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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After Car Accident? | Ohio Injury Lawyers Can Help Victims

Car accidents can be traumatic events that leave lasting physical and emotional injuries. Victims can suffer bodily injuries and experience emotional distress due to the crash.


This can sometimes be severe enough to cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other debilitating conditions. In such cases, survivors may wonder if they can sue for emotional distress in addition to their visible injuries.


What Is Emotional Distress?

What Is Emotional Distress?


Emotional distress, or mental anguish, refers to the psychological suffering experienced after a traumatic event such as a car accident.


It can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, depression, fear, sleep disturbances, and physical symptoms. The impact of emotional distress can be just as significant as the physical injuries suffered, and, in some cases, it can even overshadow the physical pain.


However, proving emotional distress in a car accident case is usually complicated. Unlike bodily injuries, which can be quantifiable through medical bills and lost wages, emotional distress is subjective and hard to pinpoint. It needs a thorough assessment of the individual's emotional suffering and its impact on daily life.


To successfully sue the at-fault party in an emotional distress lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the emotional distress resulted from the car accident and was not pre-existing or caused by other factors.


This can be done by providing evidence such as the victim's medical record, a psychiatric evaluation, a mental health professional testimony, and statements from friends and family members who have witnessed the plaintiff's emotional suffering in their everyday life.


The Main Causes of Emotional Distress


Emotional distress can stem from various sources, but some causes are more common than others. Many individuals have experienced emotional distress due to traumatic events in their lives.


While bodily injuries are terrible, the emotional anguish accompanying them can be even worse. It's a challenging road to recovery for many victims, as the hardships of their experiences can leave them with permanent disabilities, forever reminding them of what they have lost.

  • Car Accidents

One of the most common causes of emotional distress is vehicle crashes. Many accidents result in severe bodily injuries, but the emotional toll they take can be just as devastating. Victims often have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and find it difficult to prove and quantify their emotional distress, making it challenging to seek compensation for their pain and suffering.

  • Additional Issues

In addition to car accidents, emotional distress can be due to other traumatic events, such as drug abuse, assault, dangerous workplaces, discrimination, cyber threats, wrongful death, unjust job terminations, and toxic behavior.


Each situation can inflict significant pain and suffering on the individuals involved, leaving them with visible injuries and emotional trauma.


The nature of emotional distress makes it a complicated issue to address, particularly when seeking reimbursement through an emotional distress claim. Unlike physical symptoms, emotional distress is hard to quantify and put a number on, making it a challenging assessment for victims and the legal system.


How Do Attorneys Prove Emotional Distress in a Lawsuit?


In a car accident, an individual may suffer bodily injuries and emotional pain from the traumatic event. These emotional injuries can be anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and other psychological symptoms.


While visible injuries may be readily apparent, the emotional suffering endured by the victim can profoundly impact their daily life, personal relationships, and overall well-being.


A personal injury lawyer must show that their client suffered emotional distress due to the car accident to pursue an emotional distress lawsuit. This usually requires establishing a causal link between the crash and the mental pain suffered. They can also answer questions like, "Can you go to jail for a car accident in Ohio?"


It is worth noting that emotional distress damages may vary from one case to another, making it hard to put a specific number on the assessment of emotional anguish.


Sometimes, the court can combine emotional distress damages with compensation for bodily injuries and medical bills.


While proving emotional distress can be complicated, with the help of a personal injury attorney, victims can present a convincing personal injury claim highlighting the extent of their emotional suffering and seeking the financial compensation they rightfully deserve.


The Most Common Examples of Mental and Emotional Suffering


Unfortunately, mental suffering is all too common, affecting countless individuals who have experienced traumatic events or are grappling with ongoing struggles.


Understanding the most common examples of these struggles can provide insight into victims' challenges and help create a path toward healing and recovery.

  • Migraines

Unlike regular headaches, migraines are chronic, excruciatingly painful episodes lasting for hours or even days.


Car accident victims often experience throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on one side of their head. These migraines can be incredibly debilitating, making it difficult for individuals to carry out their daily activities or maintain a normal quality of life.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Commonly referred to as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder is a clinical mental health issue that can have long-lasting effects on those who experience or witness a traumatic event.


Victims may struggle to see beyond fear, helplessness, and horror. PTSD usually follows other conditions, such as depression and anxiety, worsening the overall mental distress experienced by individuals.

  • Guilt/Shame

Survivors of traumatic events may often carry a heavy burden of guilt and shame. They may question why they survived while others involved in the same car accident, for example, did not make it out alive.

This sense of guilt can lead to a diminished sense of self-worth and feelings of being unworthy or deserving of the suffering they experience. A constant internal struggle can significantly impact their mental and emotional well-being.

  • Insomnia

Car accident victims may find sleeping difficult due to frequent nightmares, terror, and fear associated with their experience. The lack of restful sleep further increases their emotional distress, impacting their overall functioning and well-being.

  • Mood swings

Mood swings, including irritability, anger, frustration, and a lack of patience, can be symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Victims of disastrous events often experience intense emotional distress, manifesting as sudden shifts in mood and unpredictable reactions. Panic attacks, rage, and overall restlessness can become an unfortunate part of their daily lives.


A car accident survivor may experience intense emotions and struggle to cope with the aftermath. The psychological impact can be hard to see from an outsider's perspective, but the pain is real for the person going through it. As a result, the grief and fear these victims feel can be hard for others to understand, making it a lonely and isolating experience.


Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Victims Recover Compensation for Mental Anguish and Physical Injuries

Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Victims Recover Compensation for Mental Anguish and Physical Injuries


Seeking justice and compensation for the emotional stress from a car accident or similar event can be complicated. Personal injury claims that involve quantifying emotional distress can be challenging to navigate. After all, how can the court put a number on pain and suffering?


Personal injury car accident attorneys in Cincinnati OH are crucial in helping victims recover compensation for mental anguish and physical injury. When a person suffers physical harm, especially due to someone else's negligence, they have the right to seek justice and hold the responsible party accountable.

  • Non-economic Damages

One of the main areas where attorneys can assist victims is in proving emotional distress. Suffering physical injuries can often lead to emotional harm, as it can negatively impact the plaintiff's mental well-being and overall quality of life.


These emotional losses are known as non-economic damages and can be difficult to quantify. However, experienced lawyers know how to gather the necessary evidence to establish emotional distress and ensure their clients receive compensation for their suffering.

  • Economic Damages

In addition to emotional distress, personal injury lawyers can help victims recover general damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses.


When someone suffers physical injuries, they may be unable to work or require extensive medical treatment, resulting in financial burdens. Personal injury attorneys understand the legal definition of economic damages and work tirelessly to gather evidence to prove their clients' losses.


Lawyers must prove emotional distress and intentional infliction by gathering essential documents, such as eyewitness testimonies, expert opinions, and medical records, to establish a solid case against the responsible party.


Through a thorough investigation, attorneys build a strong foundation to prove liability and ensure their clients receive the compensation they deserve, especially if they suffered physical injuries due to the defendant's actions.


Ohio law recognizes the importance of compensating victims for physical and emotional injuries. Victims can better understand their rights and legal options by working with a qualified attorney. These lawyers provide a free consultation to evaluate the case's merits and guide the injured person through the legal process. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to find out more information one who pays for medical bills in a car accident in Ohio.


Final Words


Mental stress is a valid claim after a car accident, and understanding the relevant laws can help victims prove emotional distress and seek compensation for the harm they have suffered.


Under Ohio law, lawyers can prove emotional distress through two legal theories: negligent and intentional infliction.


The first theory allows plaintiffs to seek damages for emotional distress caused by the defendant's negligent actions. On the other hand, intentional infliction involves proving that the defendant purposefully caused emotional harm.


To navigate the legal complexities and maximize their chances of success, plaintiffs should consult with the experienced lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. With a motto that says, "We Go to War for You," this law firm can provide a sense of closure and empowerment for the injured person, helping them regain control of their lives.

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