What Happens When An Accident Causes You Emotional Distress?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Thu Mar 2018
You’re not sure you’ll ever get behind the wheel again. The accident caused you so much emotional distress that it has affected your daily living. More than anything, you wish you could forget that dreadful moment when your life changed forever.
No doubt the injuries you receive in an accident are more than skin deep. They’re more than bone deep, in fact. When most people think of injuries from car crashes or slip and fall accidents, their thoughts go to loss of consciousness and broken bones. However, emotional distress overcomes many as a somewhat silent consequence.
Truth be told, some treat emotional distress with skepticism. Notwithstanding, a journal article indicates that motor vehicle accidents are the traumatic event most experienced by men and second most by women in America. Over three million Americans are physically injured in car wrecks each year. Meanwhile, people are also hurt when they slip and fall or have other types of premises liability accidents. Overall, the number of people potentially suffering from emotional distress due to someone else’s negligence is staggering.
What is Emotional Distress?
First, you need to understand what emotional distress means when it comes to your accident claim. Emotional distress is any adverse emotional reaction that persists after the traumatic event that caused it. Your mind reacts to mental trauma in the same way that your body responds to physical injury. As a result, you may face symptoms including stress, depression, heightened anxiety, loss of sleep, anger, and fear. Your emotional distress can also manifest into physical symptoms including ulcers and headaches. These mental and physical symptoms can persist for extended periods of time depending on your ability to come to terms mentally with the trauma you faced.
Is Emotional Distress Covered by an Injury Claim?
When it comes to personal injury claims, emotional distress is categorized under New Jersey law as non-economic damages. Much like pain and suffering, these damages reflect the mental anguish you have faced since the accident. Unlike medical bills or lost wages, there is no obvious way to assign a dollar value to the emotional distress you are suffering.
Typically, when a court finds that you are suffering emotional distress due to your accident, they will apply a multiplier to the value of the medical bills related to your psychological treatment. However, there’s something else you can do to help quantify your damages. It’s not a bad idea to keep a daily diary of your mental state. When it comes down to it, your notes may be helpful in recording the extent of your emotional anguish. If things are overwhelming, you should consider consultation with your doctor or meet with a psychologist.
If you are suffering from emotional distress following any type of accident, it is imperative that you contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo are here to help you with the process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.