As motorcycle enthusiasts know, nothing is more exhilarating than getting on a bike and riding with the wind—but with that exhilaration comes a heightened risk of injuries if an accident occurs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just under 5,000 motorcyclists suffered fatalities in crashes in 2018 alone. Those who survive motorcycle accidents may be left with devastating and permanent injuries that require lifelong care.
If you experienced such injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your medical treatment. In some cases, you can sue for emotional distress after a motorcycle accident, as well. You may also be eligible to recover compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney may be able to build a claim for damages that could help with your recovery.
Understanding Emotional Distress
Emotional distress refers to mental suffering that results from the memory of an event or condition—in this case, a motorcycle accident and the resulting injuries a victim may be experiencing, as per the Legal Information Institute (LII). Symptoms associated with emotional distress can be depression, anxiety, physical illness, or loss of ability to perform tasks, such as working or taking care of children.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Motorcycle Accident
Being in a motorcycle accident is a traumatic experience. Your injuries may have left you physically, emotionally, and financially strained, and you may also be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the accident. PTSD is a mental health condition typically caused by experiencing a traumatizing event.
Symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, and difficulty coping with day to day activities. PTSD may require intensive treatment over months or even years. A motorcycle accident lawyer familiar with the effects of these types of accidents can help you build a strong case for pain and suffering and pursue damages in a claim against the at-fault driver.
Proving Your Emotional Distress Claim
Emotional distress can be considered part of a personal injury claim, though it can be challenging to prove because it is not visible the way physical injuries are. You or your attorney will need to prove or provide the following:
- Duration of pain: Chronic PTSD can prove severe emotional distress.
- Severity of pain: The courts will require physical evidence of injury to prove this.
- Physical injuries that are related: For example, the severe injuries you suffered as a result of the motorcycle accident may have left you with insomnia or severe headaches.
- A doctor’s note: In order for your emotional distress claim to hold up in court, you will need to provide a letter from a board-certified psychologist supporting your claims.
If you plan on filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. You or your attorney may collect your medical records, the police report, eyewitness testimony of the accident, and surveillance video or photos related to the collision to build a strong case.
Other Damages You May Also Recover in a Motorcycle Accident Case
There are two types of damages in a personal injury claim: economic and non-economic. While emotional distress and other non-economic damages are more challenging to assign a value, economic damages are more tangible. These can include:
- Present and future medical costs for your treatment. This could include surgeries, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and medically assistive devices, such as wheelchairs.
- Lost wages. This can apply to work missed during your recovery, or a diminished earning capacity.
- Property damage to your motorcycle and personal items.
- Related out-of-pocket costs.
Note that a statute of limitations applies when filing a personal injury lawsuit for any damages. In Indiana, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil suit, or the court will dismiss your case.
Call the Lawyer Who Rides
If you are still wondering if you can sue for emotional distress after a motorcycle accident, it may be time to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
If you suffered both physical and emotional injuries in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, call the lawyer who rides. Randy Sevenish is a motorcycle enthusiast who understands the joys of riding, as well as the emotional distress riders may suffer when left injured by someone else’s negligence.
Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. today at 317-720-3229 to discuss your case and explore your legal rights.