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Can I Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Crash?

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car accident new jersey nj

Car crashes are by nature traumatic events. Particularly minor accidents may occur, such as briefly and softly backing your bumper into your garage door, but often car accidents tend to involve sudden and sometimes painful collisions with another vehicle. Those take an emotional and psychological toll on everyone, affecting our day-to-day life, our work, and our well-being in every sense of the word. This blog will discuss what emotional distress is, how you can determine its value if you decide to pursue a claim, and which documents you would use to prove your emotional distress before a court. Please do not struggle with a stressful recovery after a car crash by yourself. Get in touch with Essex County car accident lawyer today and we will support you so that you can the recovery you deserve.

What Is Emotional Distress and How Does It Manifest?

Under New Jersey law, emotional distress refers to suffering you endure because of things another person or people did. Emotional distress is part and parcel of your toolkit when trying to get recovery for your losses in a car accident. After all, you are facing both physical and emotional consequences after a crash, and that means you deserve compensation.

Examples of emotional distress include:

Fear and Anxiety: Immediate Consequences

You might have a hard time driving again after the accident. Driving anxiety is common among people who haven’t been in a car accident at all, and only more understandable if you have a traumatic, car-related event in your recent history.

Psychological Impact: Longlasting Problems

In some cases, you may experience enduring psychological concerns that affect your well-being long into the future. Panic attacks and depression are quite treatable, but mental health care is expensive and with a mental health professional, recovery can easily take a year or more.

How Do I Determine the Value of and Prove Non-Economic Damages?

Economic losses can be straightforward to calculate: your medical bills, bills from your mechanic for your car, and even pay stubs from your employee to prove lost wages. Non-economic losses refer to costs you bear like emotional trauma. These can be harder to tabulate. Surely therapist visits provide bills you can use as proof, but the cost of living with emotional distress goes beyond the therapist’s office.

To calculate the dollar value of non-economic losses, you’ll usually multiply the economic losses by a factor determined by the court. The factor will depend on how severe your physical injuries are and whether you can prove the severity of your distress.

Proving your emotional distress, in turn, requires showing evidence that links your physical and psychological distress to your experiences during the accident. Some kinds of evidence helpful here would be:

  • Medical documents: You can use reports and testimony from your primary doctor as well as specialists like mental health professionals who know your symptoms and speak to the way such symptoms emerge from emotional distress.
  • Duration and impact: You can also show the severity of your emotional distress by pointing to how long and how intensely your symptoms affected your life. If you have lived with debilitating panic attacks for years after the car crash, this will strengthen your claim for emotional distress.

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