Car accidents are not physically dangerous and expensive, they also take a significant toll on victims’ mental and emotional states. As such, you should talk to your attorney about suing for damages related to emotional distress.
In Georgia, plaintiffs in car accident cases are permitted to seek damages for emotional distress. However, Georgia is one of a few states that has a strict rule about how and when these kinds of damages are available. Essentially, you can only sue for emotional distress if you also experienced some physical injury. Emotional damages often stem from the trauma of the accident. You might include damages for mental anguish, humiliation, depression, and residual feelings of fear and anxiety. Emotional damages are sometimes evaluated based on economic or monetary damages, and you should discuss this with your attorney. Various factors might influence the value of these damages, but they generally increase the more they impact your daily life.
After a collision on the road, contact our Georgia car accident lawyers of Howe Law to schedule a free evaluation of your case by calling (844) 876-4357.
Suing for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Georgia
It is possible to sue for emotional and psychological distress after a car accident. These kinds of damages are often categorized as non-economic injuries and are common in many injury claims. However, emotional distress alone might not be enough to justify a lawsuit.
In Georgia, you cannot sue for emotional distress or similar non-economic injuries without also experiencing some physical harm or impact. This is sometimes referred to as “The Impact Rule.” This might present a problem for certain plaintiffs. Perhaps you were not badly harmed in the car accident, but you were traumatized nonetheless. Can you still sue?
The answer to this question is probably yes. Your injuries do not have to be painful, long-term, or even that serious to allow you to sue for related emotional distress. It is not uncommon for people who experienced minor injuries to also experience significant psychological turmoil. As long as you have experienced some injury, even a non-serious one, you can sue for emotional distress in Georgia.
What Are Damages for Emotional Distress After Car Accidents Worth in Georgia?
Exactly how much damages for emotional distress are worth is hard to say. These kinds of damages are inherently subjective and often do not come with any sort of predetermined monetary value. Even so, courts have developed a few methods for evaluating these damages to award fair compensation to plaintiffs.
Examples of Damages for Emotional Distress.
Damages related to emotional distress are sometimes hard to articulate. For some, these are general feelings of distress or turmoil. For others, their condition might be more concrete.
Many car accident survivors claim a general sense of mental anguish as part of their damages. Car accidents tend to be frightening. In serious cases, plaintiffs might describe feeling as if they went through a near-death experience. Such an experience often takes a steep psychological toll, and you might live with feelings of distress for quite some time. These feelings might prevent you from going to work, leaving your home, or enjoying things you once loved. As such, you deserve compensation.
If you experience severe injuries, such as permanent disabilities, your emotional distress may be considered far more impactful. Permanent injuries often leave victims struggling to come to terms with how their bodies have changed and that they must live their lives differently from now on.
Seeing a mental health professional to discuss your emotional distress is a good idea. It is possible you have a diagnosable mental condition, like depression, panic disorders, or PTSD. A more concrete diagnosis might help us better explain your claims to a jury.
How is Emotional Distress Evaluated?
Evaluating damages for emotional distress can be challenging since these damages are very subjective. Two popular methods used in many courts are the per diem and multiplier methods.
The per diem method works by assigning a dollar amount to each day you experience emotional distress. The longer you experience distress, the higher your damages. The jury may determine the dollar amount assigned to each day, and they may base their decision on the evidence you present at the trial. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can present strong evidence of your distress and suffering to persuade the jury to assign the highest dollar value possible.
The multiplier method takes the value of your economic damages and multiplies it by a number selected by the jury. Usually, this number is between 1 and 5. The more severe your injuries and damages, the higher the number might be. Also, having high economic damages usually means your non-economic damages will be greater under this method.
There might be other methods available for calculating damages for emotional distress. Talk to your attorney to determine the best method for your case so you get the most compensation possible.
Factors That Influence the Value of Your Damages
Numerous factors might influence the value of your damages. While the evaluation methods above are important to the final outcome, juries tend to have a fair amount of discretion when determining the value of emotional distress.
Generally, juries tend to award greater damages for emotional suffering when physical injuries are more severe. While you might be traumatized from the accident, a jury might be less likely to award significant damages for emotional distress if you are largely unharmed with only minor injuries.
The severity of your accident may also weigh heavily on jurors’ minds when they determine damages for emotional distress. Even if your physical injuries are minor, the crash itself might have been severe. For example, a multi-vehicle accident or a crash at a very high rate of speed might influence the jury to award greater damages, as the experience might be seen as more traumatic.
Call Our Georgia Car Accident Lawyers if You Experienced Emotional Distress After a Crash
If you were traumatized after an accident, contact our Georgia personal injury lawyers of Howe Law to schedule a free evaluation of your case by calling (844) 876-4357.