After a car accident, a person can be left with serious physical and mental injuries. These injuries often trickle into day-to-day life and impact how a person functions and their quality of life. It is possible for people involved in accidents to walk away without physical injury, but many will be left with mental ailments, such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can be compensated.
What type of claim does emotional distress fall under?
Emotional distress falls into the category of “pain and suffering” damage in an insurance case. After an accident, parties involved in the crash can make legal cases and sue for monetary damages, including medical bills, lost wages, medications, and vehicle damages. They can also sue for non-monetary damages, i.e. pain and suffering.
The legal definition for emotional distress is “a highly unpleasant emotional reaction resulting from another’s conduct, for which damages may be sought.” These damages can range from being fearful of getting behind the wheel due to an accident to developing depression and anxiety, each of which may inhibit you from earning a living to support yourself and/or your family.
After a traumatic accident, consulting a doctor and getting medical help for your symptoms is critical for your health and your case.
Intentional vs. negligent emotional distress
It is the job of your attorney to determine if the emotional distress after an accident was caused intentionally or occurred due to the negligence of the other driver. Anything that can be categorized as “extreme”, “outrageous” and “intolerable by society”, will be considered intentional. For example, if a person hits you intentionally due to road rage, that is considered intentional emotional distress.
Negligent emotional distress occurs when a driver does not follow the laws of the road and the incident ends in an accident. These situations can include texting and driving, running a red light, or falling asleep at the wheel.
How much will emotional distress cases impact your compensation amount?
Emotional distress charges can add a large amount of money to your compensation package. Courts have different methods for calculating how much compensation you will earn after an incident.
The most common method courts use for reasonable emotional distress compensation is by adding up the past, present, and future damages and then multiplying that number anywhere between 1.5 to 5 times, depending on the severity of the case. The other, lesser-used method takes all the costs you have accrued, medical bills, therapy appointments, and lost income and multiplies them by how many days you are predicted to be impaired.
Proving emotional distress
As with any legal insurance claim, having solid proof is a pillar to earning compensation for your accident. Strong emotional distress cases will have at least one of these elements:
- Physical effects, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, headaches, etc.
- Psychological effects, PTSD, depression, and anxiety
- Intense distress that impacts your day-to-day life, school, work, family, etc.
- A mental health professional diagnosis or change to prescriptions
- Long duration of symptoms lasting months or years
In conclusion, if you have been in an accident and now suffer from emotional distress, you can get compensated. At Larson and Gallivan PLC, we are here to help you develop your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
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