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Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

A car accident and their resulting injuries and damage you suffer can cause you a great deal of anxiety, stress, and other emotional anguish and distress. After you’ve been involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you may want to pursue compensation, in addition to your financial losses, for the emotional distress you’ve experienced due to the accident. Continue reading to find out if you can sue for emotional distress after a car accident in New Jersey. 

Read more: 5 Potentially Liable Parties After a Car Crash

What Is Emotional Distress

Emotional distress, in the legal context, involves a highly unpleasant or debilitating emotional reaction due to another party’s conduct. The law generally allows a person to seek financial compensation from another party whose actions inflict emotional distress.

Emotional distress following a car accident may include fear of getting behind the wheel or getting into a car, panic attacks or depression that can negatively impact your daily living, including being able to work or to care for yourself.

Potential Compensation for Emotional Distress

Unlike economic losses following a car accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, or repair costs for your vehicle, calculating the precise compensation you may be entitled to for emotional distress is not as straightforward. In many cases, compensation for emotional distress and other non-economic damages suffered from a car accident, such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life, is determined by simply multiplying the total amount of economic damages in the case. The exact multiplier used will often depend on the severity of your injuries or the severity of the emotional distress that you can prove you have suffered. 

Read more: Do I Have a Car Accident Claim?

How Do You Prove Emotional Distress

Proving emotional distress often requires you to show that you’ve suffered some sort of physical or psychological effect due to emotional distress. For example, you may be suffering from physical effects like gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, headache, or loss of libido. Alternatively, you may be suffering from mental health conditions like PTSD or depression.

Typically, you will need reports or testimony from treating or examining physicians who can opine, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the physical or psychological effects you are suffering are caused by emotional distress. 

Emotional distress is also usually compensable only when it has a significant enough impact on your life and an extended duration. For example, if you only suffered a few days of fatigue but were still able to go to work or school, you likely might not have a viable claim for emotional distress. But if you are experiencing debilitating effects for months or even years, you may be able to establish that you are suffering from emotional distress.

Read more: How Do I Prove My Car Accident Injury?

Claiming Emotional Distress Under New Jersey’s No-Fault Insurance System

In New Jersey, drivers are required to select either the full tort option or limitation on liability option in their insurance policy, also known as the verbal threshold. While selecting the limitation on liability option can lead to lower premiums, it also restricts an insured from seeking compensation for non-economic damages in a car accident lawsuit, unless they’ve suffered certain catastrophic injuries as defined by state law.

If you’re insured under a policy with the limitation on liability option, your rights to seek compensation for emotional distress after a car accident may be limited.

Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured because of car accidents in Clifton, Trenton, Camden, Passaic, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St. Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

For over a decade, Karim Arzadi has represented me and my family on matters related to car accidents and personal injury cases. I am extremely satisfied with the work he has performed. In addition, his staff is professional, friendly and efficient. I highly recommend him to those seeking a good lawyer.
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