Many people face difficulty coping with the aftermath of a car accident because the impact of a car accident on mental health can be life-altering. Unfortunately, noneconomic damages often get undervalued or neglected when determining the damages associated with an accident. To ensure you get reimbursement for your emotional suffering after a car accident, it helps to understand what emotional distress is and how to get maximum compensation for it.
What is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress is mental suffering due to an unpleasant experience. Many symptoms of emotional distress include sleep disturbances, mood swings, loss of interest in daily activities, and anxiety. After a car accident, emotional suffering can manifest in numerous ways. For example, due to the trauma of the accident, a victim could develop a fear of driving or riding in a vehicle.
Emotional distress can cause a person to develop serious mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety; extensive therapy may be required to cope with those psychological effects. Emotional distress falls under the category of non-economic damages, known as pain and suffering in the legal context.
How to Prove Emotional Distress?
Even though emotional distress can severely affect a person’s well-being, it is usually more challenging to prove than financial and physical suffering.
Each person reacts differently to trauma, and emotional distress might not manifest immediately after the accident. However, visiting a mental health counselor after the accident will help you recover from the trauma and provide evidence of your mental anguish.
Documenting and gathering evidence of your emotional suffering can get you the compensation you deserve. But it can be challenging to document everything on your own, so you should get help from a qualified personal injury lawyer.
According to Nuñez Law, P.L., your lawyer should collect evidence that helps prove your emotional struggles. The most prominent evidence of emotional distress is medical records such as psychiatric evaluations, therapist statements, or mental health counselor records describing your state.
Suppose your doctor prescribed you anti-depressants or similar medication to help your condition. In that case, your lawyer could get copies of these prescriptions, which can serve as evidence for your case. They can also gather information from your close friends, family, and physician who noticed the changes in your mental state following the accident.
Any written notes or journals describing how you felt and suffered due to your injuries can be admissible as evidence to the insurance companies and in court for your car accident case. By gathering solid evidence of your mental and emotional suffering, your lawyer could present a convincing case highlighting how the accident impacted your emotional well-being.
What Type of Compensation is Available for Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress and mental health problems after a car accident require treatment. The treatment can be extensive, including therapy sessions and prescription medication, depending on the nature of the mental health issue. This makes the victim entitled to compensation for their medical expenses related to emotional distress.
Often, car accident victims with chronic mental health problems must take time off work to recover. This can contribute to the financial losses associated with the accident, which is why the victim can also be reimbursed for lost wages. In addition, car accident victims can obtain compensation for loss of quality or enjoyment of life.