Can I Sue For Mental Anguish From A Car Accident In Miami?
If the negligence or willfully dangerous actions of another person caused you emotional distress, you can sue them for mental anguish. This is a right given to victims by the Florida Legislature under statute 627.737. For example, a plaintiff can file a claim for emotional distress if he/she experienced an accident, the memories of which continue to recur in their mind, or if they witnessed the injury or death of a family member and suffer sleeplessness, anxiety, pain, or emotional trauma as a result.
Mental anguish and emotional distress cases are similar in many ways since the complainant in both cases is usually suing for psychological injuries suffered, not physical injuries. A civil lawsuit can be filed against a negligent third-party that caused an accident if you or a loved one experience substantial anxiety, sadness, or distress as a result of the accident. Damages that can also lead to a mental anguish claim can include disfigurement, serious bodily injury and wrongful death.
What Is Mental Anguish?
Mental anguish refers to intense mental pain and distress. The pain is emotional, not physical. Mental and emotional injuries are generally categorized as pain and suffering damages. At a less severe end of the damages spectrum, mental and emotional anguish injuries from a car accident may include:
- Emotional distress
You can sue for mental anguish if an accident leads to suffering from any of the above emotional states. Individuals with mild mental anguish or emotional distress are likely to experience the following:
- Severe anger
- Bouts of crying
- Appetite problems
- Mood swings
- Sexual dysfunction
- A lack of energy
- Sleep problems
Mild emotional distress or mild mental anguish cases can vanish quickly, but a severe case will call for psychological or professional assistance. More severe mental anguish cases can have diagnoses such as acute stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a fact that is backed by a report by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine on PTSD after severe vehicular crashes. Victims of serious car accidents often replay the accident in their head over and over and may begin to fear certain types of vehicle driving situations.
For example, if someone was severely rear-ended while parked in their vehicle, they are likely to start worrying about being rear-ended all the time and can be overcome with anxiety whenever they are stopped and in their car, even if it is at a busy intersection or when stopping to allow pedestrians to cross the road. PTSD can become a paralyzing disorder in individuals who do not receive the proper medical care needed to deal with it.
Proving Mental and Emotional Anguish Injuries
A victim of emotional distress and mental anguish can prove their injuries via their testimony. Most victims of mild emotional distress do not seek professional treatment and simply explain to the court what happened to them.
However, severe mental anguish is a medical issue. In such cases, it is relatively easy to back your claim up with the testimony of a medical professional. Your health provider can help you by testifying in favor of your PTSD claim.
How Juries and Insurers Assess Emotional Injuries and Mental Anguish
Juries and insurers will likely accept mental and emotional injury claims so long as the claims are not out of proportion with regards to claims for physical injuries from the same accident.
For instance, if a motorist was involved in a small-scale fender bender that caused a minor neck strain but claims severe emotional distress and mental anguish, the insurer and jury can simply refuse to accept the claim. If someone claims mental or emotional injuries that are completely out of proportion to their physical damages, he or she will lose credibility with the insurer and the jury.
Even if the mental or emotional injury that is being claimed is proportionate to the physical injuries caused by the accident, the court or insurer is not likely to accept the claim if the claimant did not receive any treatment for their injuries. This is even if they, for instance, testify that the accident made them too scared to drive, or made them lose appetite or sleep or caused similar problems.
How Mental and Emotional Injuries Affect Claims
Mental injury claims do not directly determine the amount of compensation you are likely going to get after an accident, especially if you have only suffered minor injuries. However, they may play a part in getting the judge or jury to take the rest of your claim more seriously.
Severe mental anguish claims, especially those that require medical attention, will undoubtedly increase the value of your claim. It is important to note, however, that you need to have the right documentation, physician reports, bills, and a competent auto accident attorney by your side before initiating a claim if you want to maximize your chances of winning the compensation and coverage that you deserve for your mental anguish.
Talk to Our Mental Anguish Experts Today
Contact us today at 305-853-9171 to file a mental anguish claim against at-fault motorists responsible for emotional pain, suffering, and related non-tangible costs that you’ve been inflicted with after a vehicle accident. We’ll help you gather the evidence needed to prove mental anguish. Pay nothing until you win and are paid damages. Call now.