Dealing with Stress During a Serious Injury Claim

7 Min Read

A man looking through a blind out of the window

Big life events can lead to stress – it’s something many of us know. When you or someone you love has experienced medical negligence or a serious injury, it’s natural to feel your worries are heightened. Here, we outline some ways of dealing with stress and set out what we do to support you through the claims process.

What is stress?

Stress is a normal reaction to changes or challenges known as stressors. Stress can be positive – if the pressure of a big task helps your body to stay alert and productive, for instance – but it can also feel negative. This may be especially true when stress becomes long-term, or if it feels like there’s little relief.

Stress can be associated with certain physical and emotional symptoms, including:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sleeping problems
  • Tension in muscles or the jaw
  • Digestive problems

How can major life changes cause stress?

Feelings of stress can be triggered by experiencing something new or unexpected, especially if this threatens our fundamental sense of self, according to Mental Health Foundation. This may be especially true if it feels like we have little control over a situation.

Major life changes – known as life event stressors – can fit all the above criteria. Researchers have linked stressful life events to health problems such as depression, cardiovascular (heart) disease and even infectious diseases.

Things like moving house or job loss can count as life event stressors, so severe circumstances such as facing a life-changing injury, the death of a loved one or trauma due to medical negligence can have a big impact.

If you’ve been through something significant and unexpected, it’s natural that you might feel overwhelmed. Having the right support, as well as a plan for ways to make your life more manageable, could help you to deal with feelings of stress in the long-term.

How we support you to make the process less stressful

When you’ve experienced something serious, the right support can make all the difference. You might seek out support for feelings of stress through your GP or another health professional, but practical help could also make a difference.

If you decide to pursue a claim for medical negligence or a serious injury, working with a specialist law firm means speaking to professionals who deal with situations like yours every day. They might be able to help you on the path towards something as close as possible to your life before the event by trying to win compensation.

We’ve helped a lot of clients with their medical negligence claims, so we understand how difficult the process can be. We’ve found a few things that help limit the stress our clients experience.

Our strategies for limiting stress during this difficult time include:

  1. Providing clear communication – we’ll keep you informed every step of the way, from the first time you contact us to the day any compensation award is announced.
  2. Responding quickly – waiting for answers can add to your stresses, so our 100-strong team makes a point to make our service approachable, informed and as swift as possible.
  3. Setting out expectations – we’ll give you an honest view of what we expect to achieve and how likely success is.
  4. Keeping you updated – if something about your claim changes, we’ll work to keep you in the know.
  5. Signposting – we can help direct you to non-legal information and assistance where needed.

Ways of dealing with stress during your claim

As you navigate making a claim for a traumatic injury or the death of a loved one, stresses can build up. Knowing the common ways of dealing with stress might help you to manage these feelings as you work towards getting the result you wish for.

The NHS lists some tips and strategies for dealing with stress, including:

  • Taking control where possible
  • Connecting with people
  • Keeping time for you
  • Challenging yourself
  • Avoiding unhealthy habits
  • Helping others[1]

What this means will be different for each person and situation. Taking control might mean making steps towards seeking damages – though you can’t reverse what happened, you may be able to manage your situation better with some funds behind you.

Outside of making a claim, social support can impact how resilient we are in times of stress.[2] Looking to the future might also help you to deal with what’s happening here and now – if you have goals to regain some independence or help to change hospital procedures, you might find it helps to focus on this.

You might also try small, everyday steps to reduce stress, such as:

  1. Trying to stay positive – you might look for things you are grateful for and write down three every day.
  2. Being active – perhaps by taking a walk or some chair exercises.
  3. Having some time to yourself – whether you are the patient or carer, everyone needs some me-time.
  4. Making connections – as well as time to yourself it is important to also make time to reach out and connect with others, whether this is asking for help, giving help or just catching up.
  5. Avoid unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol, too much caffeine or smoking.

Dealing with stress during the claims process: Key questions

What are five emotional signs of stress?

Emotional signs of stress can include:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Racing thoughts or worry.[3]

These feelings are not specific to stress, however, and physical signs can often be present too. Speaking to your doctor could help to rule out other conditions or get professional help for dealing with stress. 

What is medical trauma and where can I get help with this?

Medical trauma is a pattern of responses to frightening or painful treatment experiences.[4] A wide range of medical treatments can lead to trauma, whether the clinician’s conduct was negligent or not. Trauma can sometimes present similarly to stress – signs include hypervigilance and negative emotions.[5]

The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends asking your GP for help if symptoms after a traumatic event are very bad and don’t seem to be getting better after one month, or if milder symptoms have been ongoing for three months or more.[6]

What if I find it too stressful to talk about what happened to me?

After going through something traumatic, including medical negligence or loss, we understand the thought of sharing the details may feel overwhelming.

When you contact our medical negligence solicitors, they won’t ask you to repeat all the details initially. The information we gather will help us to advise on the likelihood of claim success and to provide evidence for the case.

You might be asked to meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist, who will help to assess the impact events have had on you. If you think you may find it stressful to discuss this several times, we may be able to limit this by helping you to prepare your written statement beforehand.

Read more with our FAQ: Will I have to talk about what happened to me?