Proving Emotional Distress in Car Accident Claims With Attorney Car Accidents

Personal injury claims after car accidents draw images of fractured bones and wounds. However, emotional and mental injuries from vehicle accidents can be just as serious. In severe circumstances, emotional stress can cause physical symptoms and affect daily life. 

Emotional distress and other noneconomic damages can differ significantly from one situation to another. Discover the emotional distress that vehicular accidents may cause through this blog and seek justice with the help of an attorney car accidents.

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What is Emotional Distress?

Pain and suffering damages include emotional distress. It is when someone else’s negligence causes mental harm. Differentiating emotional distress from physical injuries can be challenging. It arises when individuals undergo a traumatic event, which leads to heightened emotional reactions. 

Stress prompts the body to take protective measures, with past experiences shaping these reactions and potentially resulting in lasting psychological consequences.

Common Examples of Emotional Distress

Mental Health Condition Definition 
Anxiety Feelings of unease, nervousness, or fear may manifest in both the mind and the body. Increased heart rate, agitation, tense muscles, sweating, shakiness, and trouble focusing are all signs of anxiety. 
Panic Attacks Panic attacks are sudden, severe feelings of terror or discomfort that peak within minutes. Psychological and physical signs such as a fast heart rate, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, or feeling of suffocation may result from these potentially distressing episodes.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) PTSD can occur in those who have experienced or seen a traumatic or life-threatening event. These occurrences may include combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, physical or sexual assault, or other violence. 
Depression Depression is a mental illness that causes sadness, despair, and apathy toward everyday life. It goes beyond ordinary ups and downs. Depression affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, causing emotional and physical issues.
Insomnia  A sleep disorder defined by trouble getting to sleep and remaining asleep, or having the chance and setting for sufficient sleep but still not getting restorative sleep. Sleep deprivation can influence emotions, thinking, and health. 

Intentional Infliction vs. Negligent Infliction

Intentional Infliction (IIED)

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) is a type of lawsuit often called the “tort of outrage.” It happens when someone does something extremely shocking and unacceptable, intentionally causing severe emotional pain to another person. 

This behaviour must be so bad that it goes beyond acceptable in a civilized society. If someone is a victim of IIED, they might be able to get money or other forms of compensation. However, they must prove that the other person’s actions were outrageous and deliberately harmful.

Negligent Infliction (NIED)

According to David Goguen, J.D., from the University of San Francisco School of Law, in a Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) case, the plaintiff seeks compensation for emotional suffering, even when no physical injury is involved. 

NIED is a category of personal injury claims where you can make a case if someone’s carelessness leads to emotional harm. Commonly, those who pursue NIED claims are individuals who either witnessed a distressing event or went through something that made them fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones.

How to Indicate Emotional Distress

In legal proceedings, emotional distress may be described in a variety of ways, the most common of which are pain and suffering and the following:

  • Loss of Consortium. This happens when another person’s actions force the victim of a car accident to lose some or all of the advantages of being married or a parent.
  • Zone of Danger. The trauma of seeing a loved one’s death or severe injury qualifies a person to file this type of claim.

Proving Emotional Distress

An emotional distress injury is hard to prove in court. The likelihood of proving the severity of the emotional distress can be enhanced by combining several of these techniques. 

Intensity The severity of your emotional suffering will allow your attorney to prove damages. The greater the suffering, the better the odds of emotional distress compensation. Panic attacks, nighttime terrors, and agoraphobia are severe emotional injuries from accidents. 
Duration Chronic pain can also indicate severe emotional distress. PTSD is a long-term mental illness that may severely affect the quality of life. The severity of the claim may depend on the duration of emotional suffering.
Related Body Harm While emotional pain may not leave scars, linked bodily injuries may support the claim. Physical symptoms, including headaches, ulcers, and insomnia, might reveal emotional discomfort. Physical evidence can prove that psychological injury causes physical harm.
Underlying Cause How your accident and injuries happened also affects proving mental distress. More intense underlying causes increase the likelihood of a court validating emotional distress.
Doctor’s Diagnosis A doctor’s or psychologist’s note could strengthen your mental distress claim. Medical professionals can testify and document psychological and physical discomfort. 

