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Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Apr 23, 2021 | Auto Accident


When people think about car accident injuries, they probably think of broken bones, head injuries, or burns. But car accident injuries can include emotional harm as well. Indiana law allows residents to pursue financial damages after a car accident if they’ve been psychologically injured.

Emotional distress can include any of the following symptoms:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frustration or anger
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches or ulcers

But proving emotional distress isn’t as simple since it isn’t something tangible—you can’t take photos or X-rays of your psychological harm. You’ll need to seek mental health experts who can diagnose your emotional distress and speak to its significance.

We’ll outline when you should consider an emotional distress claim and how to prove it during an emotional distress lawsuit.

When To Pursue an Emotional Distress Lawsuit

Just like physical bodily injuries, recovering from mental trauma after a car accident can be expensive. And, through no fault of your own, you’re facing these financial hardships. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden alone.

The statute of limitations for car accident personal injury cases in Indiana is two years. That means that you have two years to document and prepare your emotional distress lawsuit.

How To Prove Emotional Distress After a Car Accident

Proving emotional distress can be challenging because you can’t photograph any physical evidence. But you can document your mental anguish through an expert. Here are some ways to prove the validity and severity of your emotional distress:

  1. Emotional trauma duration: Many people are shaken up after a car accident. So saying that you suffered mentally probably comes as no surprise. However, after a few days, the initial shock generally wears off. Victims with prolonged trauma might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or more severe trauma than what the courts would expect in these cases.
  2. Trauma severity: Again, experiencing some form of trauma after a car accident is not out of the ordinary. But when it’s severe, the courts are more likely to consider this a serious mental injury.
  3. Accompanying physical injuries: Mental trauma that is accompanied by physical trauma can be slightly easier to prove. Adding physical evidence to the case can help demonstrate the severity of your injuries and more details behind your emotional distress.
  4. Medical findings: The most important evidence in your emotional distress case will be your doctor’s findings. Notes and medical records will play an important role in proving you are suffering from emotional distress.

You cannot prove emotional distress without seeing a mental health professional and documenting your injuries. Just like you would need medical proof for physical injuries, you need it for mental ones, too.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Indiana

No matter what type of injuries you sustained from a car accident, you need a team of trusted and reliable personal injury attorneys to protect your rights. Stewart & Stewart is experienced in pursuing emotional distress cases and will provide expert insights concerning your case.

Schedule your free consultation today for more information.

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If you have been involved in an Indiana personal injury accident, contact us at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers represent victims throughout the state, including Carmel and Anderson. We have also successfully advocated for clients throughout the area, including Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, South Bend. Complete a free online consultation form or call us at (800) 33-33-LAW!

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights in the following areas of Indiana injury law: auto accident, brain injury, drug injury, defective product, fire and burn injury, insurance dispute, medical malpractice, motorcycle accident, nursing home abuse, slip and fall,  truck accident, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.