How Are Emotional Distress Claims Handled After a Truck Crash?
Truck accidents often involve critical injuries for victims in smaller vehicles due to the difference in weight and forces involved in collisions with trucks. However, if your mental or emotional injuries are as severe as your physical injuries, can you file a lawsuit for emotional distress? When should you contact a Florida truck accident lawyer for your emotional distress after a truck accident?
Common Causes of Florida Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for several reasons, and multiple factors may have been at play to cause your truck accident. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue or distracted driving
- Failure by the driver or trucking company to uphold Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations for hours of service
- Speeding or failing to leave an appropriate stopping distance
- Government failure to maintain roads or highways
- Defective part failure causing a truck driver to lose control of the truck
- Improper loading of the trailer
Commercial vehicle regulations are in place to ensure motorist safety when sharing the road with large trucks, some of which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even accidents at low speeds can cause catastrophic injuries due to the weight difference.
Liability in Florida Truck Accident Cases
In most cases, the driver is liable for an accident they cause. However, other parties may share liability in a truck accident, including:
- The trucking company for failure to hire certified drivers or violating hours-of-service regulations
- Truck manufacturers that sold defective parts
- The truck loading company that improperly loaded a trailer
- The government entity responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred
Proving trucking company liability or any other third-party involvement in the accident can be challenging in personal injury claims. Your Florida truck accident lawyer will need to gather evidence to prove the negligence of any liable party that could have contributed to your accident.
Proving Negligence in Personal Injury Claims for Truck Accidents
The plaintiff has the burden of proof to prove negligence based on “a propensity of the evidence.” Even for an emotional distress claim with no physical injuries, you must be able to prove certain elements in your case. Factors necessary for your case for an emotional distress claim include:
- Physical impact in the accident between the truck and your vehicle, called the “impact rule”
- Medical records from a licensed mental health professional like a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or family counselor that mention your emotional distress as it relates to the accident
- Proof that the accident worsened existing mental or emotional distress if you had a pre-existing condition (such as from an accident experienced earlier in life)
- Seeking diagnosis or treatment for your emotional distress soon after the accident
You may be able to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) if you didn’t suffer any physical injuries in your truck accident but now experience emotional distress, like anxiety driving next to trucks on the highway.
Personal Injury Compensation You Can Pursue for a Truck Accident
You can pursue economic and non-economic damages for a truck accident that leads to emotional distress. Economic damages include calculable losses for mental health professional visits, lost wages due to time missed from work, and travel expenses for treatment.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering from physical injuries, mental anguish, emotional distress, and other intangible losses.
Florida Keys Injury: Your Florida Keys Truck Accident Law Firm
Arguing for emotional distress in a personal injury case without a physical injury is a complex challenge. Contact us at FloridaKeysInjury.com to schedule a free consultation with a Florida truck accident lawyer. Call us at 786-730-7198 or contact us online to meet with an attorney at one of our three offices.