Being involved in a Long Island car accident is distressing. Your adrenaline spikes amid the wreck, sending your body into fight or flight mode. If you’re injured, you may not feel any pain right away because the shock is so intense. Emotions run high, but does that mean your case has what you need to prove emotional distress in court? Not always.
Help Claiming Emotional Distress
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New York, contact our office to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer.
At Sarisohn, Carner & DeVita, we represent victims of negligence, including those who have been injured in Long Island car accidents. A Long Island car accident attorney can discuss the details of your case and help determine if you should file a claim for emotional distress.
Call us today at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to learn what steps you can take to prove emotional distress and claim 100% of your accident-related losses.
Your case could be eligible for recovery of emotional distress damages if the following applies.
Elements of Emotional Distress Cases
Most people are upset after a vehicle collision. It’s fair to say that whether you are injured or not, you are angry, frightened, shocked, and more. Unfortunately, your stress level alone following an accident is not reason enough to file emotional distress. Here’s how it differs from simply being upset:
- The defendant exhibited extreme or outrageous conduct; and
- The conduct was intentional or reckless and caused;
- Severe emotional distress and, in some cases, bodily harm
When your attorney can prove that all of the above elements are present, the person or party that caused your distress is held liable in court. They may also be held liable for any bodily harm that results from your emotional state.
What Constitutes Extreme and Outrageous Conduct?
To be able to prove that there was extreme and outrageous conduct, you must first know what it means according to the letter of the law. Behavior that a reasonable person would consider rude or obnoxious doesn’t meet the definition. For example, if someone calls you a name in a fit of anger, you wouldn’t be able to claim emotional distress.
In order for a person to be able to file a claim for emotional distress, the behavior of the offending party must exceed the bounds of normal societal decency. It may also involve a pattern of behavior that causes the victim to be fearful and to have altered their lifestyle against their personal interests to cope.
Intent and Recklessness
Not only must the conduct be outrageous, but the offending party must have acted with recklessness or intent. The party must have known that what they were going to do would cause or was likely to cause severe emotional distress. When someone behaves in this manner, and the negative impacts can be demonstrated, they can be held liable in court.
“Casual” Emotional Distress Is Not Enough
If you think about the emotions you go through each day, chances are that you would consider one or more to be distressing. You may feel fear, embarrassment, or guilt. These could all be considered types of emotional distress. Can you sue for them? No.
The term “severe” is certainly subjective, but your distress must have been severe enough that a reasonable person should not have to endure it. In other words, you must prove to a judge or jury that your distress interfered with your daily life.
Two Types of Emotional Distress
Now that you understand what does not count as emotional distress, let’s take a look at the two kinds of emotional distress recognized by New York civil courts: Intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress is when a party acts purposely upon another to cause a heightened state of negative emotion. On the other hand, negligent infliction of emotional distress occurs in conjunction with bodily harm, such as in a wreck.
In many cases, you will file for compensation for negligent infliction of emotional distress after a New York car accident. These cases tend to find more success because they often come alongside other damages, such as a physical injury or a hefty vehicle repair bill. However, proving negligent infliction of emotional distress without other damages can be more difficult because the threshold of proof of emotional injury is high.
How a Long Island Car Accident Attorney Can Help
When you have been involved in a car accident, it’s important to remember that you have the right to seek compensation in a court of law. You may be eligible for reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Call our office at (631) 543-7070 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Long Island personal injury attorneys. We will review the details of your case with you, help you understand your legal options, and advise you on the next appropriate steps. Contact us online to schedule your initial case evaluation today.