Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?
Emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and loss of consortium (companionship) are all elements of the noneconomic damages in a vehicle collision claim. Compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and lost wages is available as well. In a catastrophic injury claim, like a spine injury, the medical bills alone could be a staggering cost.
No amount of money can possibly make up for the emotional distress that car crash victims must endure. The compensation that a Deerfield Beach personal injury attorney obtains helps victims put their lives back together after an accident. Furthermore, we must all accept responsibility for the accidents we cause, including car accidents. Financial compensation for the victim is part of this responsibility.
Evidence in Car Wreck Claims
The amount of compensation for emotional distress usually depends on the facts. The more evidence a victim/plaintiff presents, the more compensation a Florida jury is likely to award. That possibility drives up the claim’s settlement value.
Traditionally, a combination of medical bills, treatment records, accident reconstruction and property damage to prove causation are all presented to the jury. If this evidence is inadequate, attorneys often use electronic evidence such as a vehicle’s event data recorder to fill in the gaps on liability.
Without such data, or adequate photographs and accounts, it’s sometimes hard for jurors to have an accurate understanding of the event. And if the jury isn’t convinced of the facts, it can be difficult to obtain a favorable verdict including the emotional distress damages of your claim.
Event Data Recorder
In some cases, a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder (EDR) provides critical information. This evidence could be the difference between fair compensation and settling for less. An EDR is a lot like the black box flight data recorder inside a commercial jet. Depending on the make and model, an EDR usually measures and records information like:
- Vehicle speed
- Steering angle
- Engine RPM
- Brake application
Electronic data is also easy to present in court. If it was working properly, a computer is never wrong. So, an insurance company lawyer cannot berate a computer the same way lawyers sometimes berate witnesses.
EDR availability is sometimes a problem. An attorney will have to convince the other party of the insurance carrier to hand over the information willingly and if they refuse to do so, a court might grant the attorney access to the vehicle to obtain such data.
Evidence in a car crash claim is a bit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Evidence is just a pile of facts until an attorney puts the pieces together and creates a compelling picture for the jury. In a court of law, this picture is typically ordinary negligence or negligence per se.
Ordinary negligence is a lack of care. Most noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care. Uber drivers, taxi drivers, and most other commercial operators have a duty of utmost care, which is a higher standard to live up to, making the burden on them stronger than a normal person.
Commercial operator claims also usually involve what’s called the respondeat superior doctrine. Employers, like rideshare companies, are legally responsible for their drivers’ negligence.
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Car crash victims are entitled to compensation for their emotional distress and other damages. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Deerfield Beach, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.