If you have been involved in an accident in which you suffered great emotional distress, and someone else’s negligence was the cause of that accident, then you may have grounds for a personal injury case. Further, you may have grounds to sue for emotional distress. Keep reading to learn more about what this means and then contact Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 if you have been involved in a car accident or other type of accident.
Examples of Emotional Distress
First, let us discuss exactly what the law considers emotional distress. This includes anxiety, suffering, grief, anguish, horror, feeling nervous, fight, anguish, worry, shock, shame, and humiliation. It is considered serious emotional distress if what the courts determine a “reasonable person” would not be able to cope with the mental stress.
The Plaintiff in an Emotional Distress Case May Be a Direct Victim
In order to have a valid personal injury case including emotional distress, the plaintiff may be considered a direct victim. This means that the plaintiff suffered serious emotional distress as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence. Note that in order to be a direct victim, a person does not have to have suffered a physical injury.
It is Possible to Sue for Bystander Emotional Distress
There are situations in which you can sue for bystander emotional distress. In order to do so, you must prove that you are closely related to the person who was injured, that you were present at the scene of the accident were aware of the injury, that the defendant’s negligence caused the injury or death of the victim, and that you suffered serious emotional distress that was worse than what an uninvolved bystander would have experienced.
In this case “close relative” means a spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, or grandparent of the injured party. There are some exceptions that do include others, but they are very rarely relevant.
The Definition of “Witnessing” an Accident
It may seem obvious what it means to witness an accident, but it legally requires that the person was present at the scene of the accident that caused the injury and that they were aware that said accident was causing injury. For example, if someone simply heard an accident but did not realize that it was causing injury, it is not possible to recover damages for emotional distress, even if they found out soon after that the party was injured.
If you have questions about whether or not you have a case for emotional distress, please contact Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 for a free legal consultation. We are standing by to provide you with the best possible help as you navigate the sometimes complicated legal system.