How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit

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Car accidents take only a few seconds to occur, but they can affect your life for months to come, or even years, if you suffer serious injuries in an accident.  The purpose of car accident injury lawsuits is to help restore the injured person’s wellbeing to the way it was before the accident, or as close to that state as possible.  

A serious accident can disrupt your life to the point that simply getting treatment for your injuries and getting your car repaired, or getting a new car to replace a vehicle that was totaled, cannot bring things back to normal.  This is part of the logic behind awarding damages for emotional distress to injured plaintiffs for whom a car accident had a serious emotional impact.


Presenting Concrete Evidence of Invisible Damage

It is quite simple to document physical injuries.  If you go to the emergency room to be examined immediately after a car accident, you have covered your bases in case you begin to suffer pain later because of the accident.  The report from the hospital provides incontrovertible evidence of what a physical examination or an X-ray taken immediately after the accident showed. Likewise, the best way to show evidence that you have suffered emotional distress because of an accident is to let your medical records do the talking, just like you would with physical injuries.  

For example, make an appointment with a mental health counselor shortly after the accident or as soon as you begin to feel prolonged emotional distress because of an accident. If possible, see a counselor whose expertise includes helping patients cope mentally with serious physical injuries. If a physician who treats you for your physical injuries refers you to a psychologist or other mental health professional, even better, because it will be clear from your medical records that your emotional distress is obvious even to people outside the mental health profession.


How Much Compensation Do Injured People Get for Emotional Distress?

How much emotional wellbeing can you buy for $20,000?  It is not easy to quantify happiness or emotional suffering.  Therefore, courts often calculate emotional damages using something called the general damages multiplier.  Because it is so difficult to measure another person’s emotions, the severity of the physical injuries is often the only way courts can judge how much a plaintiff has suffered.  Evidence that you have sought medical treatment for your emotional distress is very important, then, especially if your emotional distress is greater than what your (relatively minor) physical injuries would suggest.


Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys

Personal injury lawyers help people heal physically and emotionally after accidents.  Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys in the St. Louis area if you have been injured in a car accident.

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