Documents to Support Emotional Distress

  • Reports from your physician. If you seek medical or psychiatric care for emotional distress, their expert judgment can determine how your injury affected you mentally and emotionally.
  • Accident photos. Photos of the accident might be used to back up claims that you witnessed or experienced serious trauma. This shows the severity of your or someone else’s suffering.
  • Videos. Your reaction to the accident can also be shown through videos immediately or days or months later.

Difficulties in Proving Emotional Distress

Injury-Free If you weren’t hurt in the accident, proving emotional suffering can be harder. Insurance companies may accuse you of lying or exaggerating to get more money. 
Symptom Delay Emotional distress may occur days or weeks after the accident. This makes it hard to show that the accident led to your mental suffering.
Pre-existing conditions  Insurance companies might claim that your emotional anguish is unrelated to the disaster if you had depression or anxiety before the crash.
Inconsistent claims Insurers may doubt your claim if you contradict their emotional distress symptoms or accident accounts.

Process of Suing for Emotional Distress

  1. Keep Track of Your Distress

To support your argument, you must have all relevant documents. You might even wear a wristwatch that records your heart rate and how often you sleep. It will be much easier to recover damages if you properly document your distress.

  1. Consult an Attorney

Consult with your lawyer about the matter. Your attorney will review your paperwork to prepare for legal action.

  1. File a Lawsuit

You will file litigation against the defendant on behalf of emotional distress with the assistance of your car accident lawyer.

  1. Pre-trial Arrangements

The discovery process will begin once the defendant has been served and involves the parties exchanging information. A settlement agreement could be reached between the parties to save the case from trial. You should consult car accident lawyers before deciding whether or not to accept the settlement offer.

  1. Trial and Settlement

After hearing arguments and evidence from both parties, the courts will render a verdict.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you don’t have an attorney by your side, it will be extremely difficult to seek damages for mental distress. The following are some of how a Calgary car accident lawyer can assist you:

  • A motor vehicle accident lawyer can help gather evidence.
  • Write a persuasive letter of demand.
  • Assisting you in determining who is liable for the emotional and mental impact of the vehicle accident.
  • Talk to the insurance company provider.
  • Calgary car accident lawyers can be your legal representatives in court proceedings.


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Process Your Settlement with Sidhu Lawyers

The effects of emotional distress extend to the physical as well as the mental body. Chronic stress, a common cause of mental distress, can lead to cardiovascular disease, decreased immunity, and digestive difficulties. 

Emotional distress also impairs decision-making, interpersonal connections, and cognitive performance. Because of how closely linked mental and physical health is, it is important to treat emotional distress as a whole to promote holistic health.

After a motor vehicle accident, one can suffer from extreme mental distress. Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary is here to help you with every legal representation you need to seek justice and an accident claim. Our Calgary personal injury lawyers guide car accident victims through expert legal services.


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, in certain instances. Anyone present during motor vehicle accidents or family members who lost consortium as a result of injuries sustained may have grounds to sue for emotional distress. An “attorney car accidents” can evaluate your situation. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you if your personal injury claim for emotional distress is valid. Injury lawyers are well-equipped to guide car accident victims through the complexities of such claims.

A “statute of limitations” applies to emotional distress claims. So, you must consult an attorney immediately to make a claim and start the legal process within the local jurisdiction’s time limit. For most negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress cases, the statute of limitations is two years from damage. 

Yes, children can claim compensation after a car accident. A parent or guardian usually represents them legally. Children’s emotional distress can be proven through medical and psychological evaluations and detailed records of their symptoms and behaviour changes. The impact of the distress is considered in the compensation, and any settlement is typically placed in a trust until the child is an adult.