Can you sue for a car accident if you weren’t injured?
Car accidents can shake you to your core. Even if you walk away from a crash without physical injuries, your emotional scars may take decades to fade. You might relive the sound of skidding tires and shattering glass when you take a turn too fast, when you're watching a car chase in an action movie, or as you're trying to fall asleep after a stressful day. While physical injuries may be more obvious, the psychological effects of a car accident can be just as debilitating to a person's quality of life. Survivors of violent accidents tend to struggle with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fear of driving. 40% of car accident victims experience symptoms of PTSD, facing flashbacks and nightmares about the event for decades.
Likewise, physical damage to your property can severely affect your day-to-day life. Professional counseling may be less affordable when you're paying for repairs on a destroyed car and struggling to get to work. In Alabama, it is possible to sue for non-medical damages after an auto accident. However, it can be overwhelming to finance repairs, navigate insurance claims, and negotiate fair compensation while dealing with anxiety and PTSD. If you believe you are suffering from mental anguish related to your car accident, call Wettermark Keith today. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers will do their best to answer any questions you have and guide you through this challenging time.
How Can I File A Car Accident Claim?
The process for handling car accident claims depends on the laws of your state. In a no-fault state, each driver can file a claim with their own insurance companies for coverage, regardless of who is at fault. In an at-fault state, drivers are legally accountable for any injuries and damages that result from their negligence. If you are injured by another driver or have suffered mental trauma and property damage, you have a few options. You can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, file a claim with your own insurance company, or you can file a lawsuit.
What To Do Immediately After An Accident
- When safe, pull your car over to the side of the road. In any state, the law requires you to stop in the event of a collision with another car.
- Check yourself and the other driver for injuries. If any are found, immediately call emergency services.
- Call the police. This is a legally required step after any accident, and a detailed police report can be valuable evidence in an insurance claim or personal injury case.
- Take pictures of your car and any other damaged property - photographs are crucial to proving liability.
- Contact a skilled Wettermark Keith car accident attorney for representation.
Do I Need To Sue To Receive Compensation?
There are alternative methods for resolving car accident claims and seeking compensation, such as negotiating a settlement with the other party's insurance company. However, if negotiations are unsuccessful, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. It's always wise to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action in your specific case.While receiving compensation through the negligent driver's insurance may be the best case scenario, 1 in 8 drivers are illegally uninsured. Even when both parties are properly insured, the insurance company may not offer you enough compensation to replace what you lost. In situations like these, a lawsuit may be your only option to recover compensation for property damage and emotional trauma.
What Types of Damages Can I Claim If I Wasn't Injured?
Many believe that individuals cannot sue for a car crash if they have sustained physical injuries. This is not the case. Even if you were uninjured, you can still sue for non-medical damages. In Alabama and other at-fault states, you have the right to sue for emotional distress, damages to your car or other property, and lost wages after an accident.
Keep in mind, injuries are not always apparent soon after an accident. The adrenaline pumping through your system after a car crash blocks pain receptors to help you function while your life is being threatened. People with spinal injuries and contusions often don't notice their injuries until hours later. Even if you think you're not injured, we encourage you to seek a medical evaluation.
An auto accident may require years of expensive counseling to fully recover from. Trauma-related emotional distress can be debilitating, and can manifest in a variety of different ways. If any of the following accident-related symptoms are disrupting your daily life, you can and should file a claim for mental anguish:
- Severe anxiety
- Mood swings
- Bouts of anger or aggressive outbursts
- Fear or phobia of driving or riding in a car
- Feelings of humiliation
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty sleeping
- Flashbacks to the crash
- Reduced appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Detachment from loved ones
- Suicidal thoughts
You should not have to suffer long-term emotional harm from the negligence of another. A settlement or lawsuit for emotional distress cannot make up for the psychological harm you've suffered, but it may provide you with the compensation you need to afford high-quality and effective counseling and mental health treatment.
You might have finished paying off your car last week. You might have been driving this car since you were 16, when your parents surprised you with it in the garage. You might have saved for years to buy your dream car. Now you're driving an expensive rental, and the most valuable thing you own sitting in the junkyard or an auto repair shop with its side caved in. Even if you weren't physically hurt in your accident, you can still submit a property damage claim for your car or any personal items that were damaged in the collision. If the insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation for the value of your car, you have the right to file a lawsuit. If you are already filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit for emotional distress, you should file a separate claim for property damage.
Losing your normal means of transportation can compound the stress of an accident. Not being able to make it to work because of emotional distress or property damage brought on by a crash can lead to the loss of wages you need to pay your bills. You have the right to file a claim for lost wages to replace any income or benefits you missed out on. To support your claim, you may need to provide documentation of your employment, income, and any time off work that you took as a result of your injuries.
How Can My Car Accident Lawyer Prove Emotional Distress?
Proving emotional distress from a car accident can be difficult, as it is not a physical injury. However, you can demonstrate the emotional impact of the crash with documentation from a therapist or counselor, as well as testimony from friends and family members who have observed any recent changes in your behavior. Additionally, if you have lost wages or have faced other significant financial losses, it may be easier to prove the emotional distress you have faced in connection with the accident.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me After My Accident?
When you're filing a claim, it's important to consult with a lawyer to ensure you have the evidence and expertise you need for success. If your claim escalates to a lawsuit, experienced legal counsel is essential. Lawyers understand the insurance claims process and know the most effective methods to build a case for emotional distress or property damage after a traumatic accident. Proving your case may be more difficult if you were not physically injured in a car accident, as it can be harder to demonstrate the extent of your damages. You must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident in order to successfully sue for damages, meaning you must gather any related police reports, witness statements, and medical records to support your claim.
Why Should I Hire a Wettermark Keith Car Accident Attorney?
Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee and now Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional, but includes a diverse range of practice areas, such as personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, insurance dispute claims, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on the job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. As we say, It’s more to us, it’s personal.
If you are denied compensation by the insurance company, or fault is denied by the other driver, you may need to escalate to a lawsuit in order to receive justice. If you're struggling with the effects of the accident in such a way that your life is permanently disrupted, you deserve to obtain the resources you need to move on.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.