If you recently came very close to having an accident, without actually sustaining any physical injuries, you may want to know if there is any such thing as a near miss claim. It stands to reason that if you are not actually physically hurt, you cannot make a claim for personal injury compensation. However, it may be possible to make a near miss claim if you have sustained some kind of psychological or emotional trauma from almost being in an accident, or witnessing one. Let’s take a look at situations in which this may apply, and what you can do about it.
Suffering psychological trauma
Not all injuries sustained in accidents are physical. If you witnessed an accident in which somebody else got seriously hurt, or you thought that you were about to receive life-threatening injuries, this could certainly result in some kind of psychological trauma. For example, if you were uninjured in a serious car accident, but other people in the vehicle were seriously injured or even killed, you may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
This will no doubt have an effect on your life, and because it is possible to claim for psychological injuries, this could be termed a near miss claim. Even if you weren’t involved in an accident yourself, you may still have witnessed somebody else being seriously injured or killed. Take for example accidents that happen in factories where there is a lot of dangerous machinery. It is not unheard of for people to lose fingers or entire limbs in factory accidents, and where very large machines are used, it is also possible for people to suffer serious crush injuries if they become entangled in a machine.
This would no doubt be an extremely upsetting and traumatic experience for a witness, and may leave them too scared to go back to work and live a normal life. If the original accident was caused by the negligence of the people running the factory, it could be argued that witnesses who were seriously affected could also be compensated as well as the injured party themselves.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition some people suffer from after experiencing a frightening or overwhelming experience beyond their control. This may happen as the result of a car accident, a serious accident at work, or perhaps some kind of assault. People who work in the emergency services often suffer from PTSD as they have to deal with scenes of injury and death on a more regular basis. For some people, this condition can last for months or even years and symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Avoidance of facing the issue
- Being anxious and ‘on guard’
- Muscle aches and pains
- Irregular heartbeat
- Feelings of panic and fear
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Using drugs (including painkillers)
Needless to say, such symptoms could have a profound effect on a person’s life, and could form the basis of a near miss claim.
Self-care after a near miss
If you are suffering from psychological trauma after experiencing a near miss or witnessing somebody else being hurt, it is important to look after yourself. You should remind yourself that your responses are normal, and that you are feeling this way because you have been through a stressful situation. It is okay to take as long as you need to get over what has happened and getting plenty of rest is important too.
It is also vital to talk to people about what happened, including psychiatric professions such as therapists or counsellors if necessary. Just talking to your friends should help, and if you do not have anyone close enough to you to talk to, you could call the Samaritans or a charity specialising in psychological trauma. You should not shut yourself away, as this can make things worse, and spending time with other people may help you, even if you do not really feel like it. You should not make any big decisions while you are recovering, and if you’re thinking about making a near miss claim, remember that you have three years to do so from the date of the accident.
How to begin a near miss claim
Once you feel sufficiently well to investigate making a claim for compensation, you can easily call Accident Advice Helpline on one of the telephone numbers given below. The normal criteria for making a claim are that the accident was not your fault, it happened in the last three years, and you received some kind of medical treatment. In the case of a near miss claim, the treatment you have received may be psychiatric treatment such as counselling, and if you have had to take antidepressants prescribed by a doctor, this is also something you should mention.
At Accident Advice Helpline we understand that you have been through a traumatic experience and our team of advisors will be very patient when taking details of what happened to you. There is no pressure to make a claim when you call us, so you can simply find out if there is a case for compensation to be made.
Calling Accident Advice Helpline
If you have had to take time off work because of your near miss, you may have suffered financially because of this. We will be able to investigate how much you have suffered financially from what happened, and put together the right compensation claim for you. We do not charge any upfront fees for starting a case, meaning you will not be out of pocket.
Our highly-trained advisors are available on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) when you want to discuss your circumstances. Our team is used to discussing things like road traffic accidents, accidents at work and other traumatic events; you can tell us how the accident has affected you, and why you want to make a near miss claim. Don’t delay, give us a ring today.
Date Published: 28th February 2013
Author: Louise Thacker