Many accidents have severe consequences with a significant impact on victims' lives.
If two vehicles collide, the people involved in this car accident may suffer disabling physical injuries. The sudden shift in momentum can throw people around forcefully. Coming to a complete stop suddenly also puts too much tension and stress on victims' bodies.
Since these accidents must be handled under personal injury law, an injured person can bring legal action against an at-fault party to recover compensation for their physical harm and financial damages.
However, what can injured people do if they don't feel hurt? Is it possible to file a personal injury claim in this scenario?
Is There a Physical Injury, Or Victims Haven't Seen It Yet?
Not all injuries are visible as soon as the accident occurs. Drivers and passengers who are brought to a complete stop after two cars collide may suffer soft tissue injuries, for example.
These types of injuries do not damage bones but rather affect ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Whiplash is one of the most common examples.
Although they are also painful, the adrenaline rush caused by the accident can mask soft tissue injuries. In other words, a person involved in an accident may have been physically harmed even if they do not feel pain.
Other types of injuries may also display symptoms days after the accident, such as a concussion or back injury. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Even if the accident is minor, and the people involved do not suffer a visible serious injury, visiting the doctor is essential. Healthcare professionals can determine if there is a non-visible wound and provide advice on how to monitor potential conditions that may develop after the incident.
Ideally, victims should be evaluated by an experienced doctor before bringing legal action against other parties or accepting a settlement offer. This will let them know if there are wounds that they cannot see or that could develop symptoms later.
Can Victims Sue for Non-Economic Damages?
Can people involved in an accident sue the responsible party if they are uninjured?
As mentioned, symptoms of certain conditions appear days or even weeks after the accident. Some wounds are not even visible but can only be detected by a skilled medical professional.
However, many accidents do not result in physical injuries. Does it mean that victims cannot sue at-fault parties for this horrible experience?
In Texas, that may be possible. Under certain circumstances, people involved in an accident can be held accountable even if they were not harmed.
These are the common scenarios where this is possible:
Property Damage Claim
When someone else’s negligence causes an accident, victims can not only sustain injuries but suffer significant losses.
Even if a driver escapes a car crash without injuries, the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle may be too high.
However, it is unfair that one person must absorb those costs if the accident was caused by someone else's careless and reckless actions. Instead, victims can file a property damage claim.
What Texas Laws Say About Property Damage Claims
Under Texas laws, motorists should purchase insurance to pay for accidents they cause. However, if they fail to do so, or the coverage is not enough to cover financial damages, victims can bring legal action against them and hold them accountable for monetary losses.
These cases are without complex. First, not all car accidents are caused by a driver, for example. A pedestrian can throw an item at a vehicle, causing the driver to lose control.
Cities, towns, and municipalities can also be found liable if they in some way contributed to the accident. Failing to ensure roadways are safe and properly maintained is a common example.
This occurs in any type of accident, whether it is a premise liability case or a workplace incident. Affected parties should determine who is liable for their losses.
Additionally, individuals planning to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for property damage must support their cases with strong evidence.
The negligent party's insurance company will always try to deny the claim and avoid compensating victims by arguing that they did not provide enough evidence to show that their clients caused the accident and the monetary damages.
Therefore, victims should work with a seasoned attorney to build a solid case and file a lawsuit to recover the compensation they deserve.
Emotional Distress Claim
In many instances, people involved in an accident can seek compensation for non-economic damages. Pain and suffering fall into this category.
Victims often experience pain after an accident, but it does not have to be physical in nature. After a traumatic event, a person may suffer from emotional trauma and anxiety.
Emotional pain can be so intense that people no longer feel safe. Mental suffering can also affect victims’ quality of life and employability.
What is Emotional Distress?
The legal definition of emotional distress can be difficult to understand. In these cases, it is described as mental suffering caused by another individual's negligence or intent. Sometimes, there may also be intentional infliction.
Although the definition of emotional distress may vary slightly in each state, it often refers to the following symptoms:
Shame or guilt
Nightmares or insomnia
Weight gain or loss
However, proving non-economic damages in a personal injury case is often challenging if the affected person did not sustain a physical injury. That does not mean that it is impossible, but uninjured victims may have the grounds to file emotional distress claims in rare scenarios.
A personal injury lawyer can review the case and help victims determine if they can file a claim to recover compensation for non-economic damages. Therefore, people planning to bring this type of legal action against at-fault parties should seek help from a legal expert. They can also help with how to calculate your personal injury damages.
How to Prove Liability for Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
As mentioned, emotional distress is the mental pain and suffering caused by someone else's actions. Additionally, victims can sue another individual for property damage if they are responsible for the accident. How can victims prove that this really happened?
In most cases, people who file a claim against another party must prove the following to show that they were negligent:
The defendant had the duty of care, which means they had to avoid mentally or emotionally harming victims.
The defendant failed to live up to this obligation and performed a negligent act that a reasonable person would not have done.
The breach of duty caused harm to the plaintiffs.
That harm resulted in injuries, whether emotional distress through a traumatic accident or property losses.
Additionally, victims may be required to present evidence to support their claims and hold at-fault parties accountable for their negligence.
When it comes to property damage and emotional distress, the following types of evidence may be useful:
Pictures of the injuries, whether the mental anguish is linked to the physical harm the victims suffered
Bills for medical treatment or medication
Medical records and notes from mental health experts who evaluated the victims
Invoices to prove property repair and replacement costs
A daily journal of how emotional distress has affected victims' lives
What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do to Help Victims
Personal injuries are naturally complex. Victims must prove that the other party caused the accident and is responsible for their injuries and losses. Additionally, plaintiffs should collect enough evidence to demonstrate that their claims are valid.
When there's no physical harm but emotional distress and property damage, these cases are even more complex.
While emotional distress does not have to be tied to a physical injury, cases where a person can sue another individual for non-economic damages are rare.
However, victims have the best chance of success when working with a personal injury lawyer. Seasoned quality injury attorneys can evaluate your cases to determine if they could be successful in filing an emotional distress or property damage claim.
Additionally, legal experts can gather evidence to help victims prove their allegations, calculate damages to pursue fair compensation and provide legal representation when cases must be handled in court.
A personal injury attorney can also help victims understand their rights and determine the best course of action to hold at-fault parties accountable for their negligence and more information on personal injury and mental distress cases in small claims court.
Final Thoughts: Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help Victims Prove Emotional Distress and Property Damage
When involved in an accident caused by someone else's actions, people can file a personal injury claim against responsible parties to recover compensation for their injuries, even if they are not visible.
However, proving that another individual is responsible for victims' non-economic damages is challenging. Therefore, anyone planning to file a property damage or emotional distress claim should seek help from a seasoned attorney.
Experienced personal injury lawyers know the Texas legal system and can guide victims through the litigation process to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Additionally, attorneys can handle negotiations with insurance companies, going the extra mile to reach a fair settlement.
Even if they are not physically injured, victims deserve fair compensation after a traumatic experience. At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we can help you! Our legal team is willing to help uninjured people bring legal action against the person who caused the accident that affected their well-being. Contact us today!