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Can You Sue for Emotional Distress from a Car Accident?

As you know, you can sue the at-fault driver in a car accident for your physical injuries and lost wages. But what about emotional distress?

Because emotional distress is a more abstract concept, it takes additional evidence to prove its existence. The biggest hurdle in these cases is documenting how the incident led to emotional distress.

This article will further define emotional distress and discuss how to prove it in a personal injury claim.

What is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress falls under the category of “pain and suffering” in a personal injury claim. This type of injury is sometimes referred to as mental anguish. There are several definitions of emotional distress or mental anguish, but a common way to describe it is “severe mental or emotional suffering that results from another person’s conduct.”

In Connecticut, bystanders may also recover in an emotional distress claim. For bystander recovery to occur, there are several rules in place, including:

1. The bystander must have witnessed the accident or arrived at the scene before a significant change in the victim’s condition or location.

2. The bystander must have been a close relative of the victim.

3. The victim sustains a serious physical injury (including death).

4. The bystander suffers emotional distress from witnessing the accident.

How to Prove that You’ve Experienced Emotional Distress

Because emotional distress is mental in nature, it can be challenging to prove in court. Though Connecticut doesn’t require a victim to show that their emotional distress has resulted in physical symptoms, this evidence can help solidify a case.

The following factors can prove emotional distress:

–   Documentation: A doctor or psychologist can evaluate you and write a note about your condition that supports your claim. Further, a prescription for a sleeping pill because of PTSD or digestive problems from stress can offer additional support.

–   Longevity of the distress: If the emotional distress doesn’t fade over time, it may be proven that it is severe and eligible for compensation.

–   Causation: When physical events can be linked to your emotional distress, that can help the case. For example, it is more difficult to prove that a minor fender bender resulted in emotional distress (though it is possible) than it is to prove that a multi-car collision with severe injuries caused severe emotional trauma.

Types of Emotional Distress

There’s no one-size-fits-all diagnosis for emotional distress. The condition can manifest itself in various ways, including, but not limited to:

–   Depression or feelings of hopelessness/helplessness

–   Suicidal thoughts

–   Fear and anxiety

–   Stress

–   PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

–   Panic attacks

–   Loss of enjoyment in activities, family, work, etc.

–   Confusion, disorientation, or difficulty concentrating

–   Loss of confidence

–   Difficulty adjusting

–   Feelings of humiliation

–   Desire to isolate oneself

–   Difficulty sleeping

We Are Here to Help

At Jonathan Perkins Law, we are compassionate and sympathetic to emotional distress claims. Long after the body heals, the mental anguish from the incident can remain. We firmly believe that the party responsible for your pain, both physical and emotional, should be held accountable.

We encourage you to call us at 800-PERKINS for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and outline your options. There is no fee for a consultation, and you don’t pay our firm until we successfully recover money for you.