What is a secondary victim and how are they entitled to compensation?
A secondary victim is someone that witnesses an incident or accident but has not been directly involved themselves.
To pursue a secondary victim claim there must be recognised trauma /impact on someone’s mental health that can be diagnosed by a clinical psychiatrist. Sadly, the recognised disorders in secondary victims are often Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Agoraphobia and Panic Disorders, amongst others.
There are a number of grey areas surrounding secondary victim claims – therefore to successfully bring a claim, there needs to be:-
- A close relationship of love or family connection between the first and second victim.
- The second victim needs to have been in close proximity to the first victim in time and space when the incident/accident took place.
- The psychiatric injury to the second victim must not have been present before the incident and be caused as a result of witnessing a sudden or unexpected shock or seeing or hearing the incident or its immediate aftermath
In many cases, secondary victims tend to be parents, husbands, wives and/or siblings – each one with no idea they are entitled to compensation. In some cases their psychological injuries can be long-lasting and more catastrophic than the first victim’s injuries. Compensation can help them to receive the help and support that so often is lacking.
Vashti Prescott is an experienced personal injury lawyer at our Canary Wharf office and is passionate about supporting secondary victims to help them achieve the compensation they deserve in the aftermath of witnessing an accident involving a loved one.