Emotional distress, which is often referred to as mental anguish, may fall under the umbrella of pain and suffering. It goes beyond the physical pain of an accident, like the anguish of a broken leg, and you could be compensated in some cases for the emotional toll of being involved in an traumatic crash you did not cause.
Some examples of mental harm include:
For instance, if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the crash and you can't sleep, you may deserve compensation.
There are three main things that have to be shown for you to be awarded this compensation, which isn't given out in every case. These three keys are:
- It's not just temporary distress. It's a long-lasting condition. For instance, feeling anxious for a few days after the crash isn't the same as having PTSD for years.
- The conduct of the other party is what made you feel this way. You weren't already suffering before the crash.
- The mental anguish that you feel is "medically significant." It may help you to be diagnosed with official PTSD or depression by a medical professional, for instance, rather than just stating that you've been feeling down on your own.
Car accidents certainly can be traumatic, especially if you suffer serious injuries or if a loved one is killed. Most people won't go through an event that brings them closer to their own mortality. The mental and emotional side of this cannot be ignored. If you've been suffering, be sure you know all of the legal options that you have.
Source: FindLaw, "Does Pain and Suffering Include Emotional Distress?," accessed Dec. 07, 2017