Very few things can be as emotionally traumatizing as sitting behind the wheel of your vehicle and watching helplessly as an 80,000 pound semi comes speeding towards you out of control. During a situation like this, a person literally watches as their life flashes before their eyes. If an individual is fortunate enough to survive an accident of this type, it is very likely that they are going to experience some type of emotional trauma as a result of the experience. This raises the question, can an individual sue for emotional damage because of an accident caused by a speeding semi?
In a word the answer is yes. In personal injury claims, it is common to hear the phrase pain-and-suffering. This phrase describes both the physical and emotional suffering that an individual experiences from an accident. Emotional distress or mental anguish is not to just a ploy or a trek that victims use to get more money from insurance companies. It is a very real thing, and it can leave a person debilitated. For example, in the above mentioned scenario, a person who has been hit by a semi-truck may be terrified to get behind the wheel of a vehicle again.
Symptoms of emotional anguish include anxiety, depression, stress, a feeling of guilt, especially if the accident resulted in a loved one being injured or dying, frustration from not being able to physically or emotionally do the things that they were able to do prior to the accident, insomnia that might stem from the victim having nightmares where they relive the accent over and over again, bitterness and loss of consortium.
Providing Proof of Emotional Distress
Even though emotional distress is real, at times, it is difficult to provide tangible proof of the emotional distress. A person may need to provide professional evaluations from doctors, licensed counselors, or family physicians supporting their claim. Additional proof may include letters written by friends, religious leaders, employers, and others explaining how they have seen an emotional change in the individual after the accident.
If the emotional strain has gotten to the point that a person requires prescription drugs to cope with anxiety, this is also proof of emotional distress. It can be challenging to put a dollar value on emotional distress. Tangible things such as medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages should be factored in. However, there are many intangible things that will also play a role in how much the settlement will be.
When determining whether or not to sue for emotional distress as a result of an automobile accident, it is best to sit down and talk with an attorney. They have a clear understanding of the laws surrounding personal injury claims and know how these laws will affect your case.
Contact the attorneys at Berkshire Ginsberg by phone at 503-233-6507 or by the online form.