Motorcycle accidents can be absolutely devastating. These collisions are rarely minor, given the size difference between motorcycles and passenger vehicles. In 2020, motorcycle accidents accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, though they make up only 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States.
The physical injuries you sustain can be life-changing and should be addressed as soon as possible, but the distress may not be as easy to treat. Once it is all said and done, you may still be experiencing emotional distress after a motorcycle accident, and rightfully so. What you have been through was likely traumatic and could have a lasting negative impact on your life. If so, you might consider suing for emotional distress after a motorcycle accident.
The experienced team at the Henderson Law Firm understands the nuances of California personal injury law and how to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer about your claim.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress refers to mental suffering in response to a traumatic experience. This may also be called “mental anguish,” which can arise from trauma from a particular event, like an accident. It is not uncommon for the victim of a traumatic accident to experience emotional distress.
Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Emotional Distress Lawsuit?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, follow-up treatment, lost wages, and other expenses. These are considered economic damages because they reflect the actual current and future financial impact of the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your motorcycle accident, you may have a case for emotional distress as well. This claim falls under the umbrella of noneconomic damages, which also include pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and other physical, mental, and emotional effects of the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you build a claim encompassing all eligible damages. Reach out to a lawyer for a free consultation.
How Do I Prove Emotional Distress After a Motorcycle Accident?
Unlike medical bills and lost wages, emotional distress is challenging to prove. It is difficult to put a price tag on emotions, and though monetary compensation can never take away the trauma you have been through, it is the closest legal remedy available. Your personal injury attorney will help you prove your case for emotional distress after a motorcycle accident by considering several things.
- Physical harm from the accident: The court often requires related bodily harm in cases involving negligence rather than intentional emotional distress. The injury you received from the accident is generally a catalyst for your distress.
- Duration of pain: Persistent mental anguish like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress may be evidenced by behavior. The prognosis for such emotional distress could impact your recovery.
- Intensity of distress: Emotional distress can range from mild to crippling. Your degree of distress includes how often it impacts your life and to what degree.
- Underlying cause: The circumstances of your case may impact your ability to associate your mental state with the accident. For example, a fender bender could cause painful physical injuries but is probably less emotionally traumatic than being attacked by your neighbor’s dog.
- Impact of injury on your life: You may need to present evidence of the injury’s effect on your life. If your injury impacts your ability to work or do things you enjoy, it could cause emotional distress.
- Medical proof: Your claims should be supported by a medical doctor or psychologist in the form of medical records and written or oral testimony.
If you plan on filing an emotional distress motorcycle accident lawsuit, you should work with your lawyer to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. Noneconomic damages are not cut and dry, but your well-being is meaningful. Compensation for disruption of your well-being should also be meaningful.
How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Claim in California?
In 2020, California had 785,424 motorcycle registrations, the most motorcycle registrations of any state in the country. California is a big state, and there are a lot of motorcycles on the road, which means the potential for many accidents exists.
If you were in a motorcycle accident, the California statute of limitations gives you two years to file a claim from the date the accident occurred. If you fail to bring a cause of action before the deadline, you will likely be forever barred from legal recovery.
Two years may seem like a long time to some, but it goes by quickly. It is also important to note that over time it can become more difficult to acquire the necessary evidence to prove your case. Documents can be misplaced, witnesses become harder to contact, and physicians may switch practices. All of these things can be overcome, but filing your claim as soon as reasonably possible can help make the process smoother.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
It is important to seek counsel from an experienced attorney who can provide important insight and guidance. When suing for emotional distress after a motorcycle accident, an attorney can help you in the following ways:
- Determine if you have a valid personal injury claim,
- Gather evidence to prove negligence and who should be held liable,
- Contact the insurance company on your behalf,
- Analyze the circumstances of your claim to determine a fair amount of compensation,
- Negotiate a reasonable settlement or advise you to file a lawsuit, and
- Prepare to litigate and represent you in court
Attorney Michael Henderson has been handling cases on behalf of California accident victims for over 25 years and understands the importance of making sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages are crucial, but so is your ability to recover from emotional distress after a motorcycle accident. Contact us to request a free case consultation.