What can I do if a car accident has caused long term mental distress?

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What can I do if a car accident has caused long term mental distress?

Almost 2 years ago, a car that was going to fast off of the interstate exit ran into my yard and nearly hit my then 5 year-old daughter who was playing in the yard. Although it frightened us both, it only caused physical damage to the yard. Since then I have been terrified, paranoid, and losing weight. I can’t let my daughter out of my sight. I am having nightmare, I can;t sleep and the over the counter sleeping meds are not working. I am considering seeing a psychiatrist. Do I have a legal case?

Asked on May 22, 2011 under Personal Injury, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You probably do not have a cause of action. Fortunately for you, neither you nor your daughter was injured. As a general matter, negligence--or carelessness; like driving too fast--only gives rise to claims for mental distress if there is some physical injury as well. Usually for there to be a claim for mental distress without physical harm, the actions must have been deliberate or willful, which these do not appear to be. The law, unfortunately, does not provide recourse or compensation for all harm, and this is one that the law does not generally provide compensation for. You can and should  consult with a personal injury attorney, who can evaluate your situation in detail, for an opinion specific to the facts of your case; you need to be prepared though, that it is very likely there is no cause of action here.


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