Personal Injury Lawsuits, Mental Health and COVID-19

Personal Injury Lawsuits, Mental Health and COVID

Are you struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic? You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.  

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s another silent pandemic gripping the lives of millions; mental health. The stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, isolation, and social and physical distancing implemented in Ontario, Quebec, and other parts of the world severely impact mental health. Now, more than ever, it’s important to address the importance of mental health in every context. When most people think about personal injury lawsuits, they may assume that it strictly involves physical injuries. However, personal injury lawsuits can include mental anguish and emotional distress, but what if it’s due to COVID-19?

How does emotional distress pertain to personal injury lawsuits? 

When someone is claiming emotional distress – also known as a psychological injury – it is typically a result of a personal injury. A personal injury lawsuit is necessary when damages are the fault of another party’s negligence. Suppose you’re in a car accident where the other driver was under the influence, and their impairment caused the crash. The plaintiff might claim emotional distress or pain and suffering if they developed mental health issues from the injuries they sustained in the accident. They may still claim emotional distress without the presence of a physical injury if they can prove that their suffering is debilitating.

COVID-19, mental health, and personal injury lawsuits

In the context of COVID-19, there are few situations where a personal injury lawsuit citing emotional distress could arise; but it’s not impossible. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that contracting COVID-19 can have long-term and debilitating mental health effects, including stroke, delirium, and agitation. Furthermore, those with existing neurological disorders and a history of substance abuse may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus. 

In order to file a personal injury lawsuit citing mental health issues pertaining to COVID-19, there would need to be evidence that the victim contracted the virus and suffered a psychological injury as a result of negligence from another party. An example of this could be if someone intentionally infected another person or if an employer’s negligence resulted in an employee contracting the virus. Such instances would be significantly challenging to prove, and there are still many grey areas when it comes to COVID-19 and the law. Consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer to look at a case of this calibre would be essential. 

Your mental health is a priority.

Taking care of your mental and physical health during the pandemic is a priority. It is not uncommon to experience anxiety and fear due to the virus. However, if you notice that your mental health is worsening or becoming debilitating, it’s crucial to take action.

Signs of worsening mental health include:

  • Unusual or dramatic mood changes
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Loss of interest in activities or things that you usually enjoy
  • Decreased ability to function or complete day-to-day tasks
  • Social withdrawal or feeling disconnected
  • Uncharacteristic behaviour
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Do not feel ashamed or guilty for asking for help; you’re not alone. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest hospital. 

The federal and provincial governments have free resources available to anyone who needs it.