We all know that car accidents can leave people with devastating physical injuries. Many accident victims need to be immediately transported to the hospital for emergency medical care and will have lasting physical limitations long after the accident debris has been cleared away. What many people take for granted, however, is the fact that the scars left behind in the wake of a car accident can go beyond being physical in nature. Emotional distress is a real impact of being involved in a car accident. The law recognizes this and allows injury victims to seek compensation for the emotional distress they have suffered as the result of being the victim of a car accident caused by the negligence of another. How you calculate and include emotional distress in your car accident claim, however, can be a bit complicated.
Including Emotional Distress Damages in Your Car Accident Claim
Many who have been injured in a car accident suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These are all things to account for in a claim for emotional distress damages. Emotional distress damages, along with pain and suffering damages are considered to be non-economic damages as opposed to economic damages because of how difficult they are to calculate. Economic damages can be based on concrete financial evidence such as medical bills incurred due to an accident. Non-economic damages, however, cannot be based on such figures.
Pain and suffering damages relate to the physical pain an accident victim endures as a result of their injuries. Pain and suffering also include emotional distress which stems from sustaining those injuries and feeling the resulting pain. While it may be difficult to distinguish pain and suffering damages from emotional distress damages, the two are, in fact distinct. The main difference between pain and suffering and emotional distress damage claims is that pain and suffering refer to the emotional distress an accident victim experiences due to their physical injury. Emotional distress damages, on the other hand, relates to the emotional distress experienced prior to enduring any physical signs of injury. They relate to the emotional suffering relating to being involved in the accident and not necessarily being injured in the accident. That is why emotional distress claims can be so difficult to assert. They are separate from the physical manifestations of injury. It is imperative that you seek consultation and treatment with a mental health professional who can give you a specific diagnosis for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or another condition stemming back to the accident.
In order to even be eligible to pursue a claim for pain and suffering, however, you likely need to have purchased a limited tort insurance policy. Without limited tort coverage, you are only allowed to sue for pain and suffering resulting from a car accident if your injury is considered to be a “serious injury” pursuant to Pennsylvania law. The law in Pennsylvania considers an injury serious if it resulted in death, permanent disfigurement, or permanent impairment of a bodily function.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we know that accident injuries are not just physical. The mental and emotional damages are just as real and just as relevant. We fight for you to recover compensation that includes all of your damages. Contact us today.