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Can I Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Florida?

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Yes, in Florida you can sue for damages to compensate you for emotional distress if you are seriously injured in a car accident.

A car accident with serious injuries or fatalities is usually traumatic. Research has shown that survivors may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for months or years. Under Florida law, car accident victims with PTSD can sue and collect damages from an at-fault motorist.

At Kogan & DiSalvo, we understand the psychological strain a car accident can impose. Accordingly, we fight to collect the largest available damages awards from negligent drivers and their insurance companies. The symptoms of emotional distress may not be readily or immediately apparent. However, they can impose substantial hidden costs on a car accident victim long after they have recovered from all other physical injuries. 

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Emotional Distress?

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Emotional distress is a form of mental suffering caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional acts. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or unworthiness
  • Sleeplessness and frequent nightmares
  • Flashbacks to traumatic episodes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss

These symptoms are genuine manifestations of distress that a car accident victim experiences after a traumatic collision. Don’t hesitate to disclose these or other symptoms to your Florida car accident lawyer. Only if you do so can the full amount of your damages relating to the crash be calculated.

Is Emotional Distress the Same Thing as Pain and Suffering?

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If you sue a negligent driver for pain and suffering, you need to show significant injuries to collect damages. For example, this may include a fatality, a permanent injury that results in the loss of an important bodily function or significant scarring, and the permanency of the injury. In addition, emotional distress can accompany pain and suffering but requires showing a different set of circumstances.

First, it must be established that the victim suffered a physical injury because they were involved in an accident.

The physical injury component of an emotional distress claim flows from Florida’s “impact rule.” An injured party must show that emotional distress is connected to physical injuries from a car accident. In a lawsuit, the bodily injury necessary to support an emotional distress claim can be relatively minor.

An attorney will analyze the specific facts of your accident to determine whether an emotional distress cause of action is warranted.

What Damages Can You Recover for Emotional Distress?

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The emotional distress damages that you might be entitled to recover after your Florida car accident will depend entirely on the specific facts of your case. Your attorney can show, for example, how your distress interfered with your daily work and personal activities, the effects of those symptoms on your relationships with family and friends, and the extent of therapy and treatments you need to address this.

The compensation you can recover for emotional distress will be part of your non-economic damages award. The skills and expertise of your lawyer are a significant element in recovering the largest available damages award. When considering attorneys to represent you, inquire about their experience handling these kinds of claims.

Contact Kogan & DiSalvo for a Free Consultation

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Contact us in Boca Raton or our other Southern Florida offices for more information. We offer a free consultation and a thorough explanation of your rights and legal options moving forward.

Symptoms of emotional distress can disrupt your life both in the long- and short-term. You should never hesitate to seek compensation and get the treatment you need to address them.

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