Can I sue for mental suffering after a car accident in Ohio?

Daniel A. Romaine - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Daniel A. Romaine

Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A.
Euclid, OH
Phone: 216-289-4740
Fax: 216-289-4743

View Profile

The short answer to your question is yes, you can sue for emotional distress in a personal injury lawsuit or file for it in an insurance claim. Emotional distress is considered a “noneconomic loss,” which simply means that such losses are harder to quantify than “economic losses,” such as medical bills or lost wages from injuries suffered in a car accident.

One of the keys to successfully recovering damages for mental suffering is working with a personal injury lawyer to properly document your distress. If you are experiencing physical symptoms related to your mental suffering (concentration problems, weight loss, hair loss, trembling or tics, for example), make sure you have your physician place that information in the medical record — and ensure the doctor notes that the symptoms stem from distress after your accident. If you seek counseling to deal with anxiety, depression, PTSD or other emotional after-effects of your car wreck, continue to go to sessions for as long as your therapist advises to provide evidence that it was a necessary part of your recovery.

If the mental suffering from your accident has caused you to be unable to work, or has deeply impacted your family relationships, those things should also be documented through proper channels. Insurance companies will rarely consider self-reports of emotional suffering as sufficient. However, keeping a daily diary of your feelings and mental state after the accident can be useful when you communicate to your lawyer and your medical treatment team about how long you have been suffering and how your emotional distress has limited your life.

If you were injured in a car accident, and you are now experiencing mental suffering due to what you saw or heard or felt during the accident, two other types of torts (legal claims) separate from your personal injury suit may become available to you: negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Although less common than a simple claim of mental suffering in a personal injury lawsuit, in a case where road rage or aggressive driving caused a catastrophic accident, the court may find that the at-fault driver acted recklessly or with gross negligence.

The emotional pain caused by a car accident is just as real as the physical and property damage that is inflicted. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you identify the types of mental suffering you have experienced. They will be familiar with the calculation methods the insurance companies use and can place the monetary value of the suffering in a range that will be considered useful in settlement negotiations or will be accepted as reasonable if your case moves to a civil trial.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers By Daniel A. Romaine

Birth Injury

What can I do if I think my Ohio doctor should have recommended a C-section during birth?

Complications can happen during any childbirth whether natural or via Cesarean section (C-section). Physicians in the past have provided C-sections …

Answered by: Daniel A. Romaine

Workers' Compensation

Can my employer fire me after I am injured at work in Ohio?

Ohio, like many other states, is an “at-will” employment state, meaning that your employer can fire you (or you can quit) without warning …

Answered by: Daniel A. Romaine

Other Answers About Personal Injury - Plaintiff

Personal Injury - Plaintiff

What should I do immediately after suffering an injury in Pennsylvania?

Suffering any injury puts a stop to your normal life. From severe pain or illness stopping your daily behaviors to causing you to miss work to …

Answered by: John M. Dodig

Personal Injury - Plaintiff

How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case In Pennsylvania?

Being injured in an accident is a devastating thing to go through. It is made worse when the accident was another person or party’s …

Answered by: Christopher J. Marzzacco

Personal Injury - Plaintiff

Who is responsible for my medical bills after an Ohio car crash?

Who pays for medical bills after a car accident is a question without a single right answer. Ohio is an at-fault state when it comes to car …

Answered by: David E. Nager


If you send a lawyer or law firm email through this service, your email will not create an attorney-client relationship and will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. You should not send sensitive or confidential information via this email service. The lawyer or law firm to whom you are writing may not choose to accept you as a client. Moreover, as the Internet is not necessarily a secure environment it is possible that your email sent via the Internet might be intercepted and read by third parties. Super Lawyers will not retain a copy of this message.

Page Generated: 1.2073879241943 sec