a shock after perceiving the death of a primary victim as a possible consequence of that event.
These criteria are deliberately restrictive in order to prevent claims from people unconnected to specific events or to the injured or deceased victims. Besides primary victims and eye witnesses, the people who can claim compensation for psychological harm, even if they did not suffer any physical injury, are fire fighters, police officers, and other rescuers required to attend the scene of the fire accident.
Making a claim for counselling as a secondary victim
If you are a secondary victim wondering, ‘Can I get counselling for a fire accident?’ you need to be aware of the fact that making a successful claim can be very difficult, as establishing the onset of a psychiatric condition associated with witnessing a traumatic event, in the absence of a physical injury, is a huge hurdle to pass. Many compensation claims have failed because claimants were not able to prove that their psychological trauma started in the ‘immediate aftermath’ of the accident.
Bringing a claim for psychological shock as a secondary victim involves overcoming a series of obstacles. Luckily, Accident Advice Helpline is ready to guide you in the case law and assist you in making a successful claim. Considering that a three-year limitation from the date of the injury applies to all personal injury compensation claims involving adult claimants, including secondary victims, you should contact our team of personal injury legal professionals by calling 0800 689 0500 as soon as possible.
Date Published: February 15, 2014
Author: David Brown