Can I Sue for Emotional Distress After a North Carolina Car Accident?
You can sue for emotional distress after a car accident in North Carolina provided that certain legal elements are met. Many people know that you can recover for physical injuries incurred in a car accident, but you can also recover for emotional damages when certain criteria are met.
THE SHORT STORY: The laws in North Carolina are complex, and some courts have disallowed certain claims for mental distress or anguish. Every case is different, but in the context of an auto accident, claims for mental distress or psychological injuries are generally compensable if they are accompanied by a physical injury, no matter how minor. It is also helpful if a medical professional will provide a diagnosis, such as PTSD.
Car accident victims may suffer from serious or even life-threatening physical injuries from the crash, but the often untold story is that many also suffer from emotional injuries (such as PTSD) that are arguably just as severe or even more severe than the physical harm.
Depending on the circumstances of your crash, you may be able to recover financially for emotional injury. At Riddle & Brantley, we want to assure you that you do NOT have to go it alone during this incredibly challenging time.
Proving a claim for emotional damages can be a big undertaking, requiring the experience and skill of a qualified attorney. If you decide to hire us, we are here to take the burden of legal action off your shoulders and to fight tenaciously for maximum compensation on your behalf.
IMPORTANT: For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a compassionate and dedicated North Carolina personal injury lawyer, call Riddle & Brantley today at 1-800-525-7111. There are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we win your case.
How Can I Prove Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
In North Carolina, to prove a claim for emotional injury, the plaintiff must meet several legal elements:
- You must prove that the defendant’s behavior was negligent
- You need to show that it was reasonably foreseeable for the defendant that this behavior would cause you severe emotional distress
- You must demonstrate that this behavior did indeed cause severe emotional distress for you
What Is Negligence?
Breaking this down even further, we will take a look at what you need to do in order to prove that the defendant was negligent, which necessitates demonstrating the following:
- That the defendant owed you a duty of care. Between citizens, this is generally viewed as a duty of reasonable care.
- The defendant breached this duty. In other words, he or she did not behave reasonably.
- This breach was the actual cause of your injury.
- Your injury was a direct and foreseeable result of the defendant’s breach of his or her duty.
What Does “Reasonably Foreseeable” Mean?
Once you have established that the defendant was negligent, you must prove that it was reasonably foreseeable that this behavior would cause severe emotional distress for you. An injury is considered to be “reasonably foreseeable” if a reasonable, average person could have anticipated it given a certain set of circumstances.
How Do I Prove That I Have Experienced Severe Emotional Distress?
Once that hurdle has been cleared, you need to show that you did indeed suffer from severe emotional distress. In North Carolina, this needs to be above and beyond temporary fright, disappointment, or regret.
Instead, you must show that you now suffer from severe, disabling emotional or mental distress for which mental health practitioners would typically diagnose and prescribe treatment. Some common examples of this include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or phobia.
Having an accomplished attorney on your side can make all the difference in proving your case for emotional damages. At Riddle & Brantley, we firmly believe that Justice Counts, and we put that belief to work when we fight tirelessly for your legal right to full and fair compensation after a car wreck.
Call us today at 1-800-525-7111 to speak with a North Carolina car accident injury lawyer. All consultations are 100% free of charge and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive financial compensation.
Evidence to Prove Emotional Distress After a Car Accident
Courts will not just take your word that you are suffering from severe emotional distress.
Evidence gathered by your personal injury attorney to prove the extent of your emotional damages may include:
- Testimony from a medical professional or mental health professional that has treated you
- Proof that you can no longer perform your job now or in the future
- Evidence that your daily activity in terms of hobbies, games, and sports is significantly stunted
- Written affidavits from relatives and friends that confirm your suffering
- Your personal testimony regarding your mental health
No Legal Fees Unless You Win
At Riddle & Brantley, our attorneys have more than 225 years of combined experience in successfully handling cases involving serious personal injury, including emotional pain and suffering following a motor vehicle accident.
Call a North Carolina car accident attorney at our firm at 1-800-525-7111 for a free and confidential consultation. Not a penny will come out of your pocket for attorney fees unless we prevail in your case.