Seeking Damages for Emotional Distress from a Truck Accident

Seeking Damages for Emotional Distress from a Truck AccidentNavigating life after a truck accident can be an overwhelming experience that leaves individuals grappling with physical injuries and emotional distress. The aftermath of such a traumatic event can have profound effects on one’s mental well-being, manifesting as anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What many may not realize is that emotional distress is a valid and compensable damage in a truck accident lawsuit. Beyond the visible scars, the emotional toll of a collision can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. At Phelan Petty, our lawyers help truck accident victims pursue compensation for the intangible wounds that linger long after the physical injuries begin to heal.

What is emotional distress in Virginia?

When it comes to seeking compensation for emotional distress, we aren’t talking about just feeling bad from having been in a truck accident. While your emotions and feelings are valid, emotional distress has a legal meaning and requirement. According to Forbes, “emotional distress is mental suffering caused by someone else’s actions — either intentionally or accidentally.” Symptoms may include depression, anxiety, shame, guilt, Insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, fatigue, chronic headaches, weight gain or loss, and uncontrollable crying. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an example of emotional distress that is a recoverable damage in a personal injury lawsuit.

It is important to note that if you are seeking damages for your emotional distress, you must prove that another party is at fault for your mental anguish.

In Virginia, the grounds for seeking compensation for emotional distress are limited to two scenarios. Firstly, emotional distress can be pursued if it is closely connected to a physical injury; however, without a tangible physical harm element, claiming emotional distress becomes more challenging. Secondly, individuals in Virginia can seek compensation for emotional distress if it is a direct result of intentional or reckless conduct. This means that if someone deliberately or carelessly caused the distress, there may be a valid legal basis for pursuing a claim.

How to prove emotional distress

After a truck accident, the mental anguish you feel can make moving forward difficult. Proving that a truck accident caused your emotional distress may seem challenging, but there are practical steps you can take, such as:

  • Include it in your medical records. Talk to mental health experts to ensure they note your emotional distress in your medical records and connect it to the truck accident. You should also speak about your feelings and emotions to your primary care physician. While most GPs are not mental health experts, having their records reflect that you are experiencing mental trauma can bolster your claims.
  • Track your feelings over time. Keep a timeline of when you started feeling emotionally distressed after the accident, noting if things got better or worse as time went on.
  • Ask others for substantiation. Get statements from people who saw changes in your mood or behavior after the accident to back up your story. You can also ask your doctor and your therapist for statements as well.
  • Write it down. Keep a personal journal talking about how you’re feeling, daily challenges, and anything reminding you of the accident to create a personal record of how the accident continues to affect you.
  • Document your medications. If you’re taking medication for emotional distress, keep track of your prescriptions to prove professionals acknowledge your condition.
  • Therapy sessions matter. Not only is talking to a therapist good for you and your well-being, it’s also good for your lawsuit as well. Attending therapy and making sure your therapist records how the accident is affecting your mental health can be important evidence for your trial.
  • Tell your story. First-person testimony during a jury trial can be very powerful, and explaining how the accident has affected you emotionally could make a difference. Note that you do not have to testify, though you will need to give a deposition. It’s an option we can discuss during your consultation.
  • Tell us everything. Sometimes, people remember things they forgot in the heat of the moment. They think there was a white car next to them, for example, but later they remember it was blue. It’s an honest error, but opposing counsel will jump on those to show you’re lying or that your member is untrustworthy. If you remember details you had forgotten, or are having trouble remembering what you said months ago to a police officer, make sure to tell us immediately. Inconsistencies in your story, no matter how innocent they are, can do a lot of harm.

By taking these steps, you can create a case proving that the truck accident directly caused your emotional distress. Remember, clear records, professional support, and a consistent story are crucial in showing the impact of the accident on your mental well-being.

At Phelan Petty Injury Lawyers, we understand that a truck accident isn’t just about physical injuries; there’s an emotional toll too. Our Richmond-based attorneys approach each case with care and compassion, recognizing the significance proving emotional distress has on receiving fair compensation. We’re here to tell your story. Our team works diligently to gather evidence, from medical records to witness statements, showcasing the real impact the accident had on your emotional wellbeing. Trust us to navigate the legal complexities – at Phelan Petty Injury Lawyers, we’re not just your attorneys; we’re your advocates for a full and fair recovery. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your options, call our office, or fill out our contact form. We’re here to help truck accident victims throughout Virginia.

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