After suffering serious injuries in a car accident, it may be difficult to get back into a car. Driving after a car accident is a frightening experience and could involve diagnosable mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, or serious emotional distress because of the accident. Pain and suffering damages are often one of the largest parts of a car accident lawsuit and may be able to cover some kinds of anxiety and emotional suffering after a serious injury. Prosper Shaked discusses how to sue for these effects after a serious car accident.
What Damages are Covered in a Car Accident?
After a car or truck accident, you may be able to sue for damages. When you take your case to court, you can claim any economic damages that you suffered, as well as some “non-economic damages.”
Economic damages cover financial harms you faced because of the accident. If you were unable to go back to work during your recovery, you may have missed paychecks. These lost wages are common economic damages. If you underwent emergency medical care or face ongoing medical bills, these costs are all economic damages. You can use evidence of these expenses, including bills, paychecks, bank statements, and more as evidence of these damages.
There are additional damages that are more difficult to place a price tag on, but you may still be able to recover damages for these harms after a car crash. These intangible damages are often grouped under the title of “non-economic damages.” The most common non-economic damages are for “pain and suffering.” This commonly includes money to compensate your physical pain and mental suffering, which can include emotional distress. In addition to these damages, you can seek other non-economic damages for loss of consortium if your spouse was injured, and for lost companionship and other harms as part of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Suing for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in FL
Damages for emotional distress are often claimed in a few different ways. First, people may sue solely for the emotional harm they suffered. If you were the victim of outrageous circumstances, you may be able to sue for the emotional trauma you suffered as the core of your case. However, these cases are often difficult to prove without some physical harm.
More commonly, people sue for emotional distress as one of the many damages they suffered. In a car accident involving injury, damages for emotional trauma can be claimed alongside the physical injuries. In some cases, the physical injuries might be slight, but the emotional trauma could still be claimed as some of the highest damages in the case.
Florida follows a rule known as the “impact” rule. This requires you to prove physical contact before you can claim emotional distress. Even slight contact can be enough to satisfy this requirement. This means most injuries sustained in a car crash, like whiplash injuries or back injuries, would be enough to justify emotional trauma damages in a car crash case if you sue for a combination of physical and mental/emotional damages.
Do You Need a Diagnosis to Claim Emotional Trauma After a Car Crash?
Some states require you to have a psychologist or psychiatrist diagnose you with a concrete mental illness or disorder before you can recover damages for these conditions. In Florida, there is no diagnosis requirement. The fact that you suffered emotional distress because of the injuries you received in the accident is sufficient to justify emotional distress damages. However, having a diagnosis or undergoing treatment can help you prove your anxiety or PTSD damages.
Proving emotional trauma can be difficult since there are not always obvious physical signs of mental and emotional trauma. Undergoing treatment by a psychologist or psychiatrist can help create a record of your trauma and symptoms, which can make proving your case easier. Especially if your psychiatrist or psychologist is willing to testify in court on your behalf, this evidence can be extremely helpful.
Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident with No Damage?
Many “near-miss” accidents can be frightening, but they do not often lead to lawsuits. If you were forced off the road by another car, but you suffered no vehicle damage or injuries, you usually cannot sue for the emotional distress this might cause you. This is part of Florida’s “impact” rule, which bars lawsuits without physical injuries. However, if the accident does involve even minor injuries, you can include damages for emotional distress in your claim.
There are exceptions to this rule, especially if the other driver intentionally tried to cause you distress. Talk to Prosper Shaked about your case today.
Miami Car Accident Lawyer Offering Free Legal Consultations
If you are suffering from emotional distress or anxiety after a car crash, talk to an attorney about your case today. You may be able to file a lawsuit and seek damages for the emotional distress, PTSD, or other mental trauma you face after a car accident, even if the injuries you suffered were mild. To schedule a free consultation on your case, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676.