To identify the experiences of patients pursuing a personal injury claim, we carried out a retrospective questionnaire survey.
Sixty-one patients from a regional traumatic stress clinic took part. Most were satisfied with the conduct of legal, medical and psychiatric personnel. Thirty-two (53%) reported that the legal proceedings had had an adverse effect on their health/well-being, and about a third reported an adverse effect on domestic relationships. Twenty-four patients (40%) were dissatisfied with the provision of information. More information about the whole legal process would have been welcomed by means of an information leaflet (n=57, 93%), a helpline (n=48, 79%), or a videotape (n=42, 68%).
Although seeking redress may contribute to the patient's adjustment, this survey demonstrates that it is not a step to be taken without consideration. As part of their therapeutic management, mental health professionals should consider the implications of such a step with their patients.
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