Can I Claim Disability for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Ontario?April 15, 2021
Emotional distress is not only common after a car accident it can also be life-altering. It is possible to file an emotional distress disability claim as part of non-pecuniary damages. These are damages that are considered general as there is no accurate way to measure them. They are also not economic and can manifest differently between individuals, even those who were involved in the same accident.
Defining Emotional Distress
Before you consider an emotional distress automobile accident claim, it is important to understand what emotional distress actually is. Experts recognize emotional distress as psychological or mental pain you suffer after a traumatic experience. Symptoms of emotional distress may include:
- Compulsive behavior
- Disengagement from social activities
- Feeling humiliated
- Loss of sexual desire
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Short temper
- Sleep disturbances
- Sleep loss
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
It is possible that someone who is suffering from emotional distress could suffer from several of these symptoms or that the symptoms could be very subtle making it difficult to realize they are even suffering from emotional distress.
Emotional Distress Disability Claim Ontario
In order to seek compensation for emotional distress, you will need to prove that it was caused by negligence. This means that you must prove that the accident was caused by someone’s negligence or carelessness and that the person’s actions led to your emotional distress. In Ontario, the courts will take into consideration several factors, including your age, the nature of your injuries, the severity of your pain, how long it lasted, and your level of disability. Keep in mind that there is a cap on the amount of non-pecuniary damages you can receive.
In 2021, that cap was set at $393,732 and includes all non-pecuniary damages. You must also meet a certain threshold and the award is subject to a deductible unless you have purchased additional insurance, or your award could exceed $100,000. You must also have sustained permanent serious disfigurement such as the loss of a limb or suffered a permanent serious impairment of physical, mental, or psychological functions.
Emotional Distress and PTSD
If you have suffered permanent injury or disfigurement, your emotional distress could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Experts are aware that emotional distress and PTSD are strongly connected. PTSD can lead to a severely reduced quality of life and you may be unable to perform activities you used to enjoy, not because of physical limitations but because of mental strain.
Another option for emotional distress disability claim Ontario residents may be awarded is when intentional emotional distress is established. If the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent, reckless, or was clearly intended to cause harm, you may qualify for an emotional distress claim.
Documentation Is Critical
An emotional distress disability claim denied by the insurance company could be due to a lack of documentation. You will need to demonstrate that your distress is ongoing and that it has a negative impact on your daily life. You may also need to show how the emotional distress is directly related to any physical injuries you suffered.
For instance, if you have been treated for depression in the past, you may still be able to file an emotional distress disability claim, but it could be more difficult to prove that the accident made your condition worse. One suggestion made by emotional distress automobile accident experts is to keep a journal where you can document your feelings, thoughts, and fears after the accident. It is also critical to talk to your doctor about any mental anguish you may be suffering so they can also document your symptoms.
Emotional Distress Disability Claim Denied
Because emotional distress is such a subjective issue after an accident, it is not unusual for an insurance company to deny claims for such injuries. Many people are skeptical of someone who claims to have emotional distress after an accident, but the issue is very real. It is not uncommon to be afraid to drive a car or you may be constantly angry. You need to speak to a personal injury lawyer to learn what options you have available, especially if your claim is denied.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Ontario and are now suffering from emotional distress, contact our office today to see how we can help. You can arrange for a no-obligation consultation by filling out the easy online form or giving us a call today. We will walk you through the process and help you get the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
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