Car accidents can cause serious life-changing injuries, and they can also cause mental and emotional anguish, as well. However, these emotional injuries are not always as apparent. They can hide behind the scenes so to speak for months or maybe even years until the victim is treated by a professional. This blog post will cover mental and emotional injuries and how they affect a car accident case.
What Are Emotional Injuries?
In a personal injury case, emotional injuries are commonly referred to as pain and suffering. Less serious emotional injuries can include problems such as distress, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, and shock. Even in mild cases, emotional injuries can leave the victim experiencing severe anger, bouts of crying, loss of appetite, mood swings, and more. These relatively minor cases of emotional distress may go away quickly, but serious cases can require the help of a medical professional.
Severe mental and emotional injuries can have a specific diagnosis in a personal injury case such as acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD doesn’t only affect soldiers or serious crime victims; it can affect car accident victims, as well. Being in a car accident can cause the victim to replay the scenario over and over in his head. This can lead to fear of driving in many situations. Another example might be after being rear-ended with serious impact, you may constantly fear that any abrupt stop for whatever reason will lead to the same situation.
Proving These Types of Emotional Injuries
Most people with mild distress do not generally seek professional help, and they will prove their mild mental anguish from their own testimony. Severe emotional distress on the other hand is a serious medical issue, and a medical professional must give testimony. A layperson or victim is not permitted to testify that he is suffering from PTSD.
How Insurance Companies and Juries Perceive These Injuries
As long as a mental injury claim is not out of proportion to the physical injury claim and the seriousness of the accident, insurance companies and juries are likely to accept a claim for mental and emotional anguish. For example, if someone was involved in a mild collision and only suffered neck strain but claims severe emotional injuries, an insurer is not going to accept those claims by any means and neither will a jury. If someone claims these out-of-proportion injuries, he will lose all credibility and greatly damage his case. Even if the claimed emotional injury isn’t out of proportion to the physical injuries, the insurance companies and jury are less likely to accept the claim if the injured victim did not receive treatment. For instance, if the plaintiff states that he is frightened of driving and has a wide array of emotional problems but never received any professional help, insurance companies and juries will not take the case seriously.
How Emotional Injuries Factor in a Car Accident Claim
Whether good or bad, emotional injuries do not generally play a big role in determining compensation. Pain and suffering is usually a way of showing the insurer and jury that the plaintiff is a regular person who can suffer from intense pain. Severe claims of mental and emotional injury will certainly help with compensation and maybe even lost earnings.