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Intangible Injuries and Auto Accidents

Intangible Injuries and Auto Accidents

Car Accident Lawyers Indy That Care

While the most common injuries sustained in most automobile accidents are physical in nature, such as broken bones, closed head injuries, and whiplash, it is also very common to see mental or emotional problems occur, especially if the accident was very severe. Not every state addresses mental or emotional injuries on the same level as physical injuries, but Indiana law has dealt with this issue in a fairly specific way.

Emotional Stress and Shock

Stress or anxiety after trauma is extremely common, and emotional distress is one of the most commonly claimed injuries after an auto accident, especially in children. In Indiana, insurance will generally cover treatment for emotional injury or distress, as per the decision in State Farm Mutual Insurance Company vs. Jakupko (2008). In the case, State Farm originally refused to cover treatment or care for emotional injuries sustained by passengers upon seeing the driver of their car severely injured. The Indiana Supreme Court held that emotional injury is a ‘sickness’ under the meaning of Indiana Code Sec. 27-7-5-2, however, which means that insurance must not limit recovery as long as true injury can be proved.

It is important to note, however, that Jakupko only permits recovery for those emotional injuries sustained by those involved in an accident; it does not permit claims to be brought for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) on behalf of bystanders or those otherwise involved. While some states do permit NIED claims from bystanders, Indiana is not one of them, with the rationale being that permitting such could easily lead to a recovery so splintered no one would be adequately compensated.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 10 percent of car crash victims will develop some form of PTSD, but the rate is significantly higher in those who actively and affirmatively sought mental health treatment. Symptoms can be hard to diagnose, with many appearing only weeks or months after an accident, such as insomnia, listlessness, disinterest in activities you previously enjoyed, and chronic headaches or other pain. Conversely, some symptoms may appear immediately, but wind up written off as directly linked to physical injury as opposed to being psychological in nature.

PTSD care and therapy is a somewhat different issue under Indiana law. While sometimes, treatment will be covered, it can be less likely, especially if the person sustained no other injury. The way Jakupko and Indiana law is structured, a person essentially must have been directly affected by an automobile accident in order to recover, and if symptoms do not appear until months later, or if symptoms are written off, an insurance company may not characterize them as related to the accident. If this happens, you may need the services of a good auto accident attorney to try and obtain the compensation you need.

Seek Experienced Legal Assistance

Despite its relatively common appearance, many car accident victims are caught off guard when they begin to experience psychological symptoms after the event. If you are one of them, and need help getting treatment covered, the dedicated Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Holland & Holland will fight for you. Contact us today at (317) 581-4400 to set up a free consultation today.

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