person driving car

Car accidents have the potential to deeply unsettle anyone. So often they occur with very little notice, if you even have a moment to acknowledge what is happening around you before a peaceful drive becomes your car overturned on the side of the road. Although compensation for physical injuries sustained in a car accident tends to be discussed more, mental harms like anxiety (called emotional distress in the terminology of the courts) might also be compensated. Read this article to learn about how you might seek recovery for emotional distress and what obstacles your lawyer may face.

Remember that a Rockland County car accident lawyer has years of experience to understand how the legal system processes cases like yours. Call us today and we will do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve.

Can I Sue for Anxiety or Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

You can absolutely recover for emotional distress, but it will likely be harder than obtaining compensation for physical injuries or property damage. First of all, insurance does not often cover emotional distress. Before you can progress to the next step of suing the other party involved in your car accident, you’ll need to first prove a serious (which in an ableist legal system, means physical) injury. If you can prove all the above, you have the difficult burden of demonstrating to the court what the monetary value of your emotional distress is.

When it comes to car accident insurance, New York is a no-fault state. This means that instead of proving that the accident was the fault of the other party involved, all drivers in a car crash instead get compensation through their insurance. As a consequence, you must contact your insurance after a car accident, before you have the option of starting a lawsuit.

Under a no-fault insurance system, your insurance must compensate you to some amount, regardless of who bears the responsibility for the accident. However, most insurance policies do not cover emotional distress, which means you’ll need to pursue a lawsuit to receive compensation for that.

And if you then decide to begin a lawsuit, who caused the accident becomes relevant. You will not be able to succeed in a lawsuit unless you can prove that you did not cause the accident and that you suffered a serious injury in the accident. These include painful but not life-threatening injuries like broken bones and lacerations, as well as long-lasting conditions like loss of hearing or vision.

As you can imagine, many plaintiffs find this process exhausting. Many other plaintiffs are unable to recover for emotional distress because the obstacles put up by their insurance are simply too great.