Sometimes injuries aren’t physical. Although it might seem objective, some injuries aren’t visible from the outside. If you are in a car accident and there aren’t any obvious injuries like broken bones or bleeding, then it might be assumed that no harm was done. But for many who suffer emotional injuries, that simply is not the case. In recent years, the emotional damages that can result from an accident — specifically car accidents — are just starting to come to light.
The issue with emotional damages is that they aren’t as apparent as physical ones. For many, the symptoms don’t come on immediately; they often aren’t even linked to the actual event. Things like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress are all emotional injuries that can result from an accident where no one appeared to be “hurt.”
In many states, you are not allowed to sue for emotional damage resulting from a car accident. Emotional damages can only be sought under special circumstances, and typically are very difficult to recover. There are times, however, when a person is so severely, emotionally damaged from a car accident that they are afraid to drive. That can become a huge disability and limit someone’s future. Emotional scars can have a bigger impact on daily life than physical injuries.
If there is proof of extenuating circumstances, there are occasions when you can recover for emotional damages from a car accident. One such instance is the “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” To sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, you would have to prove that there was intent in the car accident. Things that could lead to intent are situations like “road rage.” If an accident was caused because someone was intentionally driving erratically or negligently, then you may be able to recover.
For insurance purposes, however, intentional acts aren’t covered, so if someone sues for emotional distress related to an intentional act in a car accident, they would have to sue the tortfeasor directly and hold them personally liable.
Suing for the intentional infliction of emotional distress in a car accident is often referred to as “tort of outrage.” It allows for anyone to recover damages for severe emotional distress that affects their quality of life. If they can prove that the accident was an intentional infliction because the other driver was driving either outrageously or dangerously, they might be able to receive compensation. You would have to prove the following to win a personal injury suit for emotional distress in a car accident:
- The driver who was at fault had conduct leading up to the accident that was either extreme or outrageous.
- The driver who was at fault intentionally, consciously, or recklessly ignored the rules of the road and put other people in jeopardy and it was their dismissal of the rules of the road that caused your emotional injuries.
- You have to have professional proof that you have sustained emotional injuries.
- You have to prove that the emotional distress that you are experiencing is in direct relation to the actions of the at-fault driver
Is it worth it to pursue an emotional distress personal injury suit?
Many question whether it is worth it to pursue an emotional distress suit against another person in a car accident. Although it can be a tough case to win, if you have been severely injured and those injuries affect your quality of life, then it might make sense. Only an attorney specializing in emotional distress and car accident injuries can guide you. There are often times when accident lawyers Houston, will settle out of court to avoid the case going to trial, but this should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
If you are going to sue for emotional distress, make sure that you take the right steps by contacting a personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accidents as well as emotional distress. They will be able to help you through the process and make sure that you have the proper documentation in place to prove your case.