Coronavirus Update: We are not accepting walk-ins, but are here to help you. Find out more

personal injury hotline

804.250.5050

criminal-traffic hotline

804.554.4444

Free Consultations

Can I Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Physical injuries from a car accident may heal over time, but the emotional scars can follow you around for weeks, months, and even years. In some cases, the mental impact of a car accident can be more damaging than any bruise, scrape, or broken bone.

If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression in the wake of a car accident, you deserve to receive compensation to offset your suffering and cover any mental health counseling expenses you incur. Pendleton Law can help you build your car accident case and sue the other driver for emotional distress.

How to Know if You’re Eligible to Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident

In the state of Virginia, suing for emotional distress after a car accident isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In order to be eligible for compensation, your emotional problems must be accompanied by a physical injury that was also caused by the accident.

For example, if you suffer from a neck or back injury as well as PTSD, your emotional distress damages will be included in your overall compensation for the accident. If your injuries were solely emotional, you still might be able to sue for emotional distress, but it will be very difficult.

In the Commonwealth, courts are hesitant to award damages for emotional distress because they fear people will exaggerate or fabricate their symptoms to increase their winnings. To prevent people from taking advantage of the system, they only allow victims to file for purely emotional damages if the emotional injury was caused by intentional acts.

Suing for Emotional Distress From a Car Accident Without Physical Injury

It might not seem fair, but Virginia only allows car accident victims to file for emotional distress if their emotional injury is accompanied by a physical injury, or if it was the result of the defendant’s “intentional behavior.”

Virginia law defines intentional behavior as outrageous or reckless acts that result in extreme emotional injury. They also require the plaintiff to produce evidence proving that their emotional injury is extreme. To prove the severity of your emotional injury, you’ll need to get a diagnosis from a doctor. 

Emotional Distress Diagnoses You Can Sue for After a Car Accident

Car accidents can cause a number of psychological effects. Informing yourself on the mental impacts one might experience after a car accident can help you identify emotional issues, seek treatment for them, and retain the proper legal counsel.

If you notice any of the following mental issues after a car accident, or are diagnosed with one of them by a mental health professional, you may be eligible to sue for emotional distress:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Flashbacks
  • Detachment from your surroundings and others
  • Trouble focusing
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

Nearly 40% of car accident victims are later diagnosed with PTSD, and many walk away with anxiety, depression, and other negative mental health effects. If a car accident has taken a toll on your mental health, contact an experienced lawyer and they’ll help you determine if your injuries qualify for emotional distress damages.

Other Emotional Damages You Might Receive From a Car Accident Lawsuit

When you sue for emotional distress from a car accident, you file a suit for non-economic damages. In contrast to economic damages, non-economic damages are typically requested to compensate for a loss that is difficult to assign a dollar value to.

Here are some of the non-economic damages you might be eligible to sue for after getting in a car accident:

Estimating Your Emotional Distress Damages

Estimating the compensation you’ll receive for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other non-economic losses caused by a car accident can be tricky without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. To get a better idea of what you can expect to receive from your lawsuit, get a professional diagnosis and ask a lawyer to evaluate your losses.

If you want to get a ballpark estimate of what you might receive, you can employ the method that juries use to calculate damages for pain and suffering. To do so, take the amount you expect to receive for economic losses and multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number you choose should correspond to the severity of your emotional distress. 

For example, if your emotional distress is particularly severe and interrupts your life on a regular basis, you’ll want to use a multiplier of 5. If your distress is less severe, you’ll want to use a lower number. Once you’ve multiplied your economic losses by your number between 1.5 and 5, you’ll be left with an estimate of your emotional distress damages.

Our Firm Makes Suing for Car Accident Emotional Distress Easy and Affordable

Dealing with emotional distress from a car accident can be extremely difficult and, in some cases, debilitating. Our lawyers are fully prepared to manage your lawsuit from start to finish. They’ll do the heavy lifting, while you take the time you need to recover from your emotional injury.

At Pendleton Law, we believe car accident victims should be able to file a lawsuit for emotional distress, no matter what their financial status is. That’s why our attorneys work for a contingency-fee. That means they’ll build your case, file your lawsuit, and fight for you in court, in exchange for a percentage of your compensation. 

Contact Us to Get Started on Your Emotional Distress Lawsuit

Car accident victims can be left with significant psychological injuries that disrupt their daily lives and diminish their overall wellbeing. If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or PTSD in the wake of a car accident, you should consider filing a lawsuit for emotional distress. 

Christina Pendleton & Associates can help you determine if you’re eligible to sue for emotional distress, calculate your damages, and file your car accident lawsuit. To learn more about the no-cost legal services we offer to car accident victims, contact us and schedule your free consultation.