In previous articles, HKA associates have looked at how litigation stress can affect recovery following a traumatic or stressful index accident (Koch and Elson 2008, 2009). Developing these themes further, several issues emerged in one particular case in which a claimant noted that ‘the litigation process felt worse that the actual accident’:
- Variability of witness statements.
- Lack of clarity by police in processing accident information.
- Length of time of various aspects of litigation process.
- Lack of continuity within legal firm including change of solicitors mid-case.
- Lack of timely reimbursement once agreed leading to hardship.
- Effect of litigation on claimant’s spouse.
- Stress dealing with administration, letters and medical interviews.
The claimant felt that her trauma was not only caused by the accident itself but by all the various legal procedure’s which were ongoing.
To some extent, litigation stress is an inevitable part of a claimant’s experience. However, apart from attempting to reduce this stress wherever possible by efficient case handling by Police, and Legal and Medical professionals, it is also useful to consider how claimant’s perception of litigation can be handled and managed both at the outset and during the long process to ensure adequate provision of information to encourage appropriate expectation.