Physical injuries and vehicle damage are expected consequences of personal injury accidents in Atlanta. Both are often huge factors in a car accident claim, but emotions play a role too. Unfortunately, many personal injury victims don’t realize it’s possible to seek compensation for emotional damages along with physical injuries.
Filing a claim for mental anguish in Atlanta depends on the details of the accident and whether or not physical injuries are present. This article will cover what you need to know about making an injury claim for mental anguish after an Atlanta car accident.
What Mental Anguish Means After an Accident
Mental anguish is a type of damage related to emotional distress. For example, it may include negative mental effects resulting from an accident.
Here are some common examples of mental anguish injuries:
- Trouble adjusting to life with serious injuries or disabilities stemming from an accident
- Anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Humiliation resulting from your injuries, such as from scarring or disfigurement
- Fear, terror, or panic
- Uncontrollable crying
These are conditions anyone may face after being in an accident in Atlanta. It doesn’t matter how strong or capable you are, everyone is human, and emotional damages are real and valid. Claiming mental anguish in your injury claim does not signal weakness. You deserve compensation for all damages so that you can begin to recover and move on from the accident.
Talk to a Atlanta personal injury lawyer if you’re unsure whether your condition is considered mental anguish. They can help you understand how your suffering fits into your injury claim and how to prove your damages beyond doubt.
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Don’t Downplay the Mental Impacts of an Accident
Personal injury can do much more than just physical injury. Accidents are traumatic events and can negatively impact your mental health and wellbeing, sometimes even permanently. There is no shame in getting treatment for mental health, and you shouldn’t have to pay for those costs out of pocket.
Your accident wasn’t your fault. However, if a negligent party caused you to suffer both physically and mentally, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6 allows you to file a claim to recover financial compensation. You should always fight and negotiate for the settlement you rightfully deserve.
Mental Anguish Claims Are Different From Other Claims in Atlanta
There are two main types of damages in a personal injury claim:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Economic damages are tangible, calculable losses resulting from your accident. They include medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs. Most economic damages can be proven through receipts, bills, or pay stubs.
Non-economic damages, which encompass mental anguish, do not have a clear dollar amount. Instead, they refer to the emotional distress you face because of the accident. Since there is no clear way to calculate emotional distress, figuring out your damages for mental anguish is complicated.
In Atlanta, you must also have suffered a physical injury before you can include mental anguish damages in your injury claim, according to Georgia’s “impact rule.” However, there is one exception to this rule: If the negligent party’s conduct toward the plaintiff was malicious, wanton, or willful, recovery is possible without a physical injury.
How Mental Anguish Gets Calculated in an Atlanta Injury Claim
No mental anguish claim is the same. The amount you can recover depends on factors like:
- How serious the accident was
- Your total accident damages
- The degree of fault between all parties involved
- And often, whether or not you work with an experienced lawyer
Mental anguish is normally part of a pain and suffering claim, which can be worth a lot in most personal injury cases. Pain and suffering claims are based on how much the accident has affected your day-to-day life.
When insurance companies receive claims for mental anguish and other forms of pain and suffering, they typically use a number from 1.5 to five to assess the severity of your damages. They then take the sum of your special damages and multiply it by the number they assign your pain and suffering damages.
This means a mental anguish claim can make your settlement double the amount or more.
How to Prepare for an Injury Claim for Mental Anguish in Atlanta
We advise contacting a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta when claiming general damages like mental anguish. Calculating these damages is hard to do without a solid legal background. Some other things you should do to legally protect yourself and build your claim include:
- Keeping notes about how the accident and your injuries have affected you mentally and emotionally
- Taking pictures of your injuries and any property damage you have suffered
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible for your physical and emotional damages
- Keeping track of all expenses from your accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs
- Staying in touch with your lawyer regularly and being honest about any changes in your condition or state of mind
Also, insurance companies do not like to pay out a lot of money on claims. They know how much mental anguish can be worth, so they may seek ways to reduce your settlement or deny your claim. A lawyer can help uphold your rights and fight for the settlement you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Mental Anguish Claims in Georgia
OCGA § 9-3-33 generally provides you with two years to file a mental anguish claim. This is more than enough time to take action for your case. However, you shouldn’t wait too long to do so.
Waiting too long to file your claim only makes it harder for you and your lawyer to negotiate your settlement. After receiving treatment, always seek the help of a lawyer as soon as possible.
Let Our Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Help You Today
Our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta can handle many types of cases. Whether you were in a car accident, suffered medical malpractice, or a slip and fall, our team has you covered. While you rest, heal, and move forward with your life after the accident, we will fight hard on your behalf to ensure that you get properly compensated.
One look at our client testimonials and reviews will show you how our experienced lawyers dedicate themselves to every case. We don’t accept any payment upfront and will never charge you for any of our services unless we win compensation for your case. If we can’t win compensation, you owe us nothing.
Get Help for Your Mental Anguish Claim After an Accident
At John Foy & Associates, we can help. Our lawyers have been helping injury victims in Atlanta win the money they need for over 20 years. Starting as a small, local law office, we have grown to become one of the largest and most respected law firms in the state of Georgia. Call us or fill out our online contact form now to schedule your free consultation today.