It is becoming recognized that involvement in the process of litigation can be stressful for some individuals, a phenomenon termed ‘litigation stress’. Researchers have identified various sources of stress: the stress resulting from the litigation process alone (e.g., court procedures, depositions); stress secondary to financial difficulties (eg, loss of income, legal fees), stress from a combination of the initial trauma (eg, road traffic accident) and litigation process, stress due to uncertainty in the claimant’s life (eg, the end of litigation, return to work) and the stress of being repeatedly interviewed as part of the litigation process.
Bearing the above in mind, it is important that people employ strategies to manage the stress that they are likely to suffer. They should be provided with or should themselves request as much clear and concise information about the litigation process and associated time scales as they can. Most individuals only bring one compensation claim and hence have no comparative data as how such claims processes work. In addition, they should attend to their basic needs, such as eating well, securing a good night’s sleep, taking time to relax etc. They should try to remain positive and not engage in defeatist thinking that in turn is likely to cause them further stress. Finally, they need to enlist the support of those around them; after all a trouble shared is a trouble halved. While these strategies won’t eradicate the stress, they are likely to dampen the actual level of stress experienced, at least to a degree to enable the claimant to continue to function during a particularly stressful time in their lives.