When traumatic events like motor vehicle accidents happen, people can become injured. The most common injury is physical injuries. However, another injury which is less well known is a psychological injury. This can include many symptoms, such as nightmares, depression, and significant personality changes. Psychological injuries can occur with a physical injury, or sometimes, and more rarely, in the absence of any physical injury.
One of the problems with proving a psychological injury is that they are often misunderstood, and it can be difficult to get a medical diagnosis as to what the psychological injury is.
Traditionally, Canadian law has followed the laws of England and Australia, and required that a medical diagnosis of a psychological injury is required before a person can be compensated for one. This has led to many people not being compensated for psychological injuries because there was no known medical diagnosis of what the psychological injury they had was called.
On January 16 2017 I appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa to argue that this traditional way of looking at psychological injuries was wrong. In particular, I argued that a person should be able to be compensated for a psychological injury notwithstanding the fact that there was no medical diagnosis for it. Opposing me were lawyers representing insurance companies from across the country.
The Supreme Court of Canada has reserved judgment, meaning that we will need to wait to find out their conclusion. My hope is that they accept my argument and will rule that psychological injuries are compensable even if there is no medical diagnosis for the injury. To me this would be the fair and just result, as it would ensure fair compensation for those who have been psychologically injured in accidents.