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Maslow’s Hierarchy Applied to the Injured Plaintiff Emotional Recovery

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

An injured plaintiff’s progress can be more fully understood when a multi-level level model of human needs is applied to the emotional recovery process.

Learn how our human needs from basic physical needs to the importance of meaning relate to the process that injured plaintiffs undergo following a life-altering injury.

Basic Needs to Higher Order Needs

Injured Plaintiff Emotional Needs

Welcome to the NextPhase Community! Today will be a brief description of how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a model for understanding the injured plaintiff’s journey following a life-changing injury. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory that describes human motivation and the order in which individuals seek to fulfill their needs. It is typically represented as a pyramid with five levels, where each level represents a different set of needs. Let's apply this hierarchy to the psychology of being an injured plaintiff involved in an extended civil litigation seeking justice for their injuries and how Maslow’s Hierarchy applies to their unique journey through life before, during and after settlement of their case. The newly forming offers guidance and paths to a better experience for injured plaintiffs throughout their personal journeys.

Basic Needs and Emotional Recovery as an Injured Plaintiff

Physiological Needs: At the base of the pyramid are the physiological needs, which are the most fundamental requirements for survival. As an injured plaintiff, these needs are essential for one's well-being throughout the legal process. They include access to basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, and healthcare. [When someone becomes injured, it likely affects one’s employment. As such, economic pressures can begin immediately after injury. This is complicated by unanticipated medical bills as a consequence of this injury. Difficulties purchasing the basic needs of groceries and housing compound the stress from the injury. At this point in the process, a plaintiff can be (understandably) completely consumed by waves of fear based on their inability to meet basic needs for self and, possibly, family. In addition to being injured, the pursuit of justice can also affect an injured plaintiff's ability to maintain basic needs which creates further stress. For example, taking time to meet with their attorney, or other professionals for evaluations, and the time and effort needed to manage the health consequences of the injury all contribute to the plaintiff burden. NextPhase can help during this time by offering guidance related to meeting financial obligations, avoiding predatory lending/offers, and providing emotional support, and stress management skills.

The importance of Safety and Security for Injured Plaintiffs

Safety and Security Needs: Once the physiological needs are reasonably satisfied, the focus shifts to safety and security needs. As an injured plaintiff, individuals (and their families) seek safety, security and stability throughout the legal process. This can encompass emotional security (being able to discuss the personal aspects of the painful event) and stress management (learning ways to cope with the uncertainty inherent in the lawsuit process, lack of communication, being challenged about the extent of your injuries). Lawsuits and legal battles can be emotionally draining and often highly stressful. The plaintiff may need support and reassurance during this time. NextPhase gives plaintiffs the education, support, and encouragement all aimed at helping plaintiffs to establish a sense of safety and security early on in the process. provides short and long-term financial guidance, ways to cope emotionally through the many stages of grief, topic focused education, and community support from peers, professionals and mentors.

Social connections and the stress of Injured Plaintiffs

Love and Belongingness Needs: During a lengthy legal battle, the plaintiff may also seek acceptance and a sense of belongingness from their social circle, family, or community. The emotional burden of litigation can be challenging, and having a supportive network can significantly enhance the plaintiff's well-being. The NextPhase Community was specifically designed to be a safe community where plaintiffs can establish the social connectedness needed for this journey. Connecting with mentors, having contact with others who are navigating the ups and downs of a lawsuit, and connecting with a team of professionals can play a critical role in helping plaintiffs endure, and ideally, strengthen their case.

Individual emotional needs related to Injured Plaintiffs

Esteem Needs: Esteem needs refer to the desire for recognition, respect, and self-worth. In the context of being an injured plaintiff, individuals may seek validation for their claims and efforts to seek justice. Winning a legal case or even being heard and acknowledged can fulfill these esteem needs. Conversely, a lack of acknowledgment or perceived failure in the legal process can lead to frustration and disappointment. Everybody can have a voice inside the NextPhase Community. Open discussions with peers, professionals and mentors provides the opportunity for social connections, validation, and camaraderie on a regular basis before, during and after the case is litigated.

Positive Feelings about Yourself

Optimal recovery for Injured Plaintiffs

Self-Actualization Needs: Self-actualization is the pinnacle of Maslow's Hierarchy, representing the fulfillment of an individual's highest potential and personal growth. For a plaintiff, self-actualization may come after settlement. After achieving a sense of closure, and possibly vindication, a plaintiff’s attention can turn towards making a positive impact on society. So often a plaintiff has the desire to help others who have experienced a similar life changing event such as a catastrophic injury. NextPhase helps by connecting those injured plaintiffs currently involved in litigation with those who have “lived to tell” their stories and are eager to help others on their individual journeys. We refer to this generous and giving group as NextPhase Mentors. Community engagement also serves as inspiration for those who are just beginning their personal journey as an injured plaintiff. Eventually, those who started with NextPhase as newly injured plaintiffs may realize that after their case is concluded, they may become a NextPhase Mentor to help satisfy ongoing self-actualization needs helping those who are still on their journey as recently injured plaintiffs. This is truly a path for post-traumatic growth for members at all stages of their personal journeys before, during and after settlement

It's important to note that not all plaintiffs will progress through Maslow's Hierarchy in a linear fashion, as individual experiences and circumstances vary. Some plaintiffs may face obstacles at different levels and may have to shift their focus between needs depending on the stage of the legal process or the outcomes they encounter. Moreover, the emotional impact of being an injured plaintiff can be significant, and individuals may require various forms of social support and coping strategies to navigate the challenges they encounter along the way.

The name NextPhase was specifically used to refer to the needs and challenges throughout each of the phases from injury to post-settlement. Through peer and mentor support, specific content education, and access to professionals in the field, NP helps IPs navigate the complicated, stressful process of recovering from an injury, pursuing justice, and living a more satisfying life post-settlement. Accompanying you throughout every phase, we provide strength for the journey.

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