Can I Claim for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

The short answer is YES. You can claim compensation for your emotional distress after a car accident.

After a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation for emotional distress and cover medical bills and lost wages. Emotional distress, a form of non-economic damage, involves a psychological impact beyond physical injuries. 

The compensation amount for emotional distress you may receive depends on various factors such as:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Emotional trauma
  • Degree of fault

However, to make your claim for emotional distress, you have to establish a clear connection between your car accident and your mental anguish. You can do this by showing evidence from your medical reports. However, claiming this type of compensation in a car accident lawsuit without the help of a car accident lawyer can be difficult.

At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our New York car accident attorneys are here to help you tackle the legal system with ease. Having 15+ years of experience dealing with personal injury cases, we have the expertise to help you determine an accurate value for your damages. Contact us at 917-540-8728 to get a free case review today.

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What Is Emotional Distress, and What Are Its Different Types?

Emotional distress refers to the psychological and mental distress you can experience due to a traumatic event, such as a car accident. It can significantly impact your daily life, relationships, and overall mental health. 

When you’re dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, it’s crucial to recognize that emotional distress can manifest in various forms. Therefore, here are some common types but not limited to:


Experiencing a car accident can deeply affect your mental well-being, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The emotional effects can stay long after your physical injuries heal. 

You may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and intense anxiety triggered by reminders of the accident. These reminders can include sounds like screeching tires or sights such as a damaged vehicle.

Furthermore, the sudden and unexpected nature of a crash can create a lasting sense of threat in everyday situations. For example, driving again may be challenging, and you may become overly alert on the road, fearing another collision. PTSD can significantly disrupt your daily life, impacting your sleep, causing emotional numbness, and straining your relationships. Thus, seeking professional help, like therapy or counseling, is crucial. This will help you in managing and overcoming the harmful effects of PTSD after a car accident.

2. Depression

When you experience a car crash, feelings of depression are brought on. The trauma and chaos of the crash can trigger a range of emotions. This includes mourning the loss of belongings or feeling vulnerable. You might feel guilt, a sense of worthlessness, or hopelessness as the accident disrupts your normal life.

The struggle to engage in activities you once loved, combined with the challenges of physical and emotional recovery, can contribute to developing signs of depression.

For instance, if you used to find comfort in driving, you may now associate it with fear and anxiety. Overcoming depression after a car accident requires understanding and professional help. Therapeutic methods, support groups, and, if needed, medication can all play crucial roles in guiding you toward recovery and better mental well-being.

3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Car accidents can leave you feeling really anxious. In some cases, this anxiety can turn into something more, like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). You might find yourself worrying all the time about the possibility of another accident or feel restless and uneasy.

The shock of the crash can make you feel less safe in general. Thus making you more cautious and avoiding things like driving or crossing the street. Thoughts about the accident might keep popping into your head, making the anxiety cycle worse.

Therefore, to deal with GAD, it helps to get a mix of therapy, counseling, and sometimes medication. Taking steps to manage these symptoms early on is important to prevent them from taking a toll on your overall well-being.

4. Anxiety or Mental Anguish

Sometimes, a car accident can go beyond just physical injuries and lead to emotional distress. This might show up as increased stress, irritability, and trouble concentrating. Even ordinary activities can become sources of discomfort as you grapple with the lasting impact of the accident. Sleep problems like insomnia or nightmares can add to the emotional turmoil.

Dealing with this kind of distress involves acknowledging these feelings and seeking support. Whether it’s from friends, family, or mental health professionals, having someone to talk to and share can help you.

Moreover, it’s also beneficial to develop healthy coping strategies, like mindfulness and relaxation techniques. These strategies can help you ease the mental strain and return to a more balanced emotional state.

Filing a Claim to Seek Compensation for Emotional Distress

If you’re ready to file a claim for your mental and emotional suffering, you can follow these steps:

1. Before Anything Else, Reach Out to Your Lawyer

If you want to claim compensation for emotional trauma, your first step should be always to consult a qualified car accident lawyer. They can provide legal guidance, evaluate the strength of your case, and help you in filing and processing your car accident claim. According to statistics, hiring an attorney increases the likelihood of receiving 3.5 times more compensation compared to not seeking legal representation.

When you’re dealing with emotional distress claims after your car accident, having an experienced attorney by your side can make a difference in the outcome of your case. For example, if your case involves severe emotional trauma and the liability is disputed. Your lawyer can help you prove the liability of the responsible party and protect your rights.

Furthermore, to prove your case, you’ll need solid evidence that can substantiate your claim. For this, a car accident attorney can support you in gathering critical evidence for your personal injury claims. The evidence includes medical records, expert testimonies, and accident reports.

Each state has unique laws for filing emotional distress claims. For instance, in New York, the deadline to file a written notice of your claim is 30 days with your insurance company. 

However, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a negligent party is 3 years from the date of the accident. If you’re unsure about the legal requirements in your jurisdiction, a car accident lawyer can provide guidance. They can ensure you’re following the law or legal deadlines.

2. Seek Medical Attention ASAP

It is important to seek prompt medical attention for your injuries and other emotional challenges you’re experiencing. In addition to addressing physical injuries, it’s important to receive appropriate counseling and treatment for the emotional impact on you.

Take immediate steps to talk with healthcare professionals like psychologists. They can provide the necessary support and guidance to help you through the emotional trauma. Thus, your mental health is as vital as your physical health, so seeking timely assistance is essential for a quick healing.

3. Avoid Communicating With the Insurance Company Yourself

You should not engage directly with the insurance company; instead, let your personal injury lawyer handle all communications to ensure you receive the rightful compensation. Insurance companies aren’t always on your side and may try to deny your claim.

It’s crucial to understand that discussing your injuries, the accident, or emotional distress on social media platforms can harm your claim. In such cases, insurance companies might use such information against you, blaming you that you are exaggerating or falsifying your pain and suffering.

Additionally, be cautious if the insurance company wants to record your statements or talk to you directly. They might try to twist your words or ask questions to undermine your case and offer a low settlement amount for your damages.

If you experience any of these situations, you have the right to have your lawyer present during these interactions to protect your interests. Trusting your car accident attorney to handle these communications can greatly improve your chances of getting fair compensation for car accident injuries.

4. Calculating Emotional Distress Damages

Calculating pain and suffering (emotional distress) in personal injury claims is a complex process that goes beyond medical bills and property damage. It involves assessing the emotional and psychological toll an injury has taken on the victim’s life. You and your lawyer can use two methods to calculate pain and suffering:

Multiplier Method: This involves multiplying the total economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) by a certain factor between 1.5 and 5 to determine pain and suffering. For example, if the economic damages amount to $50,000, and a multiplier of 3 is applied, the pain and suffering calculation would be ($50,000×3) $150,000.

Per Diem Method: This method assigns a daily rate to the pain and suffering you suffer. And multiply it by the number of days you have expected to suffer. For instance, if the per diem rate is $200 and you have expected to suffer for 300 days, the pain and suffering calculation would be ($200x 300) $60,000.

5. Collect and Preserve Evidence

Note down your emotional distress symptoms, such as physical pain, the intensity of emotional anguish, and how they affect your daily life after the accident. Gather and safeguard all relevant evidence, including your accident reports, photographs of the car crash scene, witness statements, and medical bills related to your emotional distress. Get in touch with Uptown Injury New York car accident attorneys to assist you in gathering evidence for your emotional distress. They’ll help you pursue the highest compensation for your claim.

Evidence You Need to File an Emotional Distress Claim in a Car Accident

After a car accident, establishing a valid claim is crucial to seek compensation for the emotional and psychological impact you’ve endured. To do this effectively, you’ll need to provide evidence that shows the legitimacy of your emotional distress, such as: 

  1. The foundation of your claim rests on medical records. After your accident, you must gather all documents of your physical as well as emotional damages from healthcare professionals. This includes treatment plans for psychological injuries and medication prescriptions for the future.
  2. Expert witness testimonies from mental health professionals are invaluable in proving the severity of your emotional distress. You must collect psychologists’ or psychiatrists’ expert opinions to establish your solid claim. At Uptown Injury, our accident lawyers have the resources to help you get expert witness testimonies you need to strengthen your claim.
  3. You must gather evidence establishing a direct link between the accident and your mental health. For this, collect accident reports, witness statements, or a detailed account of your emotional impact.
  4. You have to record how your emotional distress has affected your ability to work, engage in regular activities, or maintain relationships. This documentation can help you establish a valid emotional or psychological distress claim.
  5. Psychological assessments conducted by a mental health professional can provide an in-depth evaluation of your emotional harm. You need to gather these assessments because they involve standardized tests and interviews that represent your emotional stress.
  6. Statements from witnesses who observed your emotional distress immediately after your accident or in the following days can be valuable in establishing your personal injury claim.

Proving your valid emotional distress claim can be challenging. Thus, it’s important to consult an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer can guide you through the process, help you gather the necessary evidence, and recover compensation for you.

What Type of Compensation Can I Claim for Emotional Distress Damages?

If you find yourself dealing with emotional distress, it’s crucial to understand the compensation options you can seek when you make a claim. Thus, here’s a closer look at the types of compensation you’re eligible to claim:

  • Cost of your medical treatment and medications
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages or income
  • Loss of ability to earn in the future
  • Affecting your relationship with your spouse or family members
  • Diminishing your ability to enjoy life to the fullest

A personal injury lawyer can help you get the highest possible compensation for your losses by working closely with you. Connect with Uptown Injury Law Firm, PLLC, your reliable partner. We can assist you during this tough time with your car accident case in New York.

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Why Choose Uptown Injury Car Accident Lawyers?

If you’ve suffered emotional distress after a car accident, you can seek compensation for your sufferings. Uptown Injury Law Firm, PLLC, is here to support you every step of the way. Our team of trusted car accident attorneys will advocate for your rights and help you navigate the legal complexities of your case.

Our firm’s 15+ years of work history are marked by countless successful cases where we’ve helped emotional distress victims secure $100 million in compensation for their losses. With our promise of a no-win, no-fee policy, you lose nothing but gain everything you need to protect your rights.

Contact us online or call 917-540-8728 to schedule your FREE consultation today.


Can I Claim Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

Yes, you can claim emotional distress after a car accident. Therefore, to make a claim, you need to collect evidence and consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the strength of your case.

What Is Emotional Distress in the Context of a Car Accident Claim?

Emotional distress, often called pain and suffering, encompasses the psychological and emotional impact due to your car accident. It can manifest in various forms, like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other emotional injuries.

How Do I Prove Emotional Distress in My Car Accident Claim?

In most car accident claims, you can prove emotional distress by documenting your symptoms and collecting the reports for seeking medical or psychological treatment. Furthermore, maintain a record of your therapy sessions or prescribed medications, and gather witness statements and expert testimony to support your claim.

Can I Claim Emotional Distress Without Physical Injuries in a Car Accident?

Yes, it is possible to claim your mental anguish without physical injuries, but it can be more challenging to prove. Thus, consulting with a car accident lawyer is valuable to evaluate your case and options.

Are There Limitations on Claiming Emotional Distress?

Yes, there is a statute of limitations that varies in each state. For example, in New York, the deadline to claim your emotional distress is 3 years from the date of the accident. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with your attorney to understand the statute of limitations in your state and ensure you meet all legal deadlines for filing your claim.

What Compensation Can I Receive for Emotional Distress?

According to the jury verdict research, the compensation for emotional injuries or distress ranges from $10,789$373,750. However, this compensation amount can vary based on the severity of your emotional injuries. So, consult a reliable attorney to determine the value of your claim.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Claims for Emotional Distress?

Yes, there are chances that insurance companies may dispute your emotional distress claim, but with strong proof and legal representation, you can increase your chances of a successful claim. Thus, you should consult an experienced lawyer to deal with insurance companies on your behalf.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for My Pain and Suffering Claim?

Yes, hiring a personal injury lawyer is highly advisable for your emotional distress claim. An experienced attorney can assess your case, negotiate with an insurance company, and ensure you receive fair compensation for your psychological and physical injuries.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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