Can You Sue For Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Car accidents are common occurrences that can happen to anyone at any time. While most people focus on the physical injuries that can result from a car accident, it’s important to remember that emotional distress can also arise from such incidents. Emotional distress can severely impact an individual’s mental health and overall well-being, leading to long-lasting psychological issues. 

If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing emotional distress, you may be wondering if you can sue for compensation. Under California law, you have the right to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for your collision. 

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a psychological condition that can arise from a traumatic event, such as a car accident. This level of distress can manifest itself in different ways, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pain. 

The impact of emotional distress can vary from person to person, and it can be challenging to deal with. For instance, some individuals may feel a deep sense of fear and apprehension every time they get into a car, while others may experience flashbacks or nightmares related to the accident. 

How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Car Accident Claim

California is a fault car accident state. Under state law, victims have the right to pursue insurance claims or lawsuits against negligent drivers who cause motor vehicle collisions. In addition to economic losses like medical expenses and property damage, victims also have the right to claim damages for non-economic pain and suffering, which includes emotional distress.

To prove emotional distress, you must provide evidence that the car accident caused your emotional distress. This can be challenging, as emotional distress is not a visible injury, like a broken bone or a cut. Working with a car accident lawyer can help you prove emotional distress. 

You can leverage several pieces of evidence to prove emotional distress, such as the following:

  • Medical Records: If you sought medical attention for your emotional distress, your medical records could help prove the severity of your symptoms. These documents can also establish a link between your trauma and the collision. 
  • Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses to the accident may be able to provide statements to help establish critical facts about the accident. People in your life, such as your friends and family members, may also be able to testify about your emotional state.
  • Expert Testimony: A mental health expert may be able to testify on your behalf and show how the accident affected you. Your lawyer can connect you with an expert who can support your case.
  • Journal Entries: After the accident, you may want to keep a journal where you detail how the collision has impacted you and affected your mental health. You can use these entries as evidence in your claim against the negligent driver.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Your Emotional Distress Claim

Emotional distress is a valid condition that can arise from a car accident. If you’re experiencing emotional trauma after a car accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention and speak to a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process. 

With the right evidence and legal representation, you may be able to receive compensation for your emotional distress and the impact it has had on your life. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible to discuss your case and plan your next steps.