Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Claim

Filing an Emotional Distress Claim in a Lawsuit

Many people involved in a serious accident don’t show signs of emotional distress immediately. Physical injuries are easier to spot, but the mental and emotional damage an accident can cause is not. In some cases, emotional distress can cause immense pain and last longer than physical trauma, becoming a life-long problem. 

If you are suffering from emotional distress after witnessing an accident in California, you may also have the right to file a personal injury claim. Let’s explore the infliction of mental anguish after a car accident and the damages you may be able to recover. 

How Do You Define Emotional Distress?

Legally, emotional distress encompasses the psychological after-effects of a car or other accident. While the nature of emotional distress differs from one person to another, collectively, it represents psychological injuries such as:

  • Anxiety: This is a sense of uneasiness the person did not have before the accident. Some describe it as a feeling of foreboding or a sense that something bad will happen. It can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, increased respiration, and muscle pain. Professional help is often needed to deal with anxiety because it can hamper an individual’s ability to enjoy life.
  • Fear: This ranges from an undefined feeling of fearfulness to being afraid that the accident may happen again. Specifically, a person who is in a car accident may be afraid to drive or be a passenger in a vehicle for fear of an accident happening. This type of fear can be all-consuming and drastically change a person’s life. 
  • Depression: The individual suffering from emotional distress may be unable to see the positive aspects of their life and dwell on the negative repeatedly in multiple ways. Medical and psychological help may be needed to move past this.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: Similar to other traumatized individuals, an emotionally distressed person may develop post-traumatic stress syndrome. Generally, this is triggered by being in or witnessing a traumatic event. It is often accompanied by flashbacks, significant anxiety, and nightmares.
  • Guilt/grief: This is a sense of guilt that is frequently seen after a serious accident. It is difficult for some to believe the accident was not their fault and that nothing they could have done would have changed the course of events. This sense of grief and guilt can persist for weeks, months and even years after the incident.

Recovering Damages for Emotional Distress

In California, anyone suffering severe emotional distress from an accident can file a lawsuit against a negligent party with help from an accident attorney. It is unnecessary to suffer physical injuries to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. In such cases, the plaintiff must prove the at-fault party acted with reckless abandonment or lack of care for another. This type of lawsuit is technical, and the injury lawyer must have the experience and resources to handle it. 

Personal Injury Attorneys in Roseville

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Roseville. Emotional distress can be claimed in some instances in California. If you suffered severe emotional distress and want to find out about placing a claim to recover damages, contact our injury lawyers for their free and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400. You can contact us online as well.

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Photo attribution: Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay 

